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Ramanayake languishes in prison while big time criminals are pardoned – former Speaker

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Former MP Ranjan Ramanayake is languishing in prison while big-time criminals are pardoned by the President, Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Chairman of the National Movement for Social Justice, says.

Ramanayake’s career and health had been ruined because he fought against corruption, Jayasurya said, yesterda, addressing the media. “This is another example of how there is one law for the rich and the powerful, and another for others.”.

“In recent times, the government is harping on the ‘One Country, One Law’ policy. However, recent events have made it clear that one law exists to protect the powerful while another law exists to oppress the downtrodden. The majority of people today have come to understand this reality,” he said.

Jayasuriya said that the existing laws, rules, and regulations were sufficient to implement the government’s ‘One Country, One Law’ policy. “Justice and the rule of law can only prevail if the police, the public service and the legal sector are not politically influenced. If these are independent, democracy will be protected. People will be assured of their fundamental rights,” he said.

The government had failed to address any of the serious issues that were affecting the country, the former speaker said. The number of Covid-19 patients were rising and deaths had also occurred due to natural disasters such as floods and landslides, Jayasuriya said.

“People are being forced to queue for long hours to obtain essential items, such as food, gas, sugar and milk powder as a result of shortages directly linked to failures in management of the current government. Therefore, it is evident that the lives of the Sri Lankan people today are in complete disarray. They are disappointed and disillusioned as the government has failed to resolve these issues despite receiving unlimited powers through the 20th Amendment and securing a 2/3 majority in Parliament,” he said.

The former Speaker added that the government’s organic fertiliser policy had been a disaster. While organic agriculture was the future, it should be done following expert advice and consultation. It was obvious that the government had taken the decision to go green without any thinking or planning, he said.

“The government decided to ban the import of agrochemicals without talking to anyone. This should have been done differently and now the idea of organic agriculture is tainted. Because there has been no planning, the yield of many crops have drastically reduced not only due to the lack of fertiliser but also due to a decision made by farmers to halt cultivation until a solution is reached.

“Experts have already predicted that reduction of the yield by around 40 per cent is probable in the near future. There is also a significant price increase of vegetables. The lack of any relief on the rising cost of living in the recent Budget has also caused great concern among the public. It must be noted that the failure to compensate for the reduction in yields caused by the fertiliser crisis, and the effects of the human-elephant conflict in the Budget is a serious oversight,” he said.



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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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President: SL should tap its potential to become education hub in region

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By Saman Indrajith

Sri Lanka has the potential to become a regional education hub, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said addressing a Committee Stage debate of the 2023 Budget in parliament yesterday.The President said that the way schools are conducted will change in the next 25 years.

“In 25 years, there may not be physical universities. That actually makes it easier for us to become a regional hub of education,” he said.

Wickremesinghe said a large number of students leave the country for higher education. Around three billion US dollars is sent out of the country for foreign education, he said.

The President said that if Sri Lanka becomes a regional hub for education the country can earn about USD 10 billion.

“I urge the National Council and other Parliamentary Committees to look into this,” he said.

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