Feb 15, 2019

Suraksha student insurance scheme an utter farce! Featured

The Suraksha insurance scheme introduced for schoolchildren by the Education Ministry is currently facing many obstacles and it is likely that students would not benefit from it.

This student insurance scheme was introduced by the current government on October 01, 2017 concurrent to World Children’s Day. From October 01, 2017 to November 30, 2018 a sum of Rs. 2700 million was given to Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, which they had re-insured and had given Rs. 100 million to the Education Ministry as commissions.

However, education sector unions had opposed the move by the Education Ministry to get such commissions. Instead they had suggested that this sum be utilized to cover areas that are not covered by Suraksha. But, to date it is not known what happened to that money and so far no fund has been established with this money and no one knows what has happened to it, General Secretary of the Lanka Teachers’ Association Joseph Stalin told Sri Lanka Mirror.

Meanwhile, the insurance coverage given to Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation had ended on November 30, 2018 and after calling for tenders, Allianz Insurance was awarded the contract by the Education Ministry. The unions objected to this move to hand the insurance contract to a foreign insurance company when there is a state owned insurance company and eventually due to this opposition, the Education Ministry decided to extend the contract with Insurance Corporation by one month. Ironically, this period too has now lapsed and the whole student insurance scheme is in a state of uncertainty.

Further, during the period the insurance was effective, Rs.450 million had been paid out while the Insurance Corporation only wrote out the cheques while filling of documentation, verification and all other functions were carried out by the relevant school teachers and principals, according to Stalin.

Currently, many insurance applications are piled up at the Education Ministry. When a child had faced an accident at school and the teachers had filled out an application and sent it to the zonal division, the officer there had said he could not do anything about it. Subsequently, the parents had taken the application and gone to the Education Ministry at Isurupaya, nothing had been done there as well and the officer had notified the parents that nothing could be done as an insurance company had not been selected so far.

Stalin said that they had notified the Education Ministry earlier to operate the insurance scheme themselves or instead of this insurance scheme to utilize those funds to build proper children’s hospitals complete with all facilities. However, so far the Education Ministry has not responded to this proposal either.

Meanwhile, the Insurance Corporation did not do any promotional activity with regard to the Suraksha insurance scheme, but the Education Ministry had taken steps to advertise this insurance scheme on the text books which had come under severe criticism.