Controversy follows enrollment of students to grade one

Controversy follows enrollment of students to grade one

By Tharushan Fernando

11 Jan, 2017 | 8:53 pm

According to the statistics of the Education Ministry, the number of students eligible to enroll for grade one exceeds 300,000.

This year as well the Ministry of Education received numerous complaints with regard to irregularities when enrolling children to grade 1.

However, the initiative by the ministry to resolve these complaints is unsatisfactory.

Based on these complaints one cannot dismiss the fact that a majority of students who entered leading schools in Colombo today were students who were enrolled in violation of the circulars.

schoolStaging a demonstration opposite the Higurakdamana Maha Vidyalaya in Polonnaruwa,  parents voiced their opposition against the provincial educational authorities.

They charge that promises were issued to establish grade one classes in this school, and that a sudden decision was taken by the Education Ministry of the North Western province to dismiss this promise.

While the students were being enrolled for grade one at the Girls’ High School in Kandy, police officers were seen standing outside the school providing security. A group of people charging that the students had been enrolled violating the circular created a tense situation outside the school.

The protesters informed the Chief Guest of the ceremony, the Governor of the Central Province, of their concerns.

The Education Ministry which paid a closer attention to the complaints that were lodged against Royal College Colombo has decided to suspend Grade one admissions for the new academic year until investigations conclude.

Action TV emphasised over the past few days that the law should not only be enacted on Royal College Colombo.

Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that this was started with ‘one or two’ because of the number of investigative officers at the ministry and once this issue is dealt with, other schools will also be looked in to

akila“We will investigate the schools against which the majority of complaints were lodged and we will take the appropriate action. We suspended grade one admissions for Royal College Colombo”, he said

The minister charged that there has been information revealing that students have been enrolled using addresses of embassies, vehicle parks,addresses of parliamentarians (used without their knowledge).

He further alleged that old boys have also gotten involved regarding this matter.

“We will consider this and grant opportunities for those who live close to the school and those who are truly deserving to enter these schools. ..” he said.

Based on the existing circulars, it is the duty of the Ministry of Education to investigate whether schools have enrolled students who meet the required criteria. It is also up to the ministry to rectify these mistakes and to punish those responsible.

Providing a weak excuses such as lack of man power to investigate these complaints does not provide the ministry with a free pass.

Less than 400 schools come under the purview of the ministry of education. However, the ministry has only investigated one school during the course of one month.

This simply goes to show that the work of the ministry of education does not live up to their hype …