Administration, Finance, & Educational Research
Ministry of Education: In 1978, the Ministry of Education was divided into a Ministry of Education and a Ministry for Higher Education. The former agency oversaw elementary and secondary education. In 1979, a Ministry of Education Services was created to provide books and materials and to review the condition of school facilities. The promotion and recruitment of teachers was assigned to the Public Science Commission. The Minister of Education is appointed by the president of Sri Lanka, is a member of the presidential cabinet, and is assisted by three Deputy Director-Generals of Education, each responsible for school organization, curriculum development and teacher education, or planning. The island is divided into 15 regions, each with a regional director with authority for school construction, maintenance, repair, and teacher supervision. The regional director recruits the teachers, assigns them to schools, and arranges transfers.
Funding & Support: Foreign governments and agencies provide needed additional funding to further improvements in the Sri Lanka educational system. The World Bank funds teacher education and teacher deployment projects to improve teacher quality and make education more widely available to the general population. The Secondary Education Development Act funded the renewal of 178 secondary schools and 14 newly established teacher-training colleges, consultancy services for curriculum development, and a new building complex to house the Department of Examinations. The Japanese government funded development work on 12 new junior secondary schools, while the United Kingdom, under the Department for International Development, continues to fund primary mathematics, primary English, and primary education planning projects.
Under the Development of Schools by Divisions Project, 393 schools were refurbished, and under the National Schools Development Project, 185 new school buildings were constructed. Provincial councils provided money to support the educational infrastructure in their areas. Government money was allocated for free school uniforms and textbooks. Recognizing the importance of computer technology, 1,795 computers and 601 printers were distributed among 601 schools in 1999. Twelve computer resource centers were set up in selected schools in the same year. The government's 2002 budget has proposed special incentives to set up 50 institutes for information technology. All institutes would be connected to the information technology parks at Malambe, Kesbew, and Pugoda. The private sector contributes to Sri Lanka's general education system by funding private schools, international schools, private tutories, and private preschools.
Research & Reform: Even though preschools are under the jurisdiction of provincial councils, the central government plans to establish policies that will regularize the education being offered throughout the nation on the basis of curricula and teacher training. To facilitate this effort, the Open University has established a Child Study Center to undertake research in early childhood and development and to improve teacher training for preschool teachers. The Sri Lankan government, in spite of continued domestic distress, is making every effort to educate parents and students about educational reforms, the availability and fair distribution of resources, and the provision of teaching material at primary and secondary levels. The Ministries of Education and Higher Education are developing an incentive program to encourage teachers to work in less advantaged areas among the urban poor and the rural regions of the country to extend education to all Sri Lankan children.
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