PM says children must value nature

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Jun 19 2021

Children must appreciate nature and enjoy their surroundings rather than get pressured due to competitive education, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Thursday (17) during the ‘Guru Abhimani’ national ceremony to provide a monthly allowance of Rs 2,500 to preschool teachers. Minister of Education, Prof. G.L. Peiris, presented the National Policy on Early Childhood Education to Prime Minister Rajapaksa. 

“It is with great pleasure that I join in the appreciation of preschool teachers who are laying the foundation for the future of the children of our country,” Premier Rajapaksa said, while he and his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa presented gifts to preschool teachers symbolising the ‘Guru Abhimani’ National Programme. 

In addition to the ceremony, the PM inaugurated a grant of Rs 2.5 million for the construction of Saubhagya preschools in every Grama Niladhari Division of the country and a grant of Rs 600,000 for the development of infrastructure facilities for 1,500 preschools. “Our Government has incorporated the mechanism of running preschools to international standards and State Minister Piyal Nishantha, has informed the Government that a National Policy on Early Childhood has been drafted,” Rajapaksa added. 

He went on to say that during COVID-19, preschool teachers have suffered major economic setbacks and pulled through with little money given to them by their students’ parents. “We acknowledge that this allowance is not enough to live on. Remember that this is just the beginning of setting up a permanent monthly salary for a preschool teacher after formal training. 

I hope that necessary steps will be taken to provide this allowance to those who qualify,” Rajapaksa said. In addition to the mentioned programmes, Rajapaksa said in view of COVID-19 conditions, a plan has been drawn up by television channels to broadcast educational programmes for children. “Recently, we discussed the possibility of reopening schools with the Minister of Education and the Education Secretary. The Government is focused on reopening schools step-by-step as soon as the Ministry of Health makes the necessary recommendations,” Rajapaksa added. (ST)

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Jun 19 2021

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