‘Pride of place to develop human resources and infrastructure’ | Daily News
Namal tells Social Infrastructure Development Committee meeting

‘Pride of place to develop human resources and infrastructure’

Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa in conversation with Central Province Governor Lalith U. Gamage
Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa in conversation with Central Province Governor Lalith U. Gamage

Youth and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa said that the ideas and proposals put forward at district level through the meetings of the Social Infrastructure Development Committee, established on a concept of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to develop the country's human resources and infrastructure, will be taken into consideration in preparing the forthcoming budget.

Minister Rajapaksa made this observation at the first meeting of the series of Social Infrastructure Development Committee meetings held under the National Programme to uplift the Rural Economy conducted by the Prime Minister's Office, at the Kandy District Secretariat Auditorium last Saturday.

Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella addressing the meeting.  Pictures by Asela Kuruluwansa

He pointed out that human resources and a solid infrastructure are vital for a country’s social development, and this the main aim of the Government.

Minister Rajapaksa said “We often talk about infrastructure but not about human resources. A school's educational standards cannot be judged by the number of buildings it possesses, but the talents and educational achievements of the students that it produces.

"The number of stadia that a country has is of no use, if it cannot produce sportsmen and sportswomen who have excelled at international level and brought fame to the country. The number of vocational training institutes is of no significance, if young people are not willing to learn and harness their talents by making proper use of them. Therefore, we must value human resources as much as infrastructure development," he added.

"As the Social Infrastructure Development Committee, we go around the country and identify problems. While making some proposals to address these issues in the forthcoming budget, we will identify what needs to be done in the future to address these issues and make plans accordingly,” Minister Rajapaksa said.

“Sri Lanka and the whole world is facing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we have to continue the State mechanism. People cannot shy away from their daily duties and activities just because there is a pandemic. Today, we have to live according to the health guidelines. The Government is taking the country forward in accordance with the policies of the President's “Vision of Prosperity” Policy Statement,” the Minister said.

"This Social Infrastructure Development Committee is one of the four Committees established for this purpose. We build stadiums based on the people’s needs and not on political needs. We build stadiums to win medals, not to get preferences. We make a plan for that. We implement sports school establishment programmes not based on the language spoken. Our priority for the next five years is to build sports schools. There are a maximum of 250 children in a sports school. However, we are developing these schools to accommodate 600 children. We are spending Rs. 10 billion to develop a Sports School. Children who indulge in sports in all the schools within a distance of 10 Km can enjoy the facilities of the Sport School. We hope to establish a special bus service in consultation with the Ministry of Transport," Minister Rajapaksa said.

Central Province Governor, Attorney-at-Law Lalith U. Gamage said that “there is a huge teacher shortage in the Provincial Council schools. It is very important to formulate a definite programme to balance this situation. Some teachers have been continuously working in schools in the city for 15 years.

"There are teachers who have completed five years of service in difficult areas like Wilgamuwa and Walapane and cannot get a transfer because a teacher transfer policy is not properly implemented. This is a very unfair situation," he said.

Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said there is a huge surplus of teachers in Kandy City. There are no teachers in the plantation area schools. Some teachers come to Kandy region and stay until they retire. We are not saying to transfer the Kandy teacher to Wilgamuwa. We say transfer the Kandy teacher to Matale and the Matale teacher to Wilgamuwa. We should formulate a proper transfer policy to be fair by the teachers.

Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, representing the committee, State Ministers Priyankara Jayaratne, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Vidura Wickramanayake, Thenuka Vidanagama, Sisira Jayakody and Piyal Nishantha, State Ministers representing the Kandy District Dilum Amunugama, Lohan Ratwatte, Kandy District Development Committee Chairman Wasantha Yapa Bandara, MPs Thilak Rajapaksa, Udayana Kiridigoda, Velu Kumar, Central Province Chief Secretary, Gamini Rajaratne, Kandy District Secretary Chandana Tennakoon, Secretaries to Ministries, Heads of Departments and many other public representatives and government officials were present at the occasion.