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‘Suraksha’ scheme, a milestone in the education sector: PM

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday handed over token certificates of the Suraksha Health Insurance Scheme to students at the official launch of the scheme held at Temple Trees. Picture by Sudath Silva

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called the launch of the health insurance scheme for students, the third most significant programme in the education system of the country since the introduction of the free education system by former Education Minister C.W.W. Kannangara in 1942.

Addressing the launch of the student health insurance scheme ‘Suraksha’ at Temple Trees yesterday he explained that Kannangara’s initiative removed the major economic hurdle to education and in 1980, President J R Jayewardena, through the introduction of free text books, further improved on it. In 2017, under President Maithripala Sirisena’s government, a child can have access to a healthy and secure education.

“Thus, after the introduction of free education, 75 years later, the government headed by President Sirisena has introduced the 3rd major step”, said the Prime Minister.

The government will invest Rs 2700 million in the program, according to the Prime Minister. Sri Lanka has become one of the few countries in the world which sticks to the UN charter on access to education for all, he added. Children are the future of the nation and if there are any economic hurdles to education, we need to remove it, said Wickremesinghe. The Prime Minister further explained that as the government has managed to stabilize the economy, more programmes to secure free education would be rolled out. Other such programmes include; the ‘closest school is the best school’ initiative, the increase of teacher’s salaries by Rs 10,000, the construction of 200,000 government houses and the creation of 400,000 jobs, according to the PM.

“The insurance scheme alone will not ensure that all problems in the education system would be solved. We also want to ensure compulsory 13 years of education and from 2018 onwards we will provide students with tabs. In addition, we have also designed a special training programmes for English teachers”, said Wickremesinghe.

“The President, Minister of Education and I are products of the free education system and so we know the value of it and the responsibility of protecting it', added the PM.