Focus on Corruption

Focus on Corruption

The President and at least two top government officials referred to politicization and corruption in the state sector at recent seminars.

Politicization of education highlighted

On the eve of the launch of a report on corruption in education in Sri Lanka based on a study carried out by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed the need to depoliticize the education system and expressed his disappointment over the failure of the education authorities to face the challenges confronted by both teachers and students. He was addressing a gathering of English teachers at the launch of the programme to popularise Spoken English held at Temple Trees recently. Presidential Advisor and Convener of the Presidential Task Force on Education, Dr Sunimal Fernando exposed the weaknesses in the education sector in the country, particularly politicization in teacher appointments and transfers. “When the education department or the provincial education office appoints an English teacher to a rural school, the teacher gets a transfer to another school in the city with the backing of a politician depriving students in a rural school of an English education. Who is going o protect the poor official at the zonal education office if he refuses to give the posting approved by the politician,” he asked. He said this is why the so called national or popular schools always have an excessive number of English, Science and Maths teachers while there is a severe shortage of these teachers in less privileged state schools. He pointed out that as long as political interference exists, English education as well as science and maths in remote parts of the country will only be a dream.

(Extracted from the Daily Mirror – 23 June)

State intelligence agencies to fight corruption?

Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga has recommended the use of state intelligence services to deal with corrupt government institutions. Addressing a gathering at the SLFI recently, he expressed confidence that the intelligence services could play a pivotal role in combating waste, corruption and irregularities. He said that he wouldn’t mind having an intelligence services operative even at the Presidential Secretariat. Recalling the use of the then National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) by the J. R Jayewardene administration to monitor state institutions, he said that he recommended a similar set-up as part of the government’s strategy to tackle corruption.

Parliamentary watchdog committees COPE and PAC as well as the Auditor General have revealed waste, corruption and irregularities at state institutions and Parliament but the government hasn’t taken action against the culprits.

(Extracted from the Island – 29 June)

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