Education – the expendable sector?

Education – the expendable sector?

Education – the expendable sector?

Written by Tharushan Fernando

13 Nov, 2016 | 9:37 pm

The expenditure on education in the previous budget, was estimated by also calculating the value of fixed assets in the education sector, including those in schools.

Expenditure on education has been reduced by 43 percent in this budget, compared to last year.

Considering the allocation made through the budget, it is questionable as to whether the government will be able to optimally implement major projects like the “Nearest School is the Best School” programme

Given that political exigencies have also been made a factor in addition to the criteria for selecting schools for the programme, whether the distribution of resources among schools is ideal, is also questionable.

Darussalam Maha Vidyalaya in Maligawatta, bears testament to this.

Over the past five years, this school has seen the most infrastructure development, from among schools under the purview of the Western Provincial Council.

A notable feature here is that the development amounting to about 30 million rupees, has not cost the taxpayer or parents of children enrolled at the school.

The World Memon Organisation has been the strength behind the infrastructure development at this school.The organisation also pays wages for volunteer teachers, non-academic staff and sports coaches.

The World Memon Organisation also provides breakfast for 150 underprivileged children at this school.

As per the foundation stone laid by the President at this school on January 25, a four-storey building comprising 12 classrooms, is to be constructed.

The World Memon Organisation has allocated a massive sum of Rs.240 million, , including the expenditure for this building, to develop the school over the next three years.

However, against this backdrop, Darussalam Maha Vidyalaya was included in the “Nearest School is the Best School” programme in September this year.

The funds allocated for the school through the programme, amounts to Rs.70 million.

The Western Province Minister of Education, has informed the Minister of Education in writing, that this step would result in the school being deprived of the Rs.240 million development project, which will not be a burden on the taxpayer.

Through the letter, the Provincial Education Minister calls on the Cabinet Minister to allocate the Rs. 70 million that is to be spent on Darussalam Maha Vidyalaya, to another underprivileged school in the vicinity.

On the surface, this is a fair request.

However, as a result of the Line Ministry disregarding this request in favour of what appears to be an attempt to inflate political egos, Darussalam Maha Vidyalaya is now at risk of being deprived of a major development drive, worth Rs.240 million.

Does the foundation stone laid by the Head of State have no value?

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