The Supreme Court yesterday having approved the draft Policy framework for school admissions for the year 2008 directed the Education Ministry Secretary’s speedy action to present it to the Cabinet of Ministers for their sanction.The Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Ariyaratne Hewage tendered the draft Policy Framework to the court.
The Court directed the Secretary to submit to the court any reservations by the Cabinet of Ministers in order to consider whether such reservations could be incorporated in the Policy framework.
If there would be none the Secretary should take steps to have it published as a circular to be applicable for 2008.
However, the Court observed that the authorities are at liberty to refer the matter to the National Education Committee to formulate a policy framework for the school admissions for the succeeding years.
In terms of the new draft the total points given to a child would be 60 instead of 100 ,out of which 20 would be given to the suitability of the child. Twenty marks will be given if the child lives in the feeder area i.e. the administrative district.
In case of the parents being past pupils of the school this will not apply.A total of 20 marks could be given in case of a parent being a past pupil.
If the child’s brothers and sisters attend the same school five marks would be given. Parents employment in the public and private sector would carry another five marks. The parents who are members of the Police and three Armed Forces are also entitled to 10 marks.
The suitability of the child in terms of the new draft would be considered on the basis of the observations of the activities of the child i.e. the identification of colours, objects and the ability to respond etc. In case of the parents being past pupils, two marks would be given if they are members of the Past Pupils Association.
A maximum of 10 marks would be given to their period of studies in the school. Four marks would be given to either co-curricular or the extra curricular activities and another four would be given to contributions made to the development of the school.
In terms of the draft,the school committee would determine the number of the vacancies in the school. The Bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva PC and Justices Nimal Gamini Amaratunga and Jagath Balapatabendi.
The petitioners, Past Pupils associations of the leading schools in Colombo sought to quash the notification to admit the children to grade one by the Secretary to the Ministry of Education.
They also sought interim orders to stay the operation of the notification and the selection process for year one until the determination of his application.
They argued among the other matters that the new circular failed to provide provisions to maintain the religious identity of the Vested Schools at the time of the vesting and would deny the equal opportunity to the Buddhists to be admitted to the National Schools in the Colombo Municipal area.
The petitioners also contended that the new circular limiting the feeder area to the Local Government area is irrational and that it would eliminate children of the past pupils.The rights applications were accordingly terminated.