The Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Affairs Dallas Alahapperuma states that the government will provide all the necessary facilities to ensure the full health protection of the school children in this country and take the steps to reopen the schools even at a time in a serious economic condition locally and globally as well due to the spread of COVID 19 virus.
The minister expressed these ideas while participating in a special meeting today (14) held at the Ministry of Education with the attendance of all divisional and zonal education officers of the Western Province as a part of the series of programs covering all the provinces in the country regarding the steps that should be taken to reopen the schools in the future, continuation of educational activities and the preparation of school premises for that purpose.
Further expressing his views the minister said that the President of the country is not merely a politician but an able manager and a person working with a real understanding of modern technology. Therefore, more and more opportunities have been emerged to draw the attention for future endeavors of modern technology in the field of education in this country. In the face of the challenge of spreading corona virus, it has been able to use those technological practices very soon in the system of education. It is also a progressive situation to be happy that some schools as well as the Pirivenas have already taken steps to conduct virtual schools using the technological facilities, the minister said.
At the moment, many countries in the world are using the technology to its maximum for the teaching and learning process in the schools. Even the private sector leading entrepreneurs are contributing to provide such facilities to the children in Sri Lanka and the priority will be given to take more beneficial decisions for the children, the minister further said. However, the percentage of Sri Lankans having the computer facilities is only 23% of the total population so far and the percentage of having television facility is 81%. We must also understand that there are people in this country even without a radio and the children in all those families are also ours, the minister emphasized.
Although many people making loud voices on the stages demanding to allocate 6% of gross domestic product for education, the issue is not with the percentage of allocation but whether those allocations are utilized practically for the development of education at the grassroots levels, the minister mentioned. Just as the decision was taken to close down the schools understanding the situation prevailing in the country at the outset, the decision to reopen the schools will also be taken after taking all the necessary actions for the health protection of the children and after taking a correct assurance about that, the minister further stated.
Even though there will be a high expenditure for providing at least two face masks to each student, temperature testing tools to schools and to provide basins of hand washing and water supply systems, the government will take actions to give those health protection facilities without being a burden to the parents at this moment. Active contribution of all who are engaged in the field of education at provincial, zonal and divisional levels is also sought for this purpose, the minister emphasized.