Written by Tharushan Fernando
26 Nov, 2016 | 9:33 pm
One of the first letters issued by the Secretary to the Ministry of Education following his appointment was this letter (see video) sent on September 26, which inadvertently states that the government’s programme to issue vouchers for school uniforms was a failure.
When Action TV highlighted the immense hardships that parents from rural as well as urban and semi-urban areas had to face when dealing with this voucher system, the standard response that we received was that these claims were all “a mere farce.”
However, this particular letters shows, who was putting up a facade.
Through this letter, the Secretary to the Ministry of Education calls on officials to inform all parents in their areas that the Lanka Salusala would be arriving in rural areas as well as isolated areas in order to sell school uniform material in exchange for the vouchers issued by the government.
The letter further states that the Lanka Salu Sala has taken steps to sell these materials at a competitive rate.
Although the aim of this letter was to ease the troubles of students in rural and isolated areas, the true aim of this campaign was to pave the way for one individual to line his pockets by supplying the said materials, without going through a proper tender procedure.
Speaking at an event in Colombo yesterday, Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam expressed his views on the matter of providing vouchers for school uniforms.
Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam stated that due to ‘so much swindling taking place’ vouchers were issued regardless of criticism. But turns out that much swindling taking place
“We have now increased the amount of funds for this as well”, he said. He added that the sum allocated for this in the previous budget was 2.7 billion. And because of this voucher system, and because it was broad based, 2.45 billion rupees was spent out of that.
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