Citizens' Mail | Daily News

Citizens' Mail

Grade Five scholarship exam scrapped, what’s next?

I fully agree with the president that the Year Five scholarship examination should be scrapped relieving the small tender aged children of their heavy burden to confront this highly competitive examination, which is only for the parents’ intention of entering their children to popular schools.

We should be proud and appreciate the people of Sri Lanka for their strong desire and commitment to educate their children well by admitting in popular schools. For this very purpose the parents give a top priority for the Year Five scholarship exam and try their best to pass their children and push them to popular schools where they get good education, good sports facilities and good discipline. These things lack in rural schools. There aren’t enough, competent teachers for subjects like mathematics, science, English and PTI. There aren’t playgrounds in many of the rural schools. At least there aren’t proper roads to access to many of the rural schools.

After the advent of Maithripala Sirisena-led Ranil Wicremesinghe Govt. a new school concept was introduced ‘the nearest school is the best school’. The Government launched this scheme to develop at least one school in every electorate but it failed to complete it. The Ministry of Education has haphazardly built some buildings in schools but it could not complete the programme fully islanwide. At this juncture how could a parent be satisfied sending his/her child to a school where there are no facilities. So scrapping the Year Five scholarship examination in one way is eliminating a bright child’s opportunity of entering a popular school where he/she gains most of his /her skills.

While appreciating the president’s thought of creating a national fund for children’s welfare I sincerely urge him to find an alternative method of providing a good and well equipped school for the poor rural child when the Year Five scholarship examination is trashed.

Z. A. M. Shukoor

Increase fines for Traffic offences

A similar caption made the headlines in the front page of the Daily News on February 14. The committee appointed by the President has recommended to increase the fines up to Rs. 25,000 in respect of ten identified offences.

According to the news item, the Bill to amend the Motor Traffic Act will be presented to Parliament shortly by Minister Arjuna Ranatunga.

If this is a remedy for the undisciplined driving standards which cause traffic congestions we have no qualms. However the committee should have noticed the following daily occurrences, which are common traits in our day-to-day activities.

1. It is a common sight that politicians of all strata and service personnel with their fleet of security vehicles, very often blatantly violate traffic rules when using the public road.

All citizens are equal and similarly subjected to the laws of the country.

In this principle it should be made compulsory for the POLICE TO PROSECURE such errant drivers of politicians, service personnel and their back up vehicle.

Penalty for such an offence should be a fine of Rs. 25,000 or the first offender with enhanced fines for the subsequent offences.

2. It is also a common occurrence on the public road that the security personnel who accompany the so-called VIPP in their back up vehicles make physical gestures almost threatening the other road users to give way for them to proceed unhindered.

Such action also should be made an offence with a fine of Rs 25,000 under the M.T. Act. Similar to one above.

3. Another ruse we notice nowadays is luxury cars and SUV’s, running around busy roads with blinking red and blue lights. Is this a tactic to announce the arrival of a VIP? The police on duty we have noticed give priority to such vehicles. Since Sri Lanka is becoming a haven for drug traffickers, this may be veiled scheme adopted by such errant lawbreakers to make their activities easy.

We, the public has a right to know who they are and why the Police give them priority over other tax payers of the country.

4. Most of these incidents take place in the presence of Police officers who turn a blind eye.

In view of this we should make this an offence and new laws be introduced to charge the police officers who don’t take proper action, with a fine of Rs. 25,000. Evidence of such incidents could be downloaded from the CCTV network operated in the city of Colombo by the Police or by members of the public who would without any discrimination supply evidence with their mobile camera phones.

5. Rule of Law should apply to all alike – No one is above the Law they say. Therefore laws should apply to all politicians, service personnel, public servants, and the so-called VIP’s without any prerogatives or privileges. All should be subject to the Rule of Law of the country, then only they understand the difficulties the common man is undergoing.

However we don’t grudge the only exception - is the Head of State, Commander in Chief of the Armed Services, Head of the Cabinet of Ministers, the President.

The only other exception to the rule should be the Ambulance and the Fire Brigade in emergencies.

C. L. Ratnayake
Pita Kotte

Benefits of simple living

Mahatma Gandhi was a very simple person. He was a great leader. His way of living was very simple. His teachings and his books also were very simple.

Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one’s lifestyle. These may include reducing one’s possessions (minimalism) and increasing self sufficiency.

Do not spend money on things you do not really need. Avoid debts. Get rid of old junk you do not use.

Do you really need a car? When you buy a car you have to pay for the licence, insurance, petrol, repairs, maintenance and other taxes.

Do what you love. May be playing football, writing, swimming. Help others. Be thankful to what you have. Share with others. Smile more. Exercise.

A simple life is a beautiful life. Accept what is, let go off what was, and have faith in what will be.

D. Weeratunga


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