Akila promises to conduct fitness tests on participants in leadership programmes



Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam yesterday (22) told Parliament that steps would be taken to conduct physical fitness tests for school principals before they underwent the leadership training programmes.

Answering Joint Opposition (JO) MP Dullas Alahapperuma’s question on a recent incident where a principal died during a leadership training programme, Kariyawasam said that he would take necessary action after the ongoing investigations were over.

Alahapperuma: A female principal recently died while undergoing a leadership training programme. Before that another principal died while taking part in a similar programme. "I don’t place the blame upon the minister or say the programme should be scrapped. But, steps must be taken to prevent such tragic incidents in the future. This programme was conducted by a private firm. Therefore, we should look into the standards it maintains. State media reported that this principal fell down from a ladder. But, all the other media said that she fell down while climbing a rope.

Kariyawasam: I have required an immediate investigation into the incident. Once I receive the report I can give you further details. Normal procedure is that we call for tenders from private firms to conduct leadership training programmes. According to the information I have at the moment, the principal who passed away had undergone a cadet training before. And the activity you mentioned was not compulsory. Many principals who participated in the training skipped that. But according to the information we got, this principal participated in the activity voluntarily. However, I agree that such incidents should not have happened. That is why I have asked for an investigation.

Alahapperuma: I think it would be better if you can introduce activities taking their ages and physical conditions into consideration.

Kariyawasam: Before 2015, leadership programmess were conducted with the help of the Sri Lanka Army. But, we scrapped some parts of the training. (SI)

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