The schools in the Western Province are expected to be opened by February 15, said the Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Prof. Kapila Perera.
All schools except in the Western Province and isolated areas have been opened for the new school term from January 11 and a special meeting was held Wednesday (20) at the Ministry of Education to discuss the possibility of opening schools in the Western Province under the COVID ‘new normal’ conditions.
Senior officials including Minister of Education Prof. GL Peiris, Minister of Health Pavithra Devi Wanniarachchi, Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Prof. Kapila Perera, Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Western Province Director of Education Sri Lal Nonis, and Member of Parliament Pradeep Undugoda participated in the discussion.
It was noted that while there have been many requests from various sections of society, including parents, to open schools for children, a general decision cannot be made on all schools due to the existing health risks.
It was also discussed that the decision should be taken by looking at the existing health status of the schools representing each zone and division and the possibility of starting schools separately.
There are 1576 schools in 11 education zones in the Western Province, out of which nearly 79,000 students are scheduled to sit for the GCE Ordinary Level Examination in March.
Accordingly, action will be taken to open 907 schools in the Western Province from January 25 with the consent of the health authorities for the students who will sit for the GCE Ordinary Level Examination this year.
It was decided at this discussion to take a decision regarding the commencement of schools for other grades in the Western Province after consulting all parties including the Government Agents, Divisional Secretaries and Chairmen of the Regional Development Institutions in each district.
Accordingly, the District Development Committees should meet on January 28, 29 and February 1 to take appropriate decisions regarding the commencement of schools with the participation of the local health officers and reach an agreement regarding schools which do not have health risks to be started among the schools in their area and the recommendations should be sent to the Ministry of Education before February 10.
The Ministry of Education, after obtaining the recommendation of the Director General of Health Services, hopes to be able to start schools in the Western Province receiving health recommendations by February 15, Education Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera said.
Education Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera said that after obtaining the recommendation of the Director General of Health Services by the Ministry of Education, it is expected that the schools in the Western Province that receive health recommendations will be able to start by February 15.