Education Ministry officials express displeasure at school closure

By Chandani Kirinde

Education Ministry officials present at the meeting to review the closure of schools in the Central Province have expressed their displeasure at the move which was taken by the Central Provincial Council (CPC) without consulting the Ministry.

This decision had been taken particularly at the time when the GCE O/L exams are only weeks away and students have to be given their admission cards, they said.

They have also said that as the text books for 2010 as well as uniform materials are handed over before the December holidays, these activities have been disrupted by the decision to close the schools early.
The meeting was held in Colombo on Friday with Education and Heath Ministry officials in attendance to review the school closure in the Central Province by the CPC fearing an outbreak of a swine flu epidemic.

Members of the medical team which visited the Central Province to ascertain the situation said the move was unnecessary as there was no imminent threat of a disease reaching epidemic levels in the area.
The CPC decided on November 19 to close all of the nearly 1400 schools in the province but health officials said that had around 30 of the affected schools been closed, an outbreak could have been averted.

Education Minister Susil Premjayanth has decided to forward a report compiled by the Health Ministry including the findings of the fact finding team to the Central Province Chief Minister and allow him to decide when to re-open the schools, the Sunday Times learns.

However provincial councils have also been instructed that future decisions on school closures due to swine flu should be done only after consulting with the Education Ministry as well as the Health Ministry.

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