Special Advisory Committees on Women’s Affairs to be appointed to every PS in Central Province
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by PRIYAN DE SILVA
The Central Province is the first province in the country to order that a special advisory committee should be appointed to every pradeshiya sabha coming under it to contribute effectively to the decision making process, promote the wellbeing and welfare of women living within their jurisdiction and to advise them on the tasks to be performed and strategies.
The order was made by Governor of the Central Province Lalith U. Gamage through an extraordinary gazette notification No 2325/42 of 30th March 2023.
The formation of advisory councils in Pradeshiya Sabhas was mooted to address the grievances aired by female councillors who attended the Canadian government sponsored PMI – WILL (Partnership for Municipal Innovation- Women In Local Leadership) programme which was facilitated in Sri Lanka by the Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government Authorities (FSLGA).
The main grievance of female members of local authorities was that they were not given the opportunity to participate in the decision making processes in the male dominated authorities.
Chief Executive Officer of FSLGA Hemanthie Goonasekera said that the idea of establishing a special advisory council exclusively on Women’s affairs was discussed in length before the proposal to set up the special advisory committees in respect of women’s affairs was drafted and shared with the
caucuses of female members of local government authorities in each province.
Goonasekera said that credit should be given to the Central Province caucus for taking the initiative to present it to the Provincial Commissioner of
Local Government and the Governor of the Central Province. She said that the support extended by the Provincial Commissioner of Local Government of
the Central Province H.M.M.U.B. Herath for the initiative taken was appreciated and hoped that the other Provinces would follow suit as well.
Being a member of the Advisory Committees will give women irrespective of whether they are elected members of the PS or not the opportunity to give instructions (through the committee) to the PS on the following.
1. Development of women labour in the area of authority and implementation of programmes for the betterment of women that can be utilized in social welfare.
2. Implementation of programmes to improve knowledge, attitudes and skills for women
3. Programmes and strategies to be implemented at the Pradeshiya Sabha level in order to protect women in the area of authority of the Pradeshiya Sabha and prevent abuses.
4. Introducing programmes to be implemented to uplift the economy and introducing loan schemes.
5. Giving necessary instructions and support to promote home gardening programmes including green agriculture in the area of authority.
6. Measures to be taken to create a panel of discussion for the purpose of exchanging ideas of women living in the area of authority.
7. Providing necessary assistance to improve inherent abilities and skills and to develop traditional industries and introducing the market relevant to them.
High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka meets with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament & Secretary-General of Parliament
Michael Appelton, High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka, accompanied by Andrew Traveller, Deputy High Commissioner, met with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle MP, and Secretary-General of Parliament, Kushani Rohanadeera, recently.
During the meeting, the Ambassador emphasized that gender equality in politics is vital for the achievement of peaceful societies, the realization of full human potential, and sustainable development. He also stated that they have taken several initiatives to ensure equal women’s participation in the New Zealand Parliament.
Dr. Fernandopulle, MP, shared her concerns regarding the lack of gender sensitivity in Sri Lankan politics. She drew attention to the urgent need for a more inclusive political framework that ensures equal representation and participation for women.
The Secretary-General of Parliament affirmed that Parliament has taken actions to increase youth and women’s representation in committees and is currently working on improving disability access to Parliament.
Climate Change University to be launched next year
At the briefing on the progress of Climate Change and Green Growth held on Wednesday (31) at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and officials of the Climate Change Secretariat led by President’s Adviser on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene it was revealed that the Climate Change University would be launched next year and that the University Grants Commission had identified approximately 130 scientists who have gained international recognition for their research on climate change who, together with their international affiliations would be brought together as part of the initiative.
President Wickremesinghe expressing his perspective on the International Climate Change University, emphasized that it should be a post-graduate institution solely focused on research which does not offer undergraduate courses. Any country or organization that contributes to the university becomes a stakeholder and gains membership on the Board of Governance. The Korean Exim Bank has expressed interest in partnering with the university and negotiations between Sri Lanka and the Korea Exim Bank, led by the External Resource Department have concluded successfully. The President said that prestigious institutions like Harvard and MIT have also expressed interest in collaboration.
The discussions also revolved around inviting a group of international experts from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, tentatively scheduled for July/August to engage in policy conversations, addressing global issues, and exploring potential research projects that could be derived from these policy dialogues.
President Wickremesinghe emphasized that all future research in the field of climate change should be conducted at this institution.
IUSF threatens showdown
By Pradeep Prasanna Samarakoon
The university system is facing a grave crisis as around 40 percent of the lecturers have left the state education system, says the Convenor of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Madushan Chandrajith.
Chandrajith said the ‘exodus’ of top academics would lead to a massive drop in the quality of education as most of those who have left are among the cream of scholars.Chandrajith said that about one-third of students in state universities, eligible for hostel facilities, did not have access to them.He warned that the IUSF will organise massive protests, in the coming weeks, if steps are not taken to resolve the many issues in the University system.
While the Mahapola scholarship has not been increased, the prices of food in the hostels have risen dramatically, he said.
“About 2,500 students in Kelaniya, 4,000 students in Rajarata and 6,000 in Peradeniya do not have hostel accommodation,” he went on to say..According to Chandrajith, a student needs about Rs 20,000 a month to meet basic needs.
“One requires about Rs 12,000 a month for food alone,” he said.
A senior official at the Ministry of Public Administration told The Island that some lecturers and doctors had a 100 percent attendance record but they avoided work.
“They are responsible for the attendance registry and they cook up the books to have full attendance. They take a lot of OT payments by doing this. We are looking at introducing a digital mechanism to mark attendance at universities and hospitals,” he said.
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