Bandula vows tough action against principals taking money from children


By Saman Indrajith

Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena vowed in Parliament yesterday that tough action would be taken against principals who collect money from children for purposes such as colour-washing and refurbishing of class rooms.

He said that such principals would be interdicted from the service. Already, a circular had been issued prohibiting the school principals soliciting money from pupils, the minister said adding that a fresh circular too would be issued soon to prevent them fleecing children.

The Minister was responding to a query raised by Matara District UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana who demanded to know what action the government had taken to avoid recurrence of unfortunate incidents such as the one that recently occurred where a student was produced before court for stealing eight coconuts to raise funds to pay for colour-washing of her class room.

Minister Gunawardena said that when complaints of such incidents were received, a brief investigation would be held and if there was enough evidence the principal in question would be interdicted immediately. A proper investigation would be held only thereafter, he said.

The Education Minister said that principals have found a loop hole in the law and whenever action was taken against them, they would go before the Human Rights Commission or Public Service Commission. If those commissions acted in a more responsible manner, the situation would have been better, he said.

MP Pathirana pointed out that some principals evade the law by handing over the responsibility of collecting money to the school development societies.

The Minister said that to avoid the mistakes that occurred in the past, a better circular had to be prepared and both government and opposition must join hands in the exercise. The parliamentary consultative committee on education was the best forum in that regard, he added.

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