Education Ministry Considers Regulating International Schools

by Hafsa Sabry

A group of students at an international school

The Ministry of Education is going to bring in an Act to regulate international schools in the country. The decision has been taken because the Ministry has received many complaints about many international schools that they do not provide education for their students properly. These international schools follow London syllabuses that do not consist of history and mother language, the complainants have pointed out.

Through the proposed new Act, teaching history and Sinhala language will be made compulsory to all island-wide international schools. Some of the International schools do not teach Sinhala and Buddhism even though the majority of their children are Sinhala Buddhists. Even the other subjects, they teach in the English medium.

The Ministry of Education is to draft new regulations to bring international schools under the purview of the Ministry, Secretary of the Education Ministry W. M. Bandusena said.

 

National standards

They will focus on regulating the educational system of international schools and will bring them under the national standards thereby ensuring that all students have access to compulsory subjects such as Buddhism, History etc., he added.

The Ministry had also received several verbal and written complaints against several international schools that they abused children. In some of the cases, teachers were accused of instigating verbal, emotional and physical abuse of children.

However, according to authorities of some international schools, their schools faced many problems such as delay in receiving text books on time. Therefore, they have requested the ministry to monitor them. The Ministry has decided to regulate the international schools as a result of those requests and complaints.

The Ministry, however, will not attempt to control the administration of international schools but regulate them enabling them to provide quality education for their students. The bill will be drafted after having several discussions with the representatives of international schools, professionals and scholars, assured the Ministry.

The international schools will also be issued a licence. To receive the licence, they have to meet certain conditions which also include having qualified teachers, quality educational system, and proper system of ventilation for classrooms, among others. The number of students in a class will also be monitored.

Furthermore, the Ministry will monitor whether the international schools provide facilities such as libraries, play grounds etc. to encourage children to take part in extra-curricular activities.

If any international school has not acquired these requirements, it will get an extra period of time to upgrade their services. Those who fail to acquire these requirements will not be given licences or extended ones they already have.

Even though, Former Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane promised to implement regulations, the draft in this regard still seems to be at the discussion level. Present Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said the bill will be drafted and submitted to parliament for approval within six months with the assistance of scholars and professionals.

Even though former minister Bandula Gunawardane placed measures to regulate international schools, he has stated several times that regulating international schools was not possible because they have been formed as BOI projects or as organizations but not as educational institutions.

 

Former Minister

The Director for Private Schools Association told The Sunday Leader that the Ministry is gathering necessary information from all international schools and they will complete it very soon.

He also said new mechanisms will be introduced to regulate the schools registered as the Board of Investment (BOI) projects or as organizations, enabling the Ministry to regulate all international schools in equal terms.

“I cannot give an idea of what kind of regulations will be implemented as the process is still at discussion level. But, I can assure that the programme will focus on facilitating the international schools because the Ministry is responsible in monitoring the education of those who study at these schools,” Bandusena said.

Some principals of international schools claimed that it is good for schools to follow rules and regulations that the Ministry is going to bring in to provide quality education for the children.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Leader contacted some of the international schools in Colombo to get their opinions on this issue,

Many of them said they welcome the decision of the Ministry that of regulating international schools, so they can take steps to provide proper education for children in future.

“We have been operating in Sri Lanka for over 30 years. We are adhering to the regulations of the Ministry. We teach religion, history, and the mother tongue as well. We have no objections to regulating our schools by the Ministry. In fact, it is a good plan,” said the principal of Wycherley International School, Kingsley Jayasinghe.

“We warmly welcome the idea but are highly doubt its implementation as the matter has been there for several years now without any progress,” he added.

 

2 Comments for “Education Ministry Considers Regulating International Schools”

  1. Janus

    Why should parents complain! They have chosen to send their children to these schools! They should choose some other school!! They have NO justification for complaint.

  2. This has gone too far.Look at the week end adds . One could see the commercialisation of education taken to absurd heights. I doubt any proper supervision has been done as to the quality with officials in the Ministry of Education been either entertained by these so called international schools(backyard) of receiving bribes. Even small houses have been used to stat schools with this international flavour.

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