The Government plans to introduce an insurance scheme for all schooling children between the ages of 5 and 19. Each child is to be given an insurance policy of Rs 200,000 which would cover both in and outpatient services, subject to a maximum of Rs 100,000 for hospitalization and Rs 10,000 for outpatient services.
4.5 million Students would receive this insurance policy for which the Government has allocated Rs 2,700 million.
Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake, noted that although the 2017 allocations for the Education sector were less than that of the year 2016, the allotted monies were still 70 percent more than what was allocated in 2014.
"Due to the undisciplined fiscal management of the previous government, we allocated in 2016, almost three times that of the allocations made in 2014. However, the Ministry of Education has been able to utilize only around Rs 38,850 million at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2016. We took careful stock of the situation and therefore allocated almost Rs 90,000 million for 2017. While I admit that allocation for 2017 is less than that of 2016, it is nevertheless 70 per cent more than that of 2014. I will also be proposing the provision of an additional allocation of Rs 17,480 million to further strengthen the development in the education sector"
To strengthen the implementation of the 13 years of mandatory schooling policy, the Government has allocated a further Rs 5,000 million for infrastructure development, which includes the provision of laboratory equipment and furniture for schools.
A sum of Rs 2,000 million has been allotted to ensure that 1,000 schools in the country will be equipped with basic facilities such as Water, Electricity and Sanitation facilities. The government plans to provide free Tabs for almost 175,000 students who enter the Advanced Level (AL) classes and around 28,000 A/L teachers from 2017and has allocated Rs 5,000 million for this project. Minister Karunanayake invited telecom service providers to support this initiative by providing Wi-Fi connections.
Rs 5,000 million will also be allotted to strengthen IT facilities in 3,500 schools, by allowing them to rent a maximum of 50 computers each.
Concerning Higher Education, a 10-storey building is to be constructed at the Ruhuna University Medical Faculty at Karapitiya enabling the intake to the Ruhuna Medical faculty to increase from 160 to 300 students. Rs 500 million has been allocated for this purpose.
The government also intends to initiate a loan scheme upto a maximum of Rs 800,000 per student for the entire course of studies, for students who do receive admission to State universities. The loan, which will be provided as an interest free loan to 15,000 students based on their 'Z' score to follow courses in selected subjects to cater to the market demand in UGC approved non-State degree awarding entities. Rs 300 million has been allocated for this purpose.
The government also plans to provide 5 year multiple entry visas from 2017, to international students who wish to study in Sri Lanka. Such endeavours will also promote educational tourism.