Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has announced the launch of child-friendly schools programme to minimise the competition to admit children to popular schools and also to provide them with a quality education after developing material resources and other facilities in schools.
This is a further step in improving Sri Lanka’s education the level of which the UN’s Human Resources Report has recognized as being among the highest in Asia.
Minister Rajapaksa said this when he addressed the inaugural meeting marking the final stage of developing child-friendly schools under the government’s combined national campaign to develop 5,000 elementary schools and 1,000 secondary schools in accordance with the Mahinda Chinthana Vision Punarjeewana programme. The meeting was held at the Molligoda Primary School, Panadura on April 5.
For developing 5,000 elementary schools into child-friendly schools 3,322 schools representing the 25 districts have been selected. The funds allocated for this is Rs. 1,661 million. Already 1,678 schools selected under the first stage have been completed at a cost of Rs. 839 million. But its total value is twice the amount allocated.
The Economic Development Ministry is directing the programme to develop the 5,000 primary schools and 1,000 secondary schools with the assistance of the Education Ministry and Provincial Education Ministries. The maximum amount allocated under this programme for projects begun by school development societies is Rs.500,000. All the work is expected to be completed during the April vacation with parents contributing the manpower.
The first stage was successfully launched in August last year. Steps are being taken for the supply of power and water, developing toilet and health facilities, building fences and providing schools with gates, repairing and painting existing school buildings, distribution of perennial economic crop seedlings to parents under the Divi Neguma National Programme, making the school ground a model home garden, preparing the school’s name board, arranging rooms for grade 1 students to do handwork, building children’s playgrounds and doing only essential repairs to teachers’ hostels.
Minister Rajapaksa said that development programmes such as Divi Neguma have been launched focusing on the individual and family in addition to launching projects to supply electricity for all citizens and develop villages and roadways under Gama Neguma and Maga Negum a covering 14,000 grama seva divisions. Improving education to develop human resources is also among the government’s goals. These, he stressed, are in addition to mega development projects. Last year toilets were built in 8,680 schools in response to an appeal school children had made to the President. The construction of toilets in the remaining schools would be completed this year, the minister added.
Parallel to these programmes perennial economic crop seedlings have already been distributed among parents under the Divi Negum a National Programme. The Minister himself symbolically distributed a crop seedling at this event.