According to a news item in the Lankadeepa a parent who refused to pay Rs: 6500 as admission fee for Gampola Zahira was beaten up in the school premises by some one who had said ” Because of you the school did not get the money it needed”.
Apparently, the school development society had decided to charge Rs: 6500 from each new year-1 student. The parent in question had complained to higher authorities who in turn had instructed the school to charge only the facility fee of Rs: 36.
How about admissions fees charged by other schools? Does the minister and ministry endorse admission charges by schools other than Gampola Zahira? It is time the ministry admit the true story.
The true story is that the government is unable to give sufficient money to run the schools properly, leaving the principals and parent s come up with various ways and means to raise the money necessary. One favorite means is to tax the parents of year-1 students. Ministry adopts a see-no-evil hear-no-evil policy while the parents pay up quietly. If even one parent refuses to pay the whole charade of public education falls apart. The ministry chides the school as if if did not know all along.
I suggest two solutions.
1. First is obvious. Separate the primary schools from all mega schools. Parents of oyung children should not be taxed to pay for needs of older children in secondary grades.
2. Second, drastically reduce the bureaucracy in central government and channel them money saved to upgrade the secondary schools. Education is a devolved subject. Why do we need a minister for education and big central administrative structure in Colombo?