The main opposition UNP yesterday launched a countrywide campaign against the government’s proposed move to politicise the free education system by introducing a ‘Board of Management’ for national schools.
UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe kicked off the campaign at a meeting in the parliament complex by urging all MPs, party district organizers and members of the National Youth Council to educate the masses and campaign against what he termed the “Walawwa mentality” adopted by the government regarding free education in the country.
Mr. Wickremesinghe charged the move to introduce a special “Board of Management” to oversee activities of national schools had come directly from the President’s office without the knowledge of the Education Minister.
UNP MPs and organizers launched a signature campaign and the petition would be presented to Speaker W.J.M.. Lokubandara, Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
He said the petition also called Parliament to enact fresh regulations for school admissions. Mr. Wickremesinghe expressed belief that a two thirds majority could be obtained from the House for this purpose based on the issue of fundamental rights. Mr. Wickremesinghe said according to a circular issued from the Presidential Secretariat, members to the Board of Management to schools would be appointed through nominations and not through secret ballot, which would lead to the politicisation of the process.
He stressed that it was the duty of the UNP to protect the free education system which was introduced by C.W.W. Kannangara in 1945.