GMOA returns Education Minister’s fire

Accuses Kariyawasam of jeopardising established procedure


by Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday responded to a recent statement made by Education Minister, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam that he had upset a process that had worked for 12 years.

Addressing the media at the GMOA office in the OPA building, Spokesman, Samantha Ananda accused the Education Minister of making derogatory comments about the GMOA office bearers, union members and their children.

Dr. Ananda said the GMOA was contemplating legal action against Minister Kariyawasam for violating the rights of doctors’ children to education.

Referring to the Education Minister’s statements against GMOA President, Dr Anuruddha Padeniya and Former Secretary Dr Nalinda Herath, Dr. Ananda said Dr Padeniya’s children had been enrolled on the basis of the householders list. Dr Herath was not even an Ex-co member at the time his child was admitted to Royal College. The child was accepted in 2013 as his mother had returned to the country after one-year specialist training, while the other child won a Grade Five scholarship to a popular girls’ school.

GMOA EX Co Member, Dr Nalinda Herath alleged that there were reports on websites alleging Minister Kariyawasam interventions in indiscriminately admitting children into popular schools. Amongst them were the children of certain media personnel. He said however that the GMOA did not consider it ethical to reveal details regarding those children. Steps would be taken to pass the information onto President Maithripala Sirisena once he returned to the country.

Dr Samantha said the schooling issue had come up in 2005 when the Education Ministry had issued a circular to the effect that parents had to prove they had been in residency for a period of five years at a particular address close to the schools they sought their children’s admission to. However, doctors were transferred every four years. He said former Health Minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva had obtained Cabinet approval for doctors to be given the privilege of enrolling their children to national schools.

He said that former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had opted for that system as it enabled the country to retain specialists coming after foreign training and ensure that medical officers took up their transfers.

Dr Ananda accused Minister Kariyawasam of having messed up an established system.

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