World Bank suspends Rs.3,000 mn loan for education sector!

The World Bank has suspended a loan of Rs.3,000 million which was to be utilized to increase the university facilities including the recruitment of lecturers.

It was reported that the University Grants Commission (UGC) took steps to admit an additional 10,000 students to universities per year with the anticipation of receiving this loan.

Accordingly, 20,000 students have already been enrolled in universities, but the UGC has not been able to provide any financial provision for these students due to non-availability of funds.

Meanwhile, the administrative divisions are going through a severe crisis due to lack of facilities including the issues in recruiting new lecturers to cater to the increased number of students admitted.

Another 10,000 extra students who have qualified for university entrance are scheduled to be admitted this year and accordingly the number of students admitted will increase to 30,000.

University authorities revealed that there is no possibility to provide either cafeteria or hostel facilities for these students.

UGC Chairman Professor Sampath Amaratunga has told the media that suspending funds for the education sector is a grave injustice.

Therefore, he said that it was not possible to provide any additional facilities to the students and as a result, the students would take it to the streets demanding facilities. Prof. Amaratunga said the World Bank agreed to provide the loan after holding many rounds of negotiations.

However, it is said that the World Bank has suspended the loan only until the debt restructuring of Sri Lanka is completed.

The debt restructuring process was initiated after Sri Lanka declared that it was unable to settle foreign debts.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa requested in Parliament that the amount of Rs. 4,000 million allocated to renovate the houses of MPs should be used for the nutrition of school children.

He said this by citing reports that students in Sri Lanka are suffering from malnutrition.

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