Parliament yesterday debated the quality of international schools operating in the country. Education Minister Susil Premajayantha stressed the need to set guidelines to overlook them.
The Minister noted that International schools had been registered under the Companies Act, and therefore the Ministry had no right to monitor and supervise their activities. He said the number of such schools and their student population had trebled during the last seven years.
`We have no exact information about these schools. But, this is the general picture,` he said. He said only the children of expatriates attached to diplomatic missions based here were sent to these schools in the past. But it had changed now.
The Minister pointed out that parents, who wanted their children to sit London Ordinary Level and Advanced Level exams opted for international schools.
He said that the ministry had received complaints about the quality of these schools.
Minister Premajayantha said he would take up the issue with the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Education Ministry, and take a decision based on its recommendations.
The Education Minister was responding to some remarks made by JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa. MP Weerawansa said that they had serious concerns about the standards of these schools.
He said the ministry should either abolish International Schools or bring them under its purview immediately.
`This is an issue affecting the future generation of our country. These schools produce only persons who know about the Nile River, but not about Mahaveli River`, he said.
The JVP group leader also asked for the Supreme Court to intervene in this matter to take a decision regarding International Schools.
UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake who raised an oral question on the issue earlier in the debate, asked as to how students of international schools participate in sports events organized by the ministry for government schools.
Minister Premajayantha replied that it was because of an arbitrary decision taken by a former female secretary of the ministry.