In 1999, the Sri Lankan government recorded a total student population for both primary and secondary education of approximately 4.3 million students attending a total of 11,031 schools. Student enrollments are distributed among 10,394 government schools, 306 national schools, 77 private schools, 560 pirivenas, and 637 schools of other affiliations. International schools find increasing favor with wealthier families, but statistical data is unavailable on this educational choice. The student teacher ratio in 1999 was 22 students for each teacher, a decline of one student since 1990. The majority of teachers (60 percent) are trained, and 27 percent are graduate teachers. The remaining teaching staff consists of certified teachers, uncertified teachers, and volunteer teachers.
During the 1990s, in spite of ongoing civil war, the people of Sri Lanka witnessed a steady increase in the number of primary and secondary schools of all types, except private schools. This was coupled with a steady increase in literacy among Sri Lanka's school-age population. Private schools declined by two during the period 1995 to 1999, although at 77 the number of private schools was still higher than the 61 private schools in 1990. The number of teachers at both the primary and secondary levels increased from a total faculty of 184,822 in 1990 to 196,726 in 1999. Government expenditures for primary and secondary education increased from approximately 9.6 million rupees in 1990 to approximately 29.3 million rupees in 1999.
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