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No funds from govt. for Poson Festival; Dhammarathana Thera



Ven. Walahangunavewe Dhammarathana Thera, the Chief Incumbent of Mihintale Rajamaha Vihara, yesterday (21) said that no funds have been received for this year’s State Poson festival due to the government’s strict financial management.

The Thera expressed these views at a special discussion held at the Mihintale Sacred Site with officials including Central Province Governor and Acting Governor of North Central Province Lalith U. Gamage regarding this year’s Poson Festival.

Nayaka Thera said that the President’s Office, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Department of Cultural and Buddhist Affairs, as well as the higher government officials of the North Central Province have avoided the State Poson Festival, which will be held in about 10 days.

Acting Governor Gamage said that arrangements should be made to celebrate the Poson Festival keeping in line with the financial management programme of the President.

After it was said that no funds were received from the government for the Vesak Festival held in the Central Province, the discussion became quite heated.

Ven. Dhammarathana Thera, who spoke first, said there’s only 10 days left for Poson Poya but no executive officer except the district secretary has attended any meeting in this regard.

“No representative of the Governor’s Office or the Chief Secretary of the North Central Provincial Council visited us so far. About 2 million people will come to Mihintale this year. We have to ensure their hygiene and safety and we need to provide them with water and electricity,”

“I am happy that at least the Governor of the Central Province has visited us today. Those inside the Province have no interest in attending these meetings or looking into preparations,” the Thera said.

Governor of Central Province and Acting Governor of North Central Province Lalith U Gamage said;

“We know that the Buddhist culture that exists today in this country was established after the arrival of Mihindu Maha Rahat Thera and it is the responsibility of all of us to preserve it.”

“I came here today to personally ask about the contribution made by the donors including my daughter in the USA to the Mihintala Rajamaha Vihara and its development.”

“For 20 days, I have been appointed by the President as the Acting Governor of North Central Province. Therefore, it is my duty and responsibility to get an understanding of how the Poson Festival is being conducted.”

“We successfully completed the Vesak Festival in the Central Province but we did not spend even one cent from the government. The entire cost was borne by philanthropists, well-wishers and from all the people from non-religious places of worship. Since there is an economic crisis, the President has advised us to manage state funds.”

“If we fail to salvage the country from this crisis, we will not be able to do any of the other activities. The President also wants to conduct the upcoming Poson Festival properly,”

After the Governor’s remarks, Ven. Dhammarathana Thera said;

“Financial management is good, since it has not been done since 1948. We don’t ask for millions of rupees for this Poson Festival. We need to install at least 200 speakers to cover the entire site. People come to worship these sites with much difficulty. We don’t even collect money from the vehicle parks because we have to think about the people as well.”

“The Governor said the government did not fund the Vesak Festival and it was funded by the people from other religions. Let us also send a message through the media today asking them to help us.”

“You said that money was collected from philanthropists, but there are no such philanthropists here like in Kandy. Had Mihindu Maharahat Thera arrived in Colombo, funds could have been collected from philanthropists in Colombo easily. There are no such well-off people in these areas,” the Thera said.


Proposals to reduce school grades from 13 to 12




The Ministry of Education disclosing the proposed new educational reforms stated that it is intended to reduce school grades from 13 to 12.

This was disclosed on 01.12.2023 at the time of presenting the progress of the year 2023 and plans for the year 2024 for the budget of the Ministry of Education by Dr. Susil Premajayantha for the Ministers and Members of Parliament.

Accordingly, the educational authorities stated that through the proposed new education reforms, every child will be given the opportunity to finish school in 17 years. Accordingly, pre-school education is classified as 4 years old, primary section 1-5, junior section 6-8 and senior section 9 to 12.

Simplify Grade 5 scholarship

While it has been proposed to give a certain percentage of marks from school-based evaluations and a certain percentage from exams for the Grade 5 scholarship exam, the Ministry of Education has also proposed to simplify the Grade 5 scholarship exam and eliminate competition.

O/Ls in Grade 10, A/Ls in Grade 12

Furthermore, through the proposed new education reforms, the Ministry of Education has proposed to conduct the Ordinary Level examination in Grade 10 and the Advanced Level examination is scheduled for grade 12. It has also been decided to reduce the number of subjects for O/L’s from 9 to 7. Officials representing the Ministry of Education stated that among those 7 subjects, it has been proposed to make it mandatory to study three new subjects; Information and Communication Technology (ICT), technical and professional skills and religious and values.

The officials of the Ministry of Education, who pointed out that more than eighty thousand (80,000) students fail in the ordinary level examination in a year, have suggested that no child will fail through the new education reforms and that all children who passed the ordinary level examination should be given the opportunity to study vocational training courses.

For that, A-level subjects have been classified into two categories as academic education and vocational education and a path has been prepared for every child to obtain a degree. The Ministry of Education also pointed out that two new subjects have been added under academic studies by increasing the current subjects from 6 to 8. Furthermore, the officials of the Ministry stated that the children will receive the opportunity to obtain education through 10 subject areas under practical studies and through that, the children will get the opportunity to obtain degrees by going through vocational fields.

The Ministry pointed out that administrative restructuring is also taking place in the education service. The number of existing educational zones will increase from 100 to 122 and the total number of ten thousand one hundred and twenty-six (10,126) schools will be classified as cluster schools of one thousand two hundred and twenty (1220). All the existing national schools will be a flagship school in a cluster of schools as flagship schools at the provincial level.

Officials of the Ministry said that 517.05 billion rupees have been allocated for the Ministry of Education in this year’s budget for the year 2024. Of this, two thousand million rupees have been allocated for providing school textbooks, six million rupees for school uniforms, and two thousand five hundred million rupees for providing school shoes to seven hundred twenty-eight thousand four hundred and eighty (728,480) children. About 1.07 million school children are currently being given lunch and the same number is ready to be given to 1.5 million children in the year 2024, the Ministry of Education officials said.

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Upul Tharanga to chair cricket selection committee




Sports Minister Harin Fernando today (04) announced that Upul Tharanga will replace Pramodya Wickramasinghe as Chairman of the Cricket Selection Committee.

The minister added that 10 names have already been recommended as selectors and that a new selection committee would be appointed soon.

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SLC complains to CIABOC over ex-sports minister




Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) says that they have formally lodged a complaint with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption in Sri Lanka against Mr. Roshan Ranasinghe MP over the alleged misuse of funds provided by SLC to the National Sports Fund for the development of various other sports in Sri Lanka.

A statement issued by the SLC states :

The decision to file this complaint stems from the concern that Mr. Roshan Ranasinghe MP has not appropriately disclosed the utilization of funds allocated by SLC for the intended purposes.

This move comes in the wake of a discernible disparity between the information disclosed to the media by Mr. Ranasinghe MP and the response received by SLC under a Right to Information (RTI) application, outlining the specifics of the expenditures made.

SLC wishes to emphasize the importance of maintaining the integrity of financial transactions and ensuring that funds are utilized for their designated purposes and the said formal complaint filed with the Bribery Commission underscores SLC’s dedication to upholding the highest standards of governance and ethics within the realm of sports administration.

SLC trusts that the Bribery Commission will conduct a thorough investigation into the matter to ascertain the facts and take appropriate action as necessary and Sri Lanka Cricket will continue to collaborate with relevant authorities to ensure a fair and just resolution to this issue, as part of its ongoing commitment to the promotion and advancement of sports in Sri Lanka.

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