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Moral values to be inculcated through proposed education reforms – NEI Director General



Director General of the National Education Institute Dr Sunil Jayantha Navaratne speaking at the event

By Saman Indrajith

Director General of the National Education Institute Dr Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said that the education sector would be reformed to include an element promoting moral education to provide students with guidance on morality and values, improve their social understanding and capacity for social mobility, and thus ensure their development as responsible citizens.

Addressing the media at the Cinnamon Grands in Colombo on Friday to unveil reforms to be introduced with the help of educationists from Finland, Dr Navaratne said that there was an increasing moral decay and the education system. “Today, there is no respect for values.

“Sri Lankan youth are trying to leave this land for good because they have no feeling about their motherland. These examples indicate that there is an urgent problem that needs to be addressed. We are changing the country’s education system to create a good citizen who loves his motherland whether he is a Sinhala, Tamil or a Muslim. The product of the education process could be a good doctor or an engineer but if he or she has no moral values as a good citizen, then there is a problem1,” Dr Navaratne said.

State Minister for Educational Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion Susil Premajayantha said that Sri Lanka was a nation with a proud history. “We need an education system that could cater to the needs of the 21st century. We have been able to produce persons with knowledge but without skills. Finland is considered the country with the best education system. Schools there are run by local government authorities. I do not think that can happen here. We have local government bodies which cannot even manage the garbage problem. How could one expect our local government bodies to reach the level of being able to run schools?  In Finland, a teacher is trained for five years. We must adopt such systems. We have commenced that process by upgrading the Colleges of Education to the university level,” the Minister said.

Leader of the Finnish team of experts, Leena Krokfors, professor of teacher education at Helsinki University, said that it all depends on teacher education. Educating and empowering teachers with knowledge and skills would help change an education system. If teachers are given a high-level training it would serve as the basis for giving teachers a great deal of autonomy to choose what methods they use in the classrooms. It is teachers and principals who lead a country’s education if we can give them the correct directions that can direct the country’s future in the right way, she said.

Secretary to the Ministry of Education Prof Kapila CK Perera and Secretary to the State Ministry of Educational Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion Dr Upali Sedera also addressed the conference.

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Keheliya turns down request for abolishing price control on medicine



Industry leader has sought court intervention

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday (17) said that in spite of difficulties caused by the foreign currency crisis price control on imported medicines couldn’t be done away with.

Abolition of price control on drugs would heap an enormous burden on the vast majority of people, Minister Rambukwella said.

Lawmaker Rambukwella said so when The Island sought his response to the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) requesting the government to do away with price control. Claiming that the grouping imported over 80 percent of medicines into the country, the SLCPI recently warned of possible collapse of the industry unless remedial measures were taken swiftly.

Minister Rambukwella said that recently he met an SLCPI delegation at their request to discuss issues at hand. “Of course, I understand the difficulties experienced by all sectors, including the pharmaceutical trade. However, price control as regards medicine cannot be done away with,” Minister Rambukwella said.

The SLCPI has pointed out to the Minister that at the moment medicines were the only commodity under price control in the local market. The Health Minister asserted that it wouldn’t be fair to compare the medicine with other commodities.

Minister Rambukwella said that regardless of constrains, the government was trying to ensure uninterrupted supply of medicine and it wouldn’t be fair to do at this juncture.

In a statement sent to the media SLCPI asserted: “There is no solution to this dilemma than removing the price control of medicines and implement a fair and equitable pricing mechanism which will link the price of medicines to the dollar, inflation and direct costs such as raw material, fuel and freight charges, which will then make importing and marketing of medicines viable. As difficult as it may sound, the authorities will have to choose between having medicines at a cost and not having medicines at all.”

The SLCPI has already sought the intervention of the courts to establish what the grouping called a transparent pricing mechanism outside government price control.

Recently, Minister Rambukwella, at a meeting also attended by State Minister Dr. Channa Jayasumana called for a report on the requirement of medicines over the next six months. The Health Ministry declared that there was no shortage of drugs whereas SLCPI claimed some drugs were in short supply and the situation could get worse.

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Central Expressway: Rs 3 mn raked in within 12 hours



Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday that about three million rupees had been earned by way of toll within the first 12 hours of the opening of the second phase of the Central Expressway.

Rs 2,805,100.00 had been paid by the expressway users during the first 12 hours from 12 noon to midnight Sunday (16) after its opening by the President and the Prime Minister on Saturday (15).

The Minister said that during the first 12 hours of the period of toll collection, a total of 13,583 vehicles had traversed the most  scenic road stretch in the country between Mirigama and Kurunegala. No traffic accidents had been reported during the 12 hour period.

Minister Fernando said that the newly opened road had been allowed to be used by the public free of charge for 12 hours from midnight Saturday (15) to Sunday (16) noon.

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President to inaugurate second session of Ninth Parliament today



by Saman Indrajith

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to commence the second session of the Ninth Parliament today at 10 am with his third Presidential policy statement (formerly Throne Speech).

He made his first ‘Throne Speech’ on Jan 3, 2020, opening the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament and the second on Aug 20, 2020 to open the First Session of the Ninth Parliament.

Secretary General of Parliament, Dhammika Dasanayake said that MPs have been requested to arrive at the parliamentary complex at 9.25 am the latest.

The MPs, if accompanied by their spouses will alight from their vehicles at the Staff Entrance of the parliamentary building, while all other MPs are requested to drive up to the Members’ Entrance.

To facilitate orderly arrival, the MPs are requested that the Car Label provided them with be pasted on the inside top left-hand corner of the windscreen of their vehicles. On arrival at Parliament, Members’ vehicles would be directed by the Police to the appropriate Car Park.

Thereafter the MPs are requested to enter the lobbies of Parliament and to remain there until the Quorum Bells are rung.

President Rajapaksa is scheduled to arrive at the Main Steps of the Parliament Building at 9.40 a.m. and he would be received by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

The President will be escorted by them to the Parliament Building. Thereafter, the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament will escort the President to his Chambers.

At 9.55 a.m. the Quorum Bells will be rung for five minutes and all Members will take their seats in the Chamber of Parliament.

The President’s procession will leave for the Chamber of Parliament and will enter the Chamber at 10.00 am. On entering the Chamber the President’s arrival will be announced whereupon all Members will stand in their places until the President reaches the Chair and requests the Members to be seated.

Thereafter, the Proclamation proroguing the Parliament and Summoning the Meeting of Parliament will be read by the Secretary General of Parliament. Then, the President will address Parliament.

After his policy statement the President will adjourn the House until 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday (19).

Thereafter, the President will leave the Chamber escorted by the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

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