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Sunday, 9 February 2003  
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No schools for war heroes, children

by Anjana Gamage

A large number of children of national war heroes eligible for year one school admission this year are forced to idle at home because of political interference and the indifference of the Educational Ministry officials in the Western Province.

Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs and Human Resources Development pointed out that more than 250 children of national war heroes had been deprived of year one school admission.

According to highly placed ministry sources, the applications of these students had been rejected by many principals of Western Province schools, in order to satisfy requests from Influential Ministers.

According to Education Ministry procedure, a year one class has facilities for 40 admissions, of which five are reserved for children of parents employed in the Security Forces - Army, Navy and Air Force. The eligibility list is prepared by the respective welfare societies and submitted to the National School Unit, then to the Provincial Council and finally to popular schools.

"But this list has been rejected by many school principals in the Western Province in order to satisfy the in take of requests from ministers sources pointed out.

A case in point, is the experience of a disabled army officer with 20 years experience who lost both his hands and legs in the duty, whose son was granted admission to year one only after for intervention of the minister of education. The soldier appealed to the Zonal Education Director and to the Provincial Education Director, when his application for admission to school in Godagama was rejected. On appeal the matter was referred back to the Provincial Councils, compelling the minister to intervene and get the child admitted to a school in Pannipitiya.

According to Education Ministry sources, this is not a isolated incident and there had been many such cases reported from schools in the Western Province.

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