Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The Appropriation Bill for 2012 presented to parliament last week has indicated a slashing of the budgetary allocations to the education sector, the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) said. IUSF Convener, Sanjeewa Bandara said that the current administration has continuously slashed allocations to the education sector, which has put the future of free education in the country at risk.
He said that while 3 percent of the 2011 budget was allocated to the education sector, it has been reduced to 2.6 percent in 2012. “While 2 percent was allocated to the Higher Education Ministry in 2011, it has been reduced to 1.9 per cent in 2012,” he added.
Bandara charged that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government has not worked for the upliftment of the country’s education sector, but has slashed the funds allocated for the education sector by 50 per cent between 2005 and 2010. “The Rajapaksa government holds the record for allocating the lowest percentage of the GDP to the education sector,” he said.
According to Bandara, the Mahapola scholarship offered to university students has not been revised for five years. “Given the increase in the cost of living, the Mahapola scholarship given to students should at least be a minimum of Rs. 4,000,” he explained.
However, Bandara said that the IUSF is to commence a series of agitation campaigns to get the monies allocated through the Mahapola scholarship increased.