Proposal to merge two schools shrouded in controversy

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COLOMBO (News 1st): Since 2020, Nugegoda Mahamaya Balika Vidyalaya, located within the perimeters of the Sri Jayawardenapura Educational Zone, has been facing difficulties in conducting 13 classes.

This is following an engineer’s recommendation that the building housing these classes is in an unsafe condition.

The provincial education department provided a solution to this problem in February.

The solution was to allocate certain buildings in Nugegoda Wijerama Vidyalaya to house the classes of Mahamaya Vidyalaya.

Accordingly, parents of Mahamaya Balika Vidyalaya had taken steps to refurbish the classrooms, to facilitate the learning process of their children.

Wijerama Maha Vidyalaya, located on land spanning 4.5 acres, currently has a student population of 71 students.

The allocation of classrooms in Wijerama Vidyalaya can be justified as its students are enrolled in Mahamaya Balika Vidyalaya upon completing their primary education.

However, parliamentarian Madura Vithanage has said that the decision to allocate classes in Wijerama Maha Vidyalaya to cover up for the shortage of classes in Mahamaya Balika Vidyalaya cannot be justified.

“We have learnt of attempts to merge this school with Mahamaya Balika Vidyalaya that falls under a separate local authority. But, Mahamaya Balika is located in Maharagama. The distance between both these schools is 1.5 kilometres. Therefore, it is not practical,” MP of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Madhura Withanage said.

According to a complaint filed by the Principal of Wijerama Maha Vidyalaya with the Mirihana police on the 1st of March, MP Madura Withanage was among a group that had forcibly broken into the school the previous day.

The complaint also identifies Dilith Jayaweera and Dhammika Perera as individuals who had broken into the school on the 28th of February.

Two weeks after the incident, the education secretary had addressed a letter to the Western Province Governor, informing him of a proposal to use the classrooms in Nugegoda Wijerama Maha Vidyalaya to fill the shortage of classrooms in Colombo Devi Balika Vidyalaya.

But, the education secretary has not elaborated further on the details of this proposal.

However, he notes that a businessman has expressed interest to develop Wijerama Maha Vidyalaya after merging it with Devi Balika Vidyalaya.

The governor’s comments on this letter indicate the urgency of a certain individual or entity to go ahead with the proposal.

Three days following receipt of the letter, the governor had expressed written agreement on implementing the project.

However, the distance between Devi Balika Vidyalaya in Borella and Wijerama Vidyalaya in Nugegoda does not make the proposal of merging the two schools a feasible one.

At the same time, it is unethical for the central government to acquire a school that belongs to a provincial council without any form of inquiry, especially when provincial councils are defunct.

The support rendered by external parties for the development of education is a service to this nation.

However, is this the case in the urgency shown by a certain businessman to merge Devi Balika Vidyalaya with Wijerama Maha Vidyalaya?





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