he education of the students living in the rural and remote villages in the North-East would be severely affected if the SL Government goes ahead with the proposed move of closing down schools with less than fifty students in the island, said former Education Minister of Eastern Province S. Thandayuthapani on Friday. The resettlement has not been fully completed even though ten years have elapsed since the end of the war. It also takes time for the people to resettle in a meaningful way. The move to cut down the access to education is an educational betrayal, Mr Thandayuthapani said. The international actors, such as the World Bank and the IMF who provide ‘development’ assistance to the SL State are also betraying the Tamils in the North-East if they were giving input to the SL Government to close down the schools with fifty or less of students, he said.
The move also goes against one of the critical ambitions expressed in the Millennium Development Goals, which is to achieve universal primary education, the former teacher and zonal educational director, added.
Access to education is a fundamental right, he said.
Furthermore, the SL State is allocating large sums in its budget to Defence, he said.
The developed countries spend at least 6% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education. It is a matter of priority.
However, the two mainstream parties [of the South] keep increasing the defence expenditure. The military is groomed against the fellow people on the island, the former teacher and zonal education director observed.
Twenty-eight per cent of the schools in the Northern Province and 13 per cent have less than 50 students per school, according to the School Census Report 2017 issued in June 2018. The northern province has the most schools with less than 50 students per school in the island.
275 of 997 schools in the Northern Province and 141 of 1,110 schools in the Eastern Province have less than 50 students per school, according to the census report of 2017,
Islandwide, fifty per cent of the schools have less than 200 students. Fifteen per cent of the schools have less than 50 students.