COVID makes poor countries poorer, increases illiteracy – State Minister Susil | Daily News

COVID makes poor countries poorer, increases illiteracy – State Minister Susil

The worst aftermath of COVID-19 is illiteracy and poor countries becoming poorer, Educational Reforms State Minister Susil Premajayantha said.

He said that the fundamental reason behind restarting schools is to overcome illiteracy in the future years as predicted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Sri Lanka was economically paralysed by the time when the Government was coming to power. Most of the countries used Central Bank reserves to combat COVID-19. We had to resolve economic issues while fighting COVID-19,” he said.

The State Minister was speaking at a media briefing at the SLPP Headquarters in Battaramulla yesterday.

He said that the Ordinary Level Exam will be held in March, which was set two months further allowing the students to catch-up with the missed lessons. Also as decided, the schools in the Western Province will restart on January 25. “All together 600,000 applicants including school applicants, private applicants and candidates who sit for the second time are facing the exam. Over 4,000 exam centres will function islandwide, which is a huge task. Especially for the school students programmes like Guru Gedara, E-Thaksalawa and online methods were conducted during the last few months,” he added.

The State Minister said that there was a positive turnout in both teachers and students compared to the previous times. “Eighty per cent of teacher turnout and 50 per cent of student turnout was observed on Monday. Even though online methods are conducted, it has been successful only in higher education. It is accepted worldwide that virtual classrooms are unproductive in Primary and secondary education. Therefore as a responsible government, we made this decision amidst all the obstacles,” he said.

He added that schools that lack facilities to adhere to health guidelines will be assisted by the Education Ministry.

The State Minister responding to a journalist said that first a healthy environment must be maintained to hold elections and the suitable legal background should be achieved prior to elections.

The State Minister commenting on the War Memorial in the University of Jaffna said that the Government has no involvement in removal of the War Memorial. The removal of the Memorial and rebuilding of the Memorial both were reached by the University Administration. Therefore, the Government has no connection with the incident,” he said. The State Minister said that the Government is trying various methods to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine and allegations made by the Opposition are meaningless. “The vaccine is used by developed countries but still we see that COVID-19 is not yet under control. Two doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be needed to keep the virus under control,” he added.