Attendance of pre-schoolers’ drops sharply
- Inability to pay fees noted, teachers to meet Geetha
- More school dropouts turning to work for families’ survival
BY Buddhika Samaraweera
The Sri Lanka Pre-School Teachers’ Association (SLPSTA) stated that there is a significant decrease in the number of children attending preschools due to the inability to pay preschool fees in the prevailing economic crisis.
Speaking to The Morning, SLPSTA President Asanka Srinath said that as many parents have lost their sources of income and their income has decreased, most of the parents find it difficult to pay their children’s preschool fees. He said that this situation can be seen more in rural areas than in urban areas.
“The number of students enrolled in preschools has decreased over the past few months. For example, in a preschool where 20 children were educated before, there are now 15 students. In addition, some children who have been studying for two to three months at preschools stop attending them, as they can’t afford to pay the fees,” he said.
Srinath said that although preschool teachers do not demand the relevant fees from students who have not paid the fees, there are reports that students do not attend preschool because of their reluctance to face the teachers. The continuation of this situation, he said, will create a problematic situation in the education sector.
“This situation has been caused by the economic crisis in the country. However, relevant institutions such as the State Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and the Ministry of Education can encourage parents to send their children to preschools. We hope to discuss this with the Women and Child Affairs State Minister Geetha Kumarasinghe in the coming days,” added Srinath.
Meanwhile, it was recently reported that due to the severe economic difficulties faced by many families, as well as schools not conducting lessons in a proper manner, there is a tendency of certain students in senior grades discontinuing their education in order to engage in various forms of employment. This is seen mostly among students who are scheduled to appear for the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (A/L) Examination. It is said that the main reason for certain students turning to jobs is that their parents have lost their own jobs, leaving them unable to bear their household expenses.