By Kelum Bandara
The Education Ministry has taken over seven schools, that remained under the purview of the Western Provincial Council, so as to develop them as model national schools and accommodate primary students as a solution to the Grade-I admission crisis, a minister said yesterday.
The Cabinet has decided to declare them as national schools directly controlled by the line ministry of the central government. Education is a subject devolved to the provinces under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. There are around 9,600 schools in the country with only 351 of them declared as national schools and functioning directly under the line ministry.
Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane told Dailymirror that he submitted a Cabinet paper initially, seeking to take over these schools in the Colombo district to be developed as model primary schools under the direct control of the Ministry.
A Cabinet Sub-Committee was then appointed to study the proposal and make recommendations. The committee headed by Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha, comprised Science and Technology Research Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardane, Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie and MP Tilanga Sumathipala.
“As per the recommendations by the committee, we decided to take over these schools. We will develop these schools. There is a severe competition among parents to obtain Grade-1 admissions for their children at national schools, particularly in the Colombo District,” he said.
Kirigampamunuwa Vidyalaya in Mattegoda, Vaisakya Vidyalaya in Bambalapitiya, Prime Minister’s College in Kirulapone, Madiwela Rahula Vidyalaya and Kalalgoda Vidyalaya are the Sinhala medium schools to be acquired by the line ministry. Besides, a Tamil school and a Muslim school will also be developed in this manner.