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Prez appoints acting ministers for Finance, Women and Child Affairs

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‘Yuthukama’ represented in Cabinet for the first time

By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has assigned State Finance and Women and Child Affairs portfolios to Shehan Semasinghe and Anupa Pasqual, respectively, as acting ministers before leaving the country. He will be visiting Tokyo and Manila. The President left on Sunday (25).

However, when President Wickremesinghe represented Sri Lanka, at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II over a week ago, the Finance and Women and Child Affairs portfolios were entrusted to Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Geetha Kumarasinghe to act in his absence.

Sources said that this was due to the appointment of two State ministers each to handle Finance and Women and Child Affairs portfolios.

In addition to finance and Women and Child Affairs, President Wicremesinghe holds defence, investment promotion and technology. Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, Shehan Semasinghe and Kanaka Herath were assigned defence, investment promotion and technology, respectively, on both occasions – Wickremesinghe’s visits to the UK and now Japan and the Philippines.

Anupa Pasqual, first time entrant to Parliament from the Kalutara district contested the last general election on the SLPP ticket. Pasqual represented civil society group ‘Yuthukama’ that campaigned for the SLPP at the 2019 presidential and 2020 parliamentary polls. The SLPP accommodated ‘Yuthukama’ leader Gevindu Cumaratunga on its National List.

Political sources said that the government was yet to reach agreement on ministerial portfolios held by President Wickremesinghe against the backdrop of the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) refusing to join the cabinet of ministers. In terms of the Constitution, the government can appoint 30 ministers and 40 non-cabinet ministers.

President Wickremesinghe on July 22 appointed 18 cabinet ministers. They included the Premier. About 8 weeks later, President Wickremesinghe appointed 38 State Ministers.



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Six member committee appointed to inquire into Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s conduct in Australia

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Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe has appointed a six member committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents reported against some members of the Sri Lanka Cricket team that participated at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

 

 

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SJB MP: Most parents have to choose between food and children’s education

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By Saman Indrajith

Most Sri Lankan parents are compelled to choose between food for their families and their children’s eduction, SJB Matale District MP Rohini Kumari Wijerathne told Parliament yesterday.

Only a few parents were able to feed and educate their children the MP said, participating in the debate on Budget 2023 under the expenditure heads of Ministries of Education and Women and Child Affairs.

“An 80-page exercise book costs Rs. 200. A CR book costs Rs 560. A pencil or pen costs Rs 40. A box of colour pencils costs Rs 570 while a bottle of glue costs Rs 150. If the father is a daily wage earner he has to spend one fourth of his salary on a box of colour pencils for his child. A satchel now costs around Rs 4,000. A pair of school shoes is above Rs 3,500. The Minister of Education knows well how many days a child could use an 80-page exercise book for taking notes. Roughly, stationery cost is around Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per child, MP Wijerathne said, adding that only Rs. 232 billion had been allotted for the Ministry of Education by Budget 2023.

“After paying salaries of teachers and covering officials’ expenses, etc., there will be very little left for other important matters,” the MP said, noting that Sri Lanka would soon be known as the country that made the lowest allocation of funds for education in the South Asian region.

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All crises boil down to flaws in education system, says Dullas

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By Saman Indrajith

All the crises Sri Lanka was beset with were due to the country’s outdated education system, MP Dullas Alahapperuma told Parliament yesterday.

“The political and economic crisis we are facing is the direct result of our education,” he said.

The Sri Lankan education system had not changed with global developments. Our system is not even geared for employment. Our examination system is antiquated and our classrooms are in the 19th Century.

However, the students belong to the 21st century. How can you cater to 21st Century children under an outdated system?” he queried.

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