With regard to the budget allocation for the Ministry of Education in 2024, Minister of Higher Education Mr. Susil Premajayath announced that it has been planned to allocate a sum of Rs. 237 billion to the Ministry of Education’s budget for the year 2024. This amount specifically pertains to education-related capital and recurring expenses in the nine provinces. The Cabinet has already approved the policy framework for education reforms, which we will present in Parliament after receiving sectoral parliamentary approval. This initiative aims to establish a stable education policy that endures across different governments and ministers. It will drive reforms in four key areas, focusing on transitioning from an exam-centric system to a more diversified and inclusive classroom assessment. The ultimate goal is to provide quality education to both students and educators.
The Minister stated that the upcoming academic year will commence on February 19, 2024, marking the initiation of the first school term. He emphasized that the curriculum spanning from the first to the eleventh year will be completed within the same academic year.
Addressing the press conference held at the Presidential Media Centre today (6), held under the theme ‘Collective path to a stable country,’ Minister Susil Premajayanth shared further insights:
“Due to certain delays in the country, the school year began on March 27, 2023. We have taken measures to prevent such delays, enabling the start of the new school term on February 19, 2024. Our objective is to ensure the full completion of the curriculum from the first year to the eleventh year within the same academic year, allowing us to conduct the 2025 school year without disruptions.”
“We have also made arrangements to conduct Advanced-Level Examinations. Although there have been some professional challenges, we have managed to maintain the examination schedules, ensuring timely examinations. We are also prepared to release the results of the Ordinary Level Examinations conducted in the third week of this month. Despite the on-going circumstances, we are determined to manage time efficiently and conduct exams as scheduled.
When we assumed office, there were 808 vacant positions. The Treasury approved the recruitment of 50% of these vacancies. As the examinations have been completed, we are actively preparing for interviews and recruitment. Furthermore, approval has been granted for 707 teacher education service positions and we are working towards their immediate appointment. This move aims to provide training for teachers across 19 faculties. Our goal is to fill all teaching service vacancies before the upcoming school term.
The Minister also addressed the challenges encountered regarding the appointment of teachers and development officers as graduates:
A group of individuals took the matter to court when we were ready to hire teachers and development officers as graduates. As a temporary solution, provincial-level vacancies for retired dignitaries and teachers who have left service have been approved and recruitment is underway to address the needs of all provinces.
In an effort to bolster education in specific subjects, the Treasury approved the recruitment of 5,450 personnel for science, mathematics, English, foreign languages and technology subjects. These recruitments are being conducted at the provincial level and the gazette notification for national schools is scheduled for release this week.
Minister Premajayanth also revealed plans for textbook distribution, school uniforms and meal provisions, Preparations and distribution of textbooks for the year 2024 are completed, with 80% of school uniform work finalized. Beginning next year, the government is planning to provide meals to all school students, with the aspiration of offering lunch to every school child by 2030. Several programs, in collaboration with the World Food Program, USAID and the private sector, are already underway to realize this goal.
In conclusion, the Senior Minister underscored the government’s commitment to providing professional training in skills and technology to students post-general and advanced level examinations. Selected schools will offer evening classes over a four-month period, focusing on guidance, English, information technology, or various other courses tailored to students’ preferences.”
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