Safety standards for schools soon | Sunday Observer

Safety standards for schools soon

7 February, 2021
Dr. Senaratne
Dr. Senaratne

The Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI), the national standards body of the country will introduce safety standards to ensure the safety of children and boost the quality of education, said the Director General and CEO of the standards body,  Dr. Siddhika Senaratne in an exclusive interview with Sunday Observer Business last week.

SLSI plans to introduce the safety certifications to State-run schools in the Western Province first and to other Provinces later. “We want to start this at least from schools in the Western Province first as a pilot project and then introduce it to the schools throughout the country,” Dr. Senaratne said.

SLSI will be more stringent on adherence to quality and safety standards of all certified products and services which would help  boost productivity and maximise the use of resources of the country.

“We have already introduced new standards and are also working on others to boost the quality and productivity in the manufacturing and services sector which will help organisations to enhance efficiency and earnings and support the overall economy,” Dr.  Senaratne said.

She said many local industries have made requests to obtain the SLS Certification and added that SLSI is looking into the requests.

The national standards body has introduced standards for the josticks manufacturing sector and has received  requests for certification from local clay pottery manufacturers. Currently, the SLS certification is mandatory for 44 products. Cement, canned fish, steel and toothbrushes are some of the items included in the mandatory list.

The national standards body set up under the Bureau of Ceylon Standards Act of 1964 formulates standards and is not a regulatory body.

“The SLSI will launch an App to monitor and prevent the use of unauthentic and expired SLS  certifications,” Dr. Senaratne said, adding that the move will help educate people  and put a stop to substandard products flooding the market. On imported milk powder the Director General said all imported milk powder are tested before releasing them to the market and added that continuous surveillance is carried out to ensure that standards are met on all SLS certified products.

“Currently there is no system certification on digital platforms,” the SLSI DG said, adding that there should be proper standards for online and digital media. Dr. Senaratne who was also the recipient of the ‘Woman of the Year’ Award at the Women Top 50 Professional and Career Women Awards recently attributed the accolade for the collective effort and team spirit of the employees of the SLSI whose commitment paid dividends and brought pride to the organisation. The ‘Top50’ Professional and Career Women Awards are Women in Management (WIM)’s foremost annual event which recognises and celebrates individual and corporate achievements of trailblazing women leaders in Sri Lanka.  The award was made in recognition of the ‘Covid-19 Safety Certification formulated by SLSI.

“This is a rare feat achieved by a national body which is in the forefront to promote health safety standards and support the economy,” Dr. Senaratne said. Around 100 companies have obtained the Covid-19 safety certification and around 350 business organisations have applied for it.

“SLSI revenue rose by around Rs. 100 million going beyond the target in 2019,” the SLSI DG said adding that revenue this year too would surpass the envisaged target. Upbeat about the institute’s future and its potential backed by an expert at the helm the optimistic DG said while the organisation would help the country reach the summit of excellence in quality standards it would be a leading revenue earner to the state coffers.

The SLSI which functioned under the name of Bureau of Ceylon Standards until the Act was replaced by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution Act No. 6 of 1984. 

The Institution now functions under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research and  is governed by a Council appointed by the Minister in terms of the above Act. SLSI by virtue of being the National Standards Body in Sri Lanka is a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which is based in Geneva. As members of the ISO, National standards Bodies exchange on reciprocal basis copies of their National standards and is responsible for disseminating information on standards, technical regulations and standards related activities to the community at national level

Its mission is to undertake, promote and facilitate Standardisation, Measurement, Quality Assurance and related activities in all sectors of the national economy to increase productivity and maximise the use of resources, facilitate internal and external trade, achieve socio-economic development, enhance international competitiveness of products and services and safeguard the interest of consumers while improving the quality of life of employees of the institution.

The strategies of the body are to formulate national standards needed to develop the economy,  promote the use and application of national standards in all spheres of economic and social activity,  promote quality assurance in all sectors of the economy,  promote and disseminate valid measurement practices at national level, provide consumer education and consumer protection, educate and train industry and service personnel on concepts, practices and techniques of standardisation  and quality management, provide test facilities and develop the national test capability and  provide documentation and information services on standards, technical regulations  related publications.