- Over 5,161 schools in the country with less than 200 students
- Students and teachers face many problems
- Lack of water, sanitation facilities among shortcomings
The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) instructed authorities in the education sector to implement an infrastructure development plan for Government schools which have less than 200 students, within the next four months.
The Committee heard that there are 5,161 schools in the country with less than 200 students and both students and teachers face many problems due to inadequate facilities. Among these was the lack of water and sanitation facilities for these schools.
The Committee chaired by MP Tissa Vitarana recently examined the performance of Government schools which have a small number of students. Committee members said that there was a resource disparity due to the lack of proper coordination for these schools.
The Committee informed the Secretary to the Ministry of Education (MoE) Prof. Kapila Perera to conduct a study to look into the situation and that the relevant resource persons should participate on a voluntary basis.
The COPA also told the education authorities that the Code of Conduct on school structure should be revised from time to time under the supervision of education administration experts. The Committee stated that the commencement, closure and regulation of schools should be done in accordance with these guidelines on school structure.
The Committee also drew attention to the importance of overseeing the implementation of the transfer orders when transferring teachers and principals to unpopular schools. The Committee also pointed out the need to implement special programs to improve the examination results of these schools as the examination results of a school are a major factor in attracting students.
The Chairman of the Committee stated that all schools should have an education administration report, and that it is appropriate to base that report when allocating funds under various projects.
It was revealed at the Committee that 93 schools were closed from 2013 to 2017 due to lack of students, the prevailing situation in the country and other reasons. In 2018 alone, 101 schools were closed.
The shortage of teachers for the primary section as well as for certain subjects is another problem faced by these schools.
It was also revealed that Rs. 64,930 million had been allocated for the “Nearest School, Best School” project implemented during the last Government period for the period 2016-2020, and as of 31 December 2018, Rs. 31,234.77 million had been spent, and resources had been given to schools without conducting a proper study.
MPs B.Y.G. Ratnasekera, Upul Galappaththi, Tissa Attanayake, Harini Amarasuriya and a number of Government officials were present at the meeting.