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Ceylon Teachers Union CTU) said, last week's saga when a Deputy Minister attempted to hang himself at the Meegahathenne Primary School, protesting against 10 children not being granted admission to Grade 1, necessitates the importance of having a strict policy for Grade 1 Admissions.

CTU General Secretary, Joseph Stalin said politicians are misusing the Education system, as there is no clear policy regarding Grade 1 admissions.

He said loopholes within the system encourages politicians to misuse the system and admit children of their choice. Mr Stalin said that, although the Government, in its 100-Day programme had promised to bring in a policy on Grade 1 admission, had not acted on it.

Last week Deputy Minister Palitha Thewaraperuma and 9 mothers who protested with him in front of the school, were arrested by the Matugama police for unlawful assembly and forcibly enrolling students to Grade 1 of the Meegahathenne Primary School. Earlier, Deputy Minister of Culture, Palitha Thewaraperuma attempted to hang himself from a fan in a classroom of the school.

He had tried to enroll 10 children into the primary school using the quota allocated to Triforces Officers' children. Mr Stalin said that, generally, a quota of 5 children is allowed in each Grade 1 class for Triforces Officers' children, with each school having around 35 vacancies. However, it transpired that, very often, these are not used by them and the vacancies go a begging. He said that, politicians aware of these vacancies, cash in by promising these slots to parents hunting for placements in reputed National schools in those areas.

Even places reserved for doctors' and government officials' children are being misused in like manner.

“There are 350 National schools of which 36 are considered popular, and everybody wants to admit their children into the popular schools, which is creating problems,” he said.

Mr Stalin said that, to put an end to this problem, it is important the Government formulates a policy immediately. “This will put an end to politicians interfering in school admissions,” he said.

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