By Chaturanga Samarawickrama and Sheain Fernandopulle
The second-term of schools commenced with low attendance yesterday, the Education Ministry said. Only secondary classes (Grades 6 to 13) were allowed to commence following the Easter Sunday attacks on April 21.
“The schools in towns reported low attendance while those in rural areas recorded full attendance of teachers, children and staff members,” Subject Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said in a media release.
Special search operations were carried out at schools and in their vicinity last Sunday to ensure heavy security. Reopening of schools for the second-term was scheduled on April 22, however it was postponed till April 28 owing to the heightened security concerns that emerged following the Easter Sunday attacks. It was later decided that schools would be kept closed till May 6 due to continued threats. The government announced that the second-term for Grades 6 to 13 would commence yesterday and for Grades 1 to 5 on May 13.
Minister Kariyawasam thanked the parents who sent their children to schools. He also thanked the principals, teachers and relevant authorities that put in efforts to make it happen. “Some schools recorded more than 80 per cent attendance,” the media release said.
Meanwhile, the percentage of student attendance in schools islandwide was reported low despite the government’s decision to reopen all government schools yesterday. Western Province Education Director Srilal Nonis said there were 28,547 schoolchildern in the Western Province.
Percentage of student attendance low despite decision to reopen all government schools yesterday
The attendance of students in the Matara District was reported below 10%.
Matara Rahula College Principal F. Welage said only about 130 out of 3,650 students attended school yesterday.
Matara Sujatha Vidyalaya Principal Hemanthimala Wanigasinghe said only 92 out of some 3,500 students showed up yesterday.
It was reported that the percentage of student attendance in the Galle District was 0.2 % out of the 227,098 students in the district.
Only 152 out of 6,003 students showed up at Galle Sanghamitta Balika Vidyalaya and 156 out of 4,216 students turned up at Galle Mahinda College yesterday.
It was reported that the student attendance in rural areas was low.
Provincial Director of Education R.M.P. Rathnayake said the percentage in student attendance in the Uva Province was below 40%. However, the attendance of students in rural schools in the province was comparatively higher.
Northern Province Education Department said the percentage of student attendance in schools in the Northern Province was below 50%.
The student attendance in schools in the Anuradhapura District was recorded very low but the teacher attendance stood at 85%.
Out of the 138 schools in the Gampola education zone, the percentage of student attendance was 5%.
Additional reporting by Krishan Jeevaka Jayaruk, D.G. Sugathapala, Romesh Madushanka, Suranga Rajanayake, Athula Bandara, Nayanajeewa Bandara and Prasad Rukmal