News ‘N’ Views
150 schools to receive boost in status
Schools numbering over 150 will be elevated to fully-fledged
educational institutions under the government’s ‘Isuru Pasal’ concept,
Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said.
Addressing the launch of the Education for Knowledge Society Project
at the Education Ministry, the Minister said the ‘Isuru Pasal’ project
is aimed at improving the quality, relevance and effectiveness of
secondary and tertiary education.
Funds worth Rs 11,550 million will be provided by the Asian
Development Bank towards this project. It will be carried out under four
sections - Increased Equity of Access to Education, Quality and
Relevance of Education Enhanced, Improved Policy, Governance and Service
Delivery and HIV/AIDS and Health Education.
Apart from this project, 2,500 other schools will also be equipped
with computer labs while 30,000 students will be granted scholarships
under the ‘Sisu Diriya’ programme. The Peradeniya Teaching College will
be converted to a Centre for Excellence in English Education with the
intention of training 2,000 English teachers per year.
Such projects would be instrumental in preparing students to face the
realities of the social, cultural, economic and political life in the
21st century, the Minister said.
Meritorious activities for Vesak
The Kalana Mithuru Children’s Club of Siddhamulla has organised many
meritorious activities in connection with the Vesak Poya in May.
Some of the cattle which were released last year.
The activities they have lined up are releasing three bulls which are
destined to the slaughter house, donating clothes and dry food items to
75 retired elders, donating school equipment and uniform material to
Dambulla Junior School, distributing 50 Buddha statues and donating
funds worth Rs 25,000 to the library of the Nagalaweva Buddhist Vihara.
The donation of a children’s park for Dambulla Junior School, created
with the private funds of Wasantha Wickramaarachchi, would also be
carried out at this event.
The children’s club has been conducting meritorious acts of this
nature for Vesak since 2001. Some of the activities were releasing bulls
destined for the slaughter house; making donations to temples, libraries
and schools lacking facilities, and to students from deprived families;
donating equipment to the Maharagama Cancer Hospital; donating a
wheelchair to a disabled girl and funding the construction of a toilet.
These activities have been initiated by Ms. Manel Abeysinghe, retired
teacher of Royal College, Colombo.
Tallest Buddha statue in Kushinagar
Decks are being cleared for the installation of the world’s tallest
Buddha statue in the Kushinagar town of eastern Uttar Pradesh, India.
Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister Mayawati was understood to have
directed officials to speed up the acquisition and transfer of 600 acres
of land required for the Rs 10 billion project to be funded and
undertaken by the global Maitryi Group.
The provision of land is the UP Government’s share in the project.
The project involves the installation of a 152-metre-tall bronze statue
of the Buddha along with a giant meditation centre, an international
university, a state-of-the-art world-class hospital and a museum.
The project also envisages an entertainment complex in the
neighbourhood that would include an amusement park and a five-star
hotel. The whole project would not involve any major displacement of
people and not more than 70-80 farmers would be involved. A
rehabilitation package has been arranged for the farmers who would get
displaced on account of the project, a representative told IANS.
New beginning for Pinnawala Zoo
Elephants at Pinnawala
Those of you who follow news on the media on a regular basis would
have heard about the plans to construct a zoological garden at Pinnawala.
The foundation stone for the construction of this open zoo was laid
eight years ago, on May 10, 2000 by the then Minister of Tourism and
Mass Media, Dharmasiri Senanayaka.
However, due to various reasons, construction work was abandoned and
the project remained on the shelf for many years. Now, it would gladden
your hearts to hear that it is to re-commence in May.
A land, which is 43 acres in extent, belonging to the Sabaragamuwa PC
(Wagolla Farm), as well as some private properties have been acquired
for the construction of the zoo. The State Engineering Corporation is
expected to begin the construction work for which about Rs 100 million
has been allocated by the government.
The construction work of the project will be carried out in three
stages - the first step will see the introduction of native animals and
plants, while during the second and third stages, tropical plants and
animals imported from other countries will be introduced.
It is believed that the Pinnawala Zoo would be opened to the public
by the end of this year. It will be connected with the Pinnawala
elephant orphanage by a new route.
This project will create about 3,000 job opportunities directly and
indirectly for unemployed youth in the Kegalle district.
Asia’s largest tulip garden
Asia’s largest tulip garden was opened recently in India’s Himalayan
foothills, in the Kashmir summer capital of Srinagar by Congress Party
Chief Sonia Gandhi.
The garden was named after her mother-in-law, former Indian Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi who was killed by militants in 1984.
Over 1.2 million tulip bulbs have been planted in this garden, which
is part of the government’s efforts to woo back tourists to the region
which was one of Asia’s top tourist attractions before trouble broke