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NBRO advises Edu. Min. on hazardous school buildings

NBRO advises Edu. Min. on hazardous school buildings

23 Nov 2023 | BY Sahan Tennekoon

  • Focuses on schools in landslide-prone areas
  • Recommends demolition or repair, depending on location

The National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) said that it had advised the Ministry of Education on what action should be taken on some of the hazardous buildings found in many schools throughout the island.

Following the death of a six-year-old female student due to the collapse of a wall in a school in Wellampitiya last week, the Ministry and other related authorities were blamed by many parties for not taking necessary action in time regarding many similar hazardous buildings in schools.

Against this backdrop, when queried by The Daily Morning yesterday (22), NBRO Director General engineer Dr. Asiri Karunawardena said that the NBRO always takes necessary steps to identify such locations within schools and advises relevant authorities on how to act in order to avoid tragedies from taking place. He said that most of the time – when requested by the said Ministry – the NBRO visits those places and recommends action to be taken.

He said that sometimes, they ask authorities to remove the entire building instead of repairing it; however, it is decided on the nature of the particular location. He also said that, at present, the NBRO is very attentive to schools located in areas identified as having a high possibility of landslides. Dr. Karunawardena also said that whenever the Ministry and its engineers sought the NBRO's assistance, they would be ready to make visits and provide assistance.

Meanwhile, speaking in Parliament last week, Education Minister attorney Dr. Susil Premajayantha said that at least 74 schools – including Thurstan College in Colombo and Tangalle Balika Vidyalaya – are found to have such dangerous buildings. He said that hence, instructions had been issued for school authorities to evacuate children from such dilapidated buildings. He further said that school authorities had been advised to find alternative solutions for children until the buildings were renovated. Funds had, however, not been allocated for schools in 2021 and last year (2022) due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis, the Minister revealed.

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