By Buddhika Samaraweera
The Ministry of Education has decided that schools located in areas where students and teachers do not have transportation issues will be open five days a week as usual, while other schools will be open only three days a week as in previous weeks.
An official of the Ministry of Education stated that a discussion was held on 30 July between Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, Education Ministry Secretary Nihal Ranasinghe, the Education Ministry officials, and the Provincial Education Secretaries/ Directors, regarding the holding of schools during the week from today (1) onwards.
During the relevant discussion, he mentioned that it was decided to hold schools located in areas with transportation issues due to the prevailing fuel crisis only three days a week, namely Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, as in the previous weeks. He also mentioned that a flexible time table would be prepared so that every teacher can come to the school for at least three days and carry out teaching activities.
However, he said that regional education authorities are allowed to operate schools in areas where teachers and students do not have transportation issues, five days a week. If the schools are to operate five days a week, the Ministry official said that there should be an agreement from the principals and the teachers.
The official further said that a dedicated private bus service for transporting school children and teachers would be started from today. He said that schoolchildren and teachers have the opportunity to reach schools using the said bus service by paying normal bus fares.
Schools were closed for several weeks due to the fuel shortage in the country and the resulting transportation crisis. Even though the schools have now reopened, teachers and students constantly complain that it is very difficult to procure transport facilities to travel to the schools. It is against this backdrop, that the Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) stated that they, with the support of the Ministry of Education, the Sri Lanka Transport Board (CTB), and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation hope to start two special bus services from today for school children and people going to hospitals.