Writ of Certiorari against Education Ministry Secretary | Daily News

Writ of Certiorari against Education Ministry Secretary

The Court of Appeal has issued a Writ of Certiorari quashing an official intimation made by the Secretary to the Ministry of Education to the Manager of Ashoka College of Horana, to teach either in the mother tongue (Sinhala/Tamil) or in bilingual medium in terms of the education policy of the government or face the consequences.

Court of Appeal Justice Mahinda Samayawardhena ruled that the decision taken by the Secretary to Ministry of Education was based on a wrong premise and therefore bad in law.

Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Ministry of Education was ordered to pay each of the four petitioners Rs. 100,000 as costs of the action.

The petitioners who are parents of several students of Ashoka College of Horana had filed this application seeking to quash by way of writ of certiorari the decision of the Secretary to Ministry of Education and to prohibit by way of writ of prohibition implementation of the said decision.

The first respondent, the Secretary to the Ministry of Education had informed the Manager of the said school to teach either in the mother tongue (Sinhala/Tamil) or in bilingual medium in terms of the Education Policy of the Government or face the consequences.

The decision of Ministry Secretary is based on Section 6 of the Assisted Schools and Training Colleges (Special Provisions) Act, No.5 of 1960. That Act, as seen from section 2, makes provisions applicable to Assisted Schools. Ashoka College of Horana is, admittedly, a Government Approved Private Unaided School. “Section 6, in my view, does not apply to all Unaided Schools. It applies only to former Assisted Schools but later became Unaided “by virtue of an election made under section 5”. Section 5 allowed a proprietor of any Assisted School, by serving a written notice on the Director of Education, to elect to administer that school as an Unaided School. The school under consideration Ashoka College, Horana was not an Assisted School which became an Unaided School by virtue of election under section 5 of the Act. It has been, from the beginning, a Government Approved Private Unaided (English Medium) School,” Justice Samayawardhena observed.

It is distressing to note that we do not have a National Educational Policy, which, in my view, shall be a top priority. Circulars are issued by the Ministry of Education from time to time by giving various directives to the authorities concerned, in my view, without having a clear vision. Competence in English is essential for personal success in today’s globalized world. English should not be the language of the urban elite to downgrade otherwise talented rural youth. In my view, it is hypocrisy to make it compulsory to the children of underpriviledged to study in Sinhala or Tamil Medium, while making it possible for the children of the elite and affluent to study in English Medium at International Schools or overseas, may be, to keep the distance, Justice Samayawardhena further added. Counsel Mahanama De Silva appeared for the Petitioners. State Counsel Hashini Opatha appeared for the respondent.


 

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