November 21, 2018

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    Proposals to transform lives of children, and drive Sri Lanka’s economic growth

    July 17, 2018

    Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera yesterday, reiterated that the government is committed to create an economy where citizens are able to take their economic destiny into their own hands without relying on state benefits or handouts from cradle to the grave.

    “The government is committed to increasing and enhancing education policy and the commitment is reflected in two main initiatives; the 13 years of education program and the budget proposals for a public private partnership model for child care facilities,” the Minister noted.

    The Minister made these views at the Sri Lanka Early Childhood Development (ECD) High Level Meeting under the theme, ‘Building Brains, Building Futures’ in Colombo yesterday. Speaking further he said, “The 13 years of education program aims at adopting proper school curriculum system to enhance the different types of skills children have and also to adequately respond to the needs of the labor market.”

    Accordingly he said, it is important to modify the school curriculum to enhance technical skills of children as well as to better exploit their full potential. “In that sense, ECD is a perfect complement to really achieve the proposed goals in the education front.”

    As Sri Lanka positions itself as a highly competitive knowledge based economy, robust development in early childhood stage becomes essential. By preparing children from young age, ECD enhances school readiness, increase children’s retention rates and help them achieve better results.

    He said child care facilities will be the first step in promoting the quality services for the early childhood stage and the initiative also has a gender empowerment component as the government intends to fully facilitate women to re-join the labor force sooner post childbirth. “This is particularly important for Sri Lanka where female labour force participation is only 34%.”

    Several decades of extensive state investment in education has yielded successful results in terms of successful education and increased university literacy, the Minister said adding that there is much more that need to be done to keep up with global education standards.

    The Minister also reiterated the government’s commitment to invest in education sector with renewed focus on early childhood development. The government has also increased the money invested in education as a percentage of GDP from 1.46% in 2015 to nearly 3.5% in 2017 and the objectives is to raise this to 6% by 2025, the Minister noted.In line with the event, ECD centric budget proposals were presented to Minister Samaraweera, for his consideration in the 2019 National Budget.

    The budget proposals, focused on Health and Nutrition, Protection and Early Childhood Education were presented by the Ministries of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Women and Child Affairs and Education, to the Minister.The Minister also assured that many of the proposals submitted to him will be considered carefully and included in this year’s budget and also noted that the government will commit necessary resources to support such programs

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