Who Signed Tara Harrold Agreement ?

May 15th, 2007 - Posted By Dilanthe Withanage

 Who Signed Tara Harrold Agreement ?

Is it Dr. Tara de Mel  under the President Chandrika Kumarathunga or Dr. P.B. Jatyasundara under the President Mahinda Rajapakse. ?

According to informed  sources  Dr. P.B Jayasundara  as the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance  signed the so called “ Tara-Harrold Agreement”. It is important to notice that the President Mahinda Rajapakse is the Minister in-charge of the Ministry of Finance. According to our opinion there is no much issue in this agreement. But we have certain issues to be raised.

1)      What is the agreement signed by Dr. PB and World Bank ( Tara Harrold Agreement)? . Why it is not published in Ministry of Education Web Sites for public information

2)      JVP made a huge protest to this during CBK Period wasting millions for posters and other demonstrations. Why they were silent when it was signed during the Rajapakse regime?

3)      Do Hon Ministers of Education agree that they have agreed on this agreement?

4)      Why we waste such a huge amount of funds to maintain Education Bureaucracy in Sri Lanka when more than 50% students fail GCE O/L? .

5)      Can’t we work together to liberalize this failed education system to provide true FREE Education?

A US $ 60 million grant, the World Bank’s highest for Sri Lanka in the second half of this year, will be offered to the Education Ministry to support its education development programs, World Bank Country Director Peter Harrold said.

“We are in the advanced stage of preparing this grant and it will be made available towards the end of this year,” he said.

Making the inaugural speech at a ceremony to launch the report Treasures of the Education System in Sri Lanka, a comprehensive and scientific analysis of Sri Lanka’s education system ever done by the leading funding body, its country director commended the efforts by the State to enhance quality, accessibility and standards in the fields of school and tertiary education levels.

He attributed the high level of literacy among rural masses and the awareness on social issues such as family planning as factors which reflect the country’s accessibility to basic education.

The Country Director however, stressed that the accessibility at the level of tertiary education needs improving.

“So we have to improve and preserve this level of education and accessibility to the remotest parts of the island,” Harrold said adding that this grant is to reinforce the government’s on-going efforts to improve the education sector. The grant is planned for four-year period from 2006 to 2010.

Education Secretary Dr. Tara de Mel noting that the government is acutely sensitive to the critical role education is playing in the economic growth and poverty reduction strategy in the country, said her aim was to ensure university access for all 100,000 students who qualify at the GCE Advanced Level.

She said the launch of this landmark report was timely as they were moving towards a more advanced cycle of education reforms, with rapid modernization and acceleration of development to reach global standards.

According to her, the program involves increased budgetary allocations, modernizing infrastructure to meet global standards, launching an advanced competency based curriculum, prioritizing investment mainly on IT, Science and Maths and introducing school based management from 2006.

It also proposes depoliticising school admissions, teacher transfers and the entire education system, she said.

Noting that bold leadership is needed for some decisive policy changes, unpopular but critical for developing the country’s education system to face the global challenges she said “today we are moving towards accreditation of the primary and secondary schools in the private sector” among other things. The report consisting five chapters and prepared by a team led by Dr. Harsha Aturupane, a senior economist of the World Bank, highlights a host of issues concerning the Sri Lankan education system that needs attention.

In the first chapter which provides an extensive statistical data, examines policies, enrolment and organisation of the education system while the second chapter presents a strong case on the economic and social benefits of investment in education.

The others focus on public investment and internal efficiency. The report lays the foundation for the World Bank’s future support to the local education sector.

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