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Admissions powers back to schools:

Schools soon for children left out in initial round

EDUCATION Minister Susil Premajayantha yesterday assured that the children who failed to secure their desired national school in the initial allocation process will be given schools within the next two weeks.

Speaking to reporters at the Education Ministry yesterday, Premajayantha said he knew that there were a significant number of children, islandwide who had not received schools up to now.

"We had to commence schools on January 19 because it was unfair to keep over 315,000 children at home due to comparatively few unresolved cases," the Minister said.

The Education Ministry completed selection and appeals for admission to national schools this month.

There are about 250 children in the Colombo district alone who have not been selected for admission to national schools. Ministry officials yesterday held a meeting with a large group of parents who called over at the Ministry hoping to secure good schools for their children.

The Ministry is planning to establish two model primary schools in Nawala to accommodate children who had not received national schools.

Premajayantha said shortcomings in the new school admission policy adopted by the former education authorities last year created chaos, unduly delaying the whole admission process. This left no time for parents to re-apply for a provincial school.

Criticising the former admissions process, the Minister said: "The ministry is there to take sound policy decisions and ensure their proper implementation. Handling grade one admissions belongs to schools. No one is permitted to play with children's education."

The Minister said he plans to appoint a committee to look into the issue of grade one admissions shortly to recommend new proposals to streamline the whole admissions process. The Ministry has planned to begin the admissions for 2007 by March this year.

"We have already prepared a circular restoring Grade One admission powers to the schools," he added.

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