The programme to upgrade 1,000 schools into National Schools was launched by making another step in the “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” Policy Statement a reality.
Marking the inauguration of this programme, Siyambalanduwa Maha Vidyalaya in Monaragala was declared open as a National School under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on January 7.
1,000 National Schools programme launched.
- Will develop an education system that produces a talented child as they leave school or university.
- All ministers should work as a team for the progress of the country.
- It is the duty of the Opposition MPs to assist in decisions taken on behalf of the people.
- Officials should look for practical ways when making decisions –President says addressing the gathering.
The education system is undergoing a number of reforms and policy decisions are being taken to produce a generation of children equipped with talents that suit for the future.
At present, there are 374 National Schools which is 3.6% of the total number of schools.
Steps have been taken to convert selected schools into National Schools in a scientific manner, taking into account internationally accepted criteria.
The President stated that educational reforms in “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” Policy Statement aim to create an education system that produces a child equipped with skills when he or she leaves school or university. The President said that necessary steps will be taken in the near future to impart knowledge on Information Technology to every child and to move forward as a technologically advanced workforce.
President Rajapaksa emphasized the need for all Ministers and Members of Parliament to work together as a team for the progress of the country. It is a collective responsibility to manage setbacks as a team. The President also stated that if a person only criticizes the shortcomings without helping to manage setbacks, it shows the inefficiency of that person. The President reiterated that he was committed to fulfilling the pledged responsibilities over the next three years without thinking of the two years lost due to Covid-19.
Each MP has hopes for a cabinet ministerial post. However, the President said that he would not break his promise to the people by giving any ministerial post in addition to the 30 cabinet ministerial posts that can be given in accordance with the Constitution. The President said that it was the duty of the MPs of the Opposition to assist in decisions taken on behalf of the people.
The officials should look for practical ways when making decisions. The President called on all members of the public service not to use circulars as excuses for not performing a task and to extend full support for the next three years. The President also stated that he would personally visit public institutions in the future to create a strong public service for the people and that the ‘Gama Samaga Pilisandara’ programme would be resumed and the aspirations of the people would be fulfilled soon.
Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the 1,000 National Schools Programme will go down as a milestone in the history of free education. The Minister pointed out that it was the beginning of a revolution in knowledge-based education.
At present, Sri Lanka is moving towards national aspirations, targeting education. State Minister Shasheendra Rajapaksa said that the government has taken steps to increase the allocation for education from 4.5% of GDP to 7.2%. Despite the minimal facilities, Monaragala District has made great strides in education compared to other districts. State Minister Rajapaksa pointed out that the education policy implemented during the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government also contributed to this.
State Minister Vijitha Berugoda said that despite the challenges, the government is committed to giving life to education without compromising on the commitments and expenditure made on education. He said this has created an opportunity to rectify past mistakes prevalent due to the disparity in the distribution of resources.
State Minister Piyal Nishantha stated that the aspirations of the children will be fulfilled by injecting life to the previously neglected school system in the rural areas and that it is the responsibility of all to make a commitment in this regard.
The official document to declare Siyambalanduwa Maha Vidyalaya as a National School was handed over to Principal Indumathi Paranamana by the President.
Symbolizing the distribution of 88 television sets to 62 schools in the Monaragala District, the President handed over five television sets to the principals of five schools and also presented vouchers for uniforms and shoes to schoolchildren for the year 2022.
Principal Paranamana presented a memento to the President.
The President inspected the Mahindodaya Technological Laboratory, Computer Technology Learning Center at Siyambalanduwa Maha Vidyalaya and placed a note in the logbook marking the upgrading of the school into a National School and his arrival there.
The members of the Maha Sangha, other religious leaders, Uva Province Governor A.J.M. Muzammil, State Ministers Wimalaweera Dissanayake and Thenuka Vidanagamage, MPs Jagath Pushpakumara, Kumarasiri Rathnayaka and Gayashan Navanandana, peoples’ representatives including MPs, Secretary to the Ministry of Education Prof. Kapila Perera, Additional Secretary Hemantha Premathilaka, National Schools Director Kithsiri Liyanagamage and a group of official were present.
The President who was on his way to Siyambalanduwa Maha Vidyalaya in Monaragala met a group of farmers who had gathered on the way. President Rajapaksa inquired from them about the cultivations and said that there was a lack of awareness among the farmers on how to produce organic fertilizer with technical knowledge and how to use it for agriculture. The President requested the farmers to support the government’s efforts to establish a green agriculture in the country in order to provide a non-toxic diet to future generations.