The Opposition today urged the government not to go ahead with its plan to allow selected government-sponsored private schools to open branches.
This request was made by UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardene and JVP MP Bimal Ratnyake during the debate in Parliament on the expenditure head of the Education Ministry.
Mr. Gunawardene, who is the former education minister, said the plan is to allow the private schools to open five branches each. The MP said this would be a great injustice to children as only the rich will benefit from it. “This was first suggested by a certain interested group to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who actually told me to prepare legislation to make international schools to teach the Sinhala and religion," he said.
Mr. Rajapaksa instructed me to do it and wanted legislation drafted. I did this and later an educationist accused me of trying to commit a crime. When I inquired he told me the situation. Therefore I tried to find out who drafted it. However later I removed Article 24 which was dangerous.” the MP said.
“Be careful of certain officers as they will mislead you,” he told Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.
JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said allowing government-funded private schools to open branches will lead to privatization of education. Also he said it will lead to ethnic and religious polarisation of children. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)