Education Minister, Professor G.L. Peiris told Parliament yesterday that no country in the world had been able to achieve the optimum results through an online education system.
Responding to a question raised by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the Minister said that the government was carrying out a just and reasonable campaign to counter the ill-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Schools are shut down in many countries such as the UK, the US and France. The success or failure of a campaign should be measured only at the end of that campaign and not at its beginning. Only five months have passed since the appointment of the Cabinet of Ministers. The government has put in place a systematic campaign to counter the negative impact of the pandemic,” the minister said.
“Nowhere in the world has the online education system achieved all its desired results,” the Minister said.
Opposition Leader Premadasa said that there were 300,000 teachers who conduct private tuition classes and around 25,000 institutes conducting tuition classes in the country. They created around one million direct and indirect job opportunities. Owing to the pandemic most of them had lost their employment and action should be taken to permit them to reopen soon. “It is the children who have been mostly affected by the closure of the tuition classes. It is now proven that the online education system cannot achieve the expected results as many children do not have technical capabilities to participate in online classes. If this continues further there would be an imbalance in the job market,” the opposition leader said.
Prof Peiris said that the Ministry might consider allowing tuition classes to resume from Jan 25 according to health guidelines.
He said that his ministry had conducted discussions with health authorities to prepare a set of guidelines to be followed in tuition classes. Grade 11 classes are scheduled to resume in the Western Province on Jan 25. He said that tuition classes might be allowed to resume at the same time provided that there was an assurance that health guidelines would be followed when tuition classes resumed.
Professor Peiris said that he had discussions with the health authorities ten days ago and he was informed at the time not to resume tuition classes immediately.
The Minister said he was told to resume tuition classes after resuming school academic activities in stages.
As a result, the Minister said that tuition classes would be allowed to resume from Jan 25.