Minister of Education Dinesh Gunawardena says the government is fulfilling one of its election pledges by establishing national schools across the country.
Speaking in Parliament today, Minister Gunawardena noted that the President issued directives to prioritise the process of establishing a national school in every Divisional Secretariat in order to move ‘national schools’ being established in cities to rural areas.
Minister Gunawardena said there were some recommendations made by the former Minister of Education which he cannot change on his own adding it requires the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.
The Leader of the House said schools under the purview of Provincial Councils cannot be taken over by the central government adding discussions are being held with Provincial Councils pertaining to the matter.
Joining the debate, Chief Opposition Whip Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella said the government has given assurances to India that provisions of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution will be enforced.
MP Kiriella questioned whether taking over schools under the purview of Provincial Councils lawful according to the 13th Amendment.
Minister Gunawardena claimed former Education Minister WJM Lokubandara took over hundreds of schools in a similar manner during his tenure.
The Minister said special intervention is required when considering rural education.
The Education Minister claimed no schools were taken over by simply issuing a Gazette Notification adding they are conducting necessary discussions with Provincial Councils