Shorter August vacation to catch up for lost days - Minister | Daily News

Shorter August vacation to catch up for lost days - Minister

Sheds urged to provide paper marking staff priority

The August school vacation will be five days shorter to make up for lost time due to this week’s school closure, Education Minister Dr. Susil Premajayantha said.

He said the Ministry would review the situation next Saturday and decide on the following week’s school programme, adding that if the school closure had to be extended due to transport difficulties, the December school vacation would be made shorter to make up for that time.

Addressing a press conference at the Government Information Department yesterday, the Minister said the students in the Western Province had lost 100 school days in 2020 and 127 school days and 2021and schools had been held only for 20 days for the school calendar this year. Schools in other provinces had lost 77 school days in 2020 and 86 school days in 2021.

“Therefore, we have no intention to reduce the number of school days for this year. We have also planned a special programme, to be implemented from next month, to cover the important aspects of the school curriculum of primary students, Ordinary Level students and Advanced Level students, which could not be covered in the last two years. Firstly, teachers will be given a special training on that, and secondly additional classes or revision classes would be held for students. The teachers will be paid extra for conducting those classes,” he noted.

He said that schools are encouraged to conduct online classes during the period of closure, adding that the Public Utilities Commission has agreed not to impose power cuts between 8am and 1pm. “There are 3,000 schools which have less than 200 students. Principals have been given permission to open these schools and other schools in areas where transport difficulties can be sorted out. However, teachers’ attendance is voluntary but not mandatory,” he explained.

He said that the Ministry is looking at expanding the school nutrition programme to cover all pre-schools and primary schools. “There are 600,000 pre-school students and 1.7 million primary school students. Providing lunch to these 2.3 million children is our initial aim. China has undertaken to donate 10,000 tonnes of rice and that total quantity will be used for this purpose. We are in talks with foreign countries and organizations such as the UNICEF and World Food Programme (WFP) to make this programme a success,” he observed.

The Minister said that China has pledged to provide 50 per cent of uniform materials required for students, and that distribution of uniform materials would commence from January next year. He added that paper and other materials required for printing school text books for next year would be imported utilizing the funds of the Indian Credit Line.

Exams Commissioner General L.M.D.Dharmasena said about 5 to 6 paper marking centres out of 110 centres countrywide have been closed due to the fuel crisis.

He urged the shed owners to give priority to provide fuel to the teachers who come for paper marking, adding that paper making would continue for another week. He said that the daily allowance for paper marking and examination activities has been increased.


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