By Yoshitha Perera
Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has instructed former Commissioner General of the Education Publications Department I.M.K.B. Ilangasinghe to include his photograph when printing school textbooks for future prospects, it was revealed yesterday at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) to investigate the corruption of the current administration.
During the testimony, Mr. Ilangasinghe told the commission that the minister spoke to him privately about including a coloured photograph in school textbooks.
“Since the minister is young, I enlightened him of certain standards the ministry adheres to. I told him we will not include photographs when attaching the minister’s message in school textbooks but he didn’t take my word,” he said, adding that the government incurred a loss of Rs.160 million by adding four coloured photographs of the minister.
Accordingly, the PCoI had issued notices for the minister to appear before the commission on July 8.
Providing evidence to the commission, the incumbent Commissioner General of the Education Publications Department Jayantha Wickramanayake earlier revealed that the Education Minister had included a photograph in his message in 2018/2019 and that it was the first time in history that a subject minister added his photograph in textbooks.
“During the 52-day government last year, the then Education Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe instructed Mr. Ilangasinghe to remove the message of the Education Minister from textbooks. Accordingly, it was removed from 840,000 textbooks published for year 2019,” he said.