After repeated assurances, the Education Ministry has finally issued a circular banning the collection of money from schoolchildren for any purpose without the prior approval of the Department.
There was a public outcry against such money collection after the media reported that a schoolgirl who allegedly stole eight coconuts to sell them to raise money reqested by her school authorities.
Teachers, students and parents protested such money collections by school principals.
According to the circular issued yesterday, associations of parents, students and past pupils are prohibited from raising funds through unauthorised means for various projects. However, money may be collected for school development projects and for services provided by the school.
Another circular also issued at the same time stipulates the fees that may be charged when admitting students to Advanced Level classes or Grade I classes.
Yet the Ministry has stressed that parents should not be forced to make payments even in these cases. Students from low income families may be exempted if they submit a letter from their Grama Niladhari in support of their claim for exemption. The new circular says that students who do not make the payments should not be harassed in any way.
The Ministry said that principals who violate this order would be dealt with severely in terms of the Establishment Code. (Kelum Bandara)