One month after schools re-opened for the new academic
year thousands of students are still to receive their free text
of the books were given for printing to 26 private presses including
presses in India.
and teachers complain that the lack of text books is a serious obstacle
to their children's education, the authorities try to cover up the
25 million books had been printed for the current school year. Two
thirds of the requirement of text books had been awarded to the
private sector for printing while 1/3 had been awarded to the State
Division Commissioner, S.L. Gunawardena said an open tender procedure
had been followed in the printing of school text books with 26 private
sector presses being selected.
He said the
number of books required by schools had been supplied but additional
books had been requested subsequently. He also claimed that last
year the distribution of books had not been completed until September
Times contacted many schools and zonal education offices in many
parts of the country to check whether the free text books had reached
the students. Many complained of the shortages but did not want
to be identified as it could have an adverse effect on the schools
A senior official
of a boys' school in Colombo who did not wish to be identified as
the relationship between the school and the zonal office would be
affected as a result said, in general, the previous year's books
were being used. However, he said they were facing difficulties
as new syllabuses had been prepared for subjects in Grade 5, and
so far only the Buddhism and Sinhala books had been received by
in the Nuwara Eliya district told The Sunday Times so far only the
mathematics books had been received by the children in the sixth
grade of one school.
Eliya District had so far received 54,000 books but was still short
of another 13,000. He said by this time last year the books had
been distributed to the children.
Printer Neville Nanayakkara told The Sunday Times, "The printing
of books was given to the private sector. The Government Press did
not receive any printing orders. Some were printed in India violating
tender procedures. Even now the printing is going on."
Right of Reply
- President's House tantrums
Spokesman Harim Peiris says:
I write with reference to the above titled article appearing
as a boxed item in The Sunday Times of 26th January, 2003 and would
wish to respond as follows.
meeting with the President and the Prime Minister commenced with
a forty five minutes to one hour discussion on finance matters at
which discussions the Finance Minister, Treasury Secretary, Secretary
to the President and Additional Secretary to the President were
also present. The President queried the funds to the Provincial
Councils and explained the serious consequence of the same, especially
for the educational reforms program.
the discussion moved on to the peace process. Minister Milinda Moragoda
and Senior Presidential Adviser Lakshman Kadirgamar also participated.
The President queried the progress made on a political framework
for a durable settlement and was informed by the Prime Minister
that several international models were under consideration.
briefings by the Prime Minister the models under consideration have
kept changing from the draft 2000 Constitution of Sri Lanka, to
the Indian and Canadian federal models, to the Swiss canton system,
to the Scottish federal model and currently Ladakh and Pondichery.
The President reiterated the importance of the Government side formulating
a clear vision and an Action Plan even at this late stage for negotiations
with the LTTE. Without this the President stated that it would be
extremely difficult to reach a political arrangement that would
provide a framework for a durable solution to the country's ethnic
At no point
during the meeting did the President even mention that she needed
a bigger say in the peace process. This issue was not even discussed.
However, it is the President's position that the prior advice of
the President in matters relating to the peace process would be
beneficial to the process.
position on a Presidential nominee to the peace process is that
such a nominee(s) should participate in the Political and De-escalation
Committees of the peace process.
The Liam Fox
agreement was not spoken of during the entire meeting. The Liam
fox agreement between political parties is irrelevant to dealings
between the Government and the Executive President. The Liam Fox
agreement is an understanding between the Government and the Parliamentary
Opposition. There is a clear distinction between an Opposition nominee
and a Presidential nominee to the peace process committee.
discussion Minister Moragoda queried as to whether the President
would be interested in advising the Women's Committee of the peace
process that was being established. When queried as to the terms
of reference (TOR) of this committee, Minister Moragoda responded
that the same was being worked out. The President stated that when
this Committee decides on what they would be doing she could be
informed in order to obtain her advice.
Office has in the past maintained strict confidentiality of discussions
between the President and the Prime Minister. However , since inaccurate
media reports of the proceedings abound in the press these clarifications
become necessary to ensure accurate report of the facts.
I would kindly
request that this response receives the same prominence accorded
to the original news item in question.
While respecting the President's Right of Reply, our political
Editor therefore sees no reason NOT to stand by his story.
As for the
Liam Fox agreement, our column did not say that the agreement was
discussed at the meeting at Presidents House even though Liam
Fox was mentioned in our column after mention of the meeting between
President Prime Minister. All we said was that the UNF has decided
that Liam Fox should be the guideline when dealing with the opposition
viz the peace process.
as guns lie idle
A load of automatic
weapons imported for wildlife game rangers had not been issued as
a result of authorities failing to train the game rangers to use
the weapons, senior officials charged.
They said game
rangers had risked their lives by carrying out raids with only outdated
shotguns and repeaters.
had come into focus after the killing of game ranger M.K.C. Kumarasinghe,
last Tuesday at Yala national park during a raid on a ganja plantation
in the area.
have taken four men into custody in connection with the killing.
A diary carried by one of them contained telephone numbers of two
John Amaratunga said they would be investigating the link between
the two policemen and the killers.
An alleged confidence trickster who cheated some big companies
after posing off as an Army Colonel attached to the Welfare unit
at the Army headquarters is being hunted by Police detectives.
the man dressed in army uniform walked into leading business establishments
and first requested for quotations and thereafter placed an order
to purchase goods.
the goods were for the Army Welfare unit and ordered TVs, refrigerators,
fans, washing machines and musical instruments.
The man eventually
paid by cheque but when the companies presented them to the bank
they found that the cheques were bogus though they contained the
rubber stamp of the Army Headquarters Welfare unit.
The Fraud Bureau
is looking for the man who has been identified as Nawalage Rienzie
Cooray of Huludagoda road, Mt. Lavina.