Commemorating 10 years in Office - The People's President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
Thursday, 18 November 2004  
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President inaugurates 'Sahashra Thaksala' program: 

'I will never privatise education'

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said on Tuesday that as a person who staged demonstrations against the White Paper on education in the past, she would never privatise education in this country in any way.

She gave this assurance when she officially inaugurated the Education Ministry's Sahashra Thaksala program aimed at accelerating development of schools with private sector participation at a ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat, Colombo.

Under stage one of this project, steps have been taken to develop 25 under developed national schools with private sector support.

Private sector sponsorship would be obtained to improve IT, laboratory, library, gymnasium, health and sanitary facilities in the respective schools and develop other identified fields in them. Already several leading businessmen in the country have come forward to assist this program.

The President who emphasised that she and her government had given top priority for the development of education during the last decade, said her main desire was to transform all 324 national and 397 Navodya schools into fully equipped educational establishments.

Facilities will be provided to other schools as well under the second stage of this project, she said.

President Kumaratunga said the government had changed the outdated education system and introduced educational reforms to suit modern day needs.

These reforms would not only help impart modern knowledge in science, technology, computer and sports fields, but also create a disciplined future generation.

She said management training programs had already been started to provide management know how to teachers so that they could administer schools properly when they gained appointments as principals.

Special attention will be drawn in the future to develop sports facilities which were at a very low level in most schools under the first stage of this, schools fully equipped with gymnasiums, hostel and advisory services would be created in each district.

The President charged that certain sections of the media were misinterpreting some of the important steps taken by the government for the development of education in an effort to mislead the people.

Most principals present thanked the President for starting a project of this nature with the participation of the private sector for the development of their schools. Members of the business community pledged their unstinted support in future for this project.

Private sector businessmen and industrialists representing IT, tourism, industry and several other fields, principals of 25 selected national schools, Ports, Aviation, Media and Information Minister and Education Deputy Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Secretary to the President W. J. S. Karunaratne, Secretary Ministry of Education Dr. Tara de Mel, BOI Chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya and several other officials were also present.

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