Sri Lanka’s major students’ union, Inter University Students’ Federation IUSF “Anthare” says the government is planning to pass the Kotelawala Private University Act, which was defeated in 2018, in another round. IUSF further says that Cabinet approval was obtained for the bill on March 26 and the Kotelawala Bill is scheduled to be discussed in the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Defense tomorrow June 22. On June 21 , IUSF launched a protest near Colombo Fort Railway Station demanding government to withdraw the proposed Kotelawala Private University Act. A tense situation arose during the protest among police and students. “The government has launched an attack on a peaceful protest organized by the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) today against the Kotelawala Act, which is destroying free education to be passed under the guise of an epidemic. The protest continued to be disrupted and assaults, reprimands and threats were made. It is the policy of the government to launch repression instead of responding to the call for rights and all forces must line up against it” says Inter University Student Federation. Inter University Student Federation is planning to launch several protests coming days against the Kotelawala Private University Act.
University lecturers union, the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) is not happy over the proposed bill and says that universities and higher education will be militarized through the Bill. The KNDU Bill was presented to Parliament in March 2021. Meanwhile National People’s Power (NPP) Parliamentarian Dr. Harini Amarasuriya recently said the proposed Bill will pave the way for militarisation and privatisation of Higher Education in the country. The Parliamentarian said that the proposed Bill will also reduce the standards of the country’s Higher Education Sector.
Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, according to WHO’s latest estimates, published today in “Suicide worldwide in 2019”. Every year, more people die as a result of suicide than HIV, malaria or breast cancer ̶ or war and homicide. In 2019, more than 700 000 people died by suicide: one in every 100 deaths, prompting WHO to produce new guidance to help countries improve suicide prevention and care.
“We cannot – and must not – ignore suicide,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Each one is a tragedy. Our attention to suicide prevention is even more important now, after many months living with the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of the risk factors for suicide ̶ job loss, financial stress and social isolation – still very much present. The new guidance that WHO is releasing today provides a clear path for stepping up suicide prevention efforts.”
Average of 08 persons die by suicide every day in Sri Lanka. If you or someone you love considering Suicide, Please Call below Suicides Prevention numbers.
Sri Lanka had a suicide rate of 6.9/100,000 in 1950 which dramatically increased to 47/100,000 by 1995 to clock the highest in the world. But suicide prevention strategies implemented on recommendations by the Presidential Task Force of 1997 succeeded in bringing the rate down to 24/100,000 in 2004, 18/100,000 in 2014, and 16/100,000 in 2019. These included decriminalising the act of suicide (1998), a Life Skills Programme introduced by the Ministry of Education (1998), and banning the use of extremely toxic pesticides.
World Suicide Prevention Day falls September 10. September 10 World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year since 2003, to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides.
To support countries in their efforts, WHO is today releasing comprehensive guidance for implementing its LIVE LIFE approach to suicide prevention. The four strategies of this approach are:
limiting access to the means of suicide, such as highly hazardous pesticides and firearms;
educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide;
fostering socio-emotional life skills in adolescents; and
early identification, assessment, management and follow-up of anyone affected by suicidal thoughts and behaviour.
Banning of the most dangerous pesticides: a high-impact intervention
Given that pesticide poisoning is estimated to cause 20% of all suicides, and national bans of acutely toxic, highly hazardous pesticides have shown to be cost-effective, such bans are recommended by WHO. Other measures include restricting access to firearms, reducing the size of medication packages, and installing barriers at jump sites.
Responsible reporting by the media
The guide highlights the role the media plays in relation to suicide. Media reports of suicide can lead to a rise in suicide due to imitation (or copycat suicides) – especially if the report is about a celebrity or describes the method of suicide.
The new guide advises monitoring of the reporting of suicide and suggests that media counteract reports of suicide with stories of successful recovery from mental health challenges or suicidal thoughts. It also recommends working with social media companies to increase their awareness and improve their protocols for identifying and removing harmful content.
Support for adolescents
Adolescence (10-19 years of age) is a critical period for acquiring socio-emotional skills, particularly since half of mental health conditions appear before 14 years of age. The LIVE LIFE guidance encourages actions including mental health promotion and anti-bullying programmes, links to support services and clear protocols for people working in schools and universities when suicide risk is identified.
Early identification and follow-up of people at risk
Early identification, assessment, management and follow-up applies to people who have attempted suicide or are perceived to be at risk. A previous suicide attempt is one of the most important risk factors for a future suicide.
Health-care workers should be trained in early identification, assessment, management and follow-up. Survivors’ groups of people bereaved by suicide can complement support provided by health services. Crisis services should also be available to provide immediate support to individuals in acute distress.
The new guidance, which includes examples of suicide prevention interventions that have been implemented across the world, in countries such as Australia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Iraq, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and the USA, can be used by anyone who is in interested in implementing suicide prevention activities, whether at national or local level, and in the governmental and nongovernmental sectors alike.
“While a comprehensive national suicide prevention strategy should be the ultimate goal for all governments,” said Dr Alexandra Fleischmann, suicide prevention expert at the World Health Organization, “starting suicide prevention with LIVE LIFE interventions can save lives and prevent the heartbreak that follows for those left behind.”
Suicide, A major public health problem in Sri Lanka which demands our attention, but its prevention and control, unfortunately, are not an easy task. According to WHO, close to 800 000 people die globally by suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Furthermore, for each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts.
Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives.
How do I know that someone may be suicidal?
Being aware of warning signs can be potentially life-saving. Verbal markers are one way of identifying signs of suicidal ideation. They may sound something similar to the following:
“I feel like you and everyone would be so much better off without me.” “I wish I was never born” “I feel like I have no purpose” “I feel numb” Verbal markers can be either active (“I want to kill myself”) or passive (“I wouldn’t mind if I got hit by a bus…”) and it is important to look out for both types. Passive statements should be taken equally seriously.
How can someone’s behaviour indicate that they may be suicidal?
Sudden isolation from others Researching methods to end one’s life on the internet Increased agitation and mood swings Reckless behaviour Giving away what they own and writing last wills Calling loved one’s/friends to say ‘good-bye’ Difficulties with sleep and appetite Talking and writing about suicide Loss of interest in daily and pleasurable activities Loss of energy Sudden positive mood after a period of being low Purchase of materials intended for an suicide attempt Additionally, if you or a loved one begins to feel irritable, hopeless, angry and anxious in addition to losing interest in activities that previously brought joy, these may also be other signs to be mindful of.
What can I do to help?
Take all talk of suicide seriously.
Engage the person in a serious conversation – i. Connect in a personal way ii. Ask if they are experiencing a crisis in their lives iii. Are they feeling hopeless? iv. Have they withdrawn from daily activities?
i.e. Hey, I’ve noticed in the past few days that you seem rather low. I am concerned, and I am wondering if everything is okay…”
Ask about suicide using a caring approach i.e. “I can see that you are going through a difficult time right now. Some people in your situation might feel like life is not worth living anymore. Have you felt this way?”
“Are you having thoughts about suicide?”
“Do you have thoughts about ending your life?”
Explore risk by asking if they have a plan to attempt suicide and whether they have attempted suicide in the past.
Engage the person in a plan for safety i. Do not leave the person alone
ii. Provide accessible contact information of crisis services
iii. Try to ensure that they do not use drugs or alcohol
iv. Be prepared to listen non-judgmentally
v. Do not promise confidentiality
Encourage the person to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Via WHO / Pulse. lk
For more information on mental health, see BetterHelp.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Education Sri Lanka, Prof. Kapila Perera says that attention has been focused on implementing a program to provide education to any child who wishes to study in English medium from the primary section to the GCE Advanced Level.
Prof. Kapila Perera said after obtaining the recommendations of the Committee of Experts currently appointed by the Ministry of Education regarding the provision of English medium education in schools island wide, steps will be taken to start such schools at the provincial level as a pilot project. Based on the success of the pilot schools, the facility will be provided to all students island wide.
The Secretary further said that steps have been taken to develop the Gangodawila Wijayarama Vidyalaya, Nugegoda, especially for the implementation of this program as a pilot project in the first place.
He further said that the Sri Lankan economy has also been affected by the Covid 19 epidemic which is currently spreading rapidly around the world.
Accordingly, there is a constant demand from parents who send their children to international schools that they be given the opportunity to be admitted to the public school system as it is difficult to pay their monthly school fees due to economic problems.
“The problem here is that these children study in English medium from primary to advanced level. But there are very few English medium schools in government school system. Even those teach only ‘core’ subjects. Therefore, we believe that a permanent solution should be found to this,” the Secretary said.
“Accordingly, a committee of education experts has been appointed to make recommendations regarding the solution to this problem. Accordingly, attention has been paid to the possibility of starting such a school as a pilot project in Colombo as well as in every province. If the project is successful, it will be possible to provide such English medium schools to all parts of the island.”
The project to provide English medium education will be implemented in line with the 1,000 National Schools Program and the Trilingual Schools Program.
Furthermore, the Education Ministry plans to increase the number of students studying for Advanced Level in Science from 35% to 60% and as per the present Government Education Policy, the number of A / L students in the arts stream is expected to be reduced to 25%.
Also the project to merge Wijayarama School, Nugegoda with Devi Balika Vidyalaya will be cancelled, and instead Wijayarama Vidyalaya, Nugegoda will be converted into an English medium school, the Education Secretary disclosed.
Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Youth and Sports, State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development has instructed to accelerate the project to provide education opportunities free of charge through e-Thaksalawa to all children in the country, who are engaged in studies through the online methodology due to the Covid pandemic, without internet service charges.
The Minister emphasized this at a discussion held at Temple Trees yesterday (11) to introduce a more suitable methodology to minimize the existing difficulties in the e-Thaksalawa methodology.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa instructed to take necessary steps to start online classes through e-Thaksalawa free of charge for students in 200 schools in the first phase by July 21, 2021.
The meeting, chaired by Minister Namal Rajapaksa, focused on the data delivery service charges as well as avoidance of other difficulties in educating children through online methods using various applications.
It was decided at this meeting that the e-Thaksalawa, which has already been formally established by the government, could be used as a solution to the relevant problems.
Accordingly, Minister Namal Rajapaksa instructed the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), which has established this system, to sufficiently expand technological infrastructure within the state cloud and provide access to a larger number of students at once.
There was also a discussion on maintaining a television channel and a radio service dedicated to education. It was revealed that the State Ministry of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Education Promotion has already obtained frequencies for such television and radio services.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa called on the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, the Independent Television Network and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to use the existing infrastructure to implement the relevant services.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa drew the attention of the officials to the need of short-term solutions for children who are helpless in the face of Internet coverage, economic hardship and lack of tools in accessing online education in addition to long-term measures, including the construction of new communication towers.
Accordingly, Minister Namal Rajapaksa requested that a program be prepared to provide a suitable mobile phone device for the education of children engaged in online learning activities in the midst of economic difficulties.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa instructed officials to considering the current issues regarding internet coverage convert centers such as community halls, Nenasala Temples and computer resources centers identified for teaching by e-Thaksalawa to “e-Thaksalawa Learning Centers” providing learning opportunities for small groups of students.
He said that measures should be taken on the recommendation of the Secretary to the Ministry of Education to identify the centers required to provide learning opportunities and to provide computer equipment for the relevant activities.
Minister of Education Prof. GL Peiris, Susil Premajayantha, State Minister of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Education Promotion, Piyal Nishantha de Silva – State Minister of Women and Child Development, Pre-School and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and Education Services Secretaries of the relevant Ministries, the Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka and the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka and relevant officials participated in the discussion.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the education authorities to seek the assistance of pediatricians to diagnose diseases and problems of children when re-opening the schools that have been closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
He was addressing a discussion at Temple Trees on Friday (11) on the reopening of schools and the provision of Covid vaccine to teachers and students.
The Prime Minister pointed out the importance of reopening schools in several stages as soon as the Covid epidemic was brought under control. He pointed out that teachers can get the required vaccination through the Ministry of Health.
Representatives of the Association of Pediatric Specialists who participated in the discussion told the Prime Minister that their association could extend its support at the education zonal level to avoid problems arising during the reopening of schools.
Accordingly, the representatives of the association pointed out that they will formalize the relevant activities by nominating representatives for the 99 education zones in the island.
Prof. Kapila Perera, Secretary to the Ministry of Education pointed out that if a vaccination program is implemented in connection with the resumption of schools, priority should be given to Grade 11 and Grade 13 students.
Prof. Kapila Perera also pointed out the importance of vaccinating nearly 300,000 people, including 270,000 teachers and non-academic staff, to make this task a success.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the government will always work to protect the future generations of the country as well as the teachers who guide them.
The Prime Minister said that a program should be formulated to bring back children and teachers to school in a safe manner at the commencement of schools. He called for special attention to be paid to the hygienic procedures to be followed in the transportation of school children.
Prof. GL Peiris, Minister of Education, Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Prof. Kapila Perera, Secretary to the Ministry of Education, LMD Dharmasena, Additional Secretary, School Affairs, Kamani Gunaratne, Director, School Health and Nutrition, and a group of doctors from the Association of Pediatricians were also present.
The year 2020 saw close to 1.6 billion students from over 180 countries being kept out of schools for extended periods of time, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the commendable efforts by many countries to put in place alternative remote learning strategies and corrective measures, learning losses have been unavoidable and substantial.
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics estimates that by early November 2020, the world student population had lost between 41 percent and 68 percent of in-person schooling they would have received under usual circumstances. In this second year of the pandemic, many countries are moving from emergency responses towards policies aimed for recovery. Along with reopening schools and resuming education, these also include tailored support to help students adjust to learning in the new normal and remedial measures to make up for lost learning.
Sri Lankan schools have been largely dysfunctional for over 15 months since the initial closures in March 2020, despite some brief periods of operation.
This article examines the policy responses adopted in Sri Lanka’s education sector over the past year, with a view of informing its future education recovery strategy in 2021 and beyond.
School closures in perspective As of March 2021, Sri Lankan schools are estimated to have been fully closed for 28 weeks and partially closed for 15 weeks. As shown in Figure 1, these numbers– especially of full closures – and as a result, the share of total school days missed, are significantly higher compared to all country income group averages. These figures are likely to considerably increase further, given the current indefinite closures following the third wave of the pandemic.
Immediate response: Distance education The government’s response to current school closures is to encourage schools to continue and further expand online programmes, which have been in operation since last year. However, as cautioned in a previous Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) article, online learning platforms in Sri Lanka suffer from issues of access and quality, also confirmed by estimates of a recent survey conducted among public school teachers and parents across the country.
As Figure 2 shows, less than 50 percent of students were reached online on average; further, it ranged from a low of 8 percent in the smallest schools – which are typically the least privileged – to 59 percent in the largest. The survey also indicates that education via TV proved to be a better way of reaching students in smaller schools. However, several pedagogical and logistical challenges have hindered effectiveness. These include lack of links between televised programmes and teachers’ lesson plans, a passive teaching style and absence of interaction with students, confusion of timing and duration of different subjects and TV channels and poor communication of programme information to schools, students and parents.
Long-term response: Recovery strategies The government’s strategy for recovering learning losses in the longer term also remains unspecified. Interviews conducted with education sector stakeholders revealed that some privileged schools have initiated remedial measures at school level, leveraging available resources and support from community networks.
These include: (1) assessing student learning via Google Form assessments and telephone follow-ups, (2) monitoring student progress on attendance, work submitted and marks obtained for assessments and (3) reducing curricula content to help students and teachers cope better. Apart from lower access to resources, centralised decision-making has made it difficult to implement similar school-level measures in less-privileged schools.
Areas for urgent action The above discussion suggests that both emergency and recovery measures adopted in Sri Lanka during COVID-19 school closures have worsened the existing education inequities. To alleviate the current education crisis and commit to leaving no one behind, urgent action is needed in the following areas:
Reopen schools in low-risk areas It is useful to consider opening schools in remote COVID-19 low-risk areas where distance learning is neither accessible nor effective, which usually have smaller student populations, allowing for better adherence to health guidelines such as physical distancing.
This can be done by allowing schools to make decisions in discussion with relevant school committees and regional education authorities, as opposed to blanket decisions made at the central level for all schools. Such plans should also involve strategies for more permanent ways of keeping schools open, supported by regular cost-effective testing of both teachers and students and vaccinating teachers as a priority group.
Continue hybrid learning when schools reopen The periodic interruptions to school reopening attempts underscore the need for a well-developed hybrid system for education delivery – consisting of a mix of in-person and remote options – so that teachers and students can shift smoothly to distance learning during an emergency. Even when schools are open, safety measures would not permit all students to attend school daily in highly-populated schools, necessitating blended learning to ensure uninterrupted learning.
Recent research based on different country experiences shows that effective hybrid learning can be offered in any setting, by identifying the best combination of education modalities, learning material and methods of communication, in line with available resources, skills and technology.
Improve pedagogy for distance learning Distance education is here to stay in some form or the other, at least in the foreseeable future. Ensuring effective remote pedagogy is particularly challenging for TV broadcasts as opposed to online teaching, where programme design has to ensure continuity in the face of the central teacher. Given that TV is the most feasible way of reaching less-privileged students in Sri Lanka, is it crucial to address the existing pedagogical and logistical issues.
Reviewing measures taken in countries such as Pakistan and Vietnam to overcome similar challenges can be useful in this regard. These include: Leveraging school teachers, subject experts and timetabling specialists to develop TV lessons aligned to the national curricula Organising mass communication campaigns such as teaser videos and social media and newspaper advertising, leveraging public figures like politicians Maintaining communication between schools and parents by telephone, online teacher-parent meetings and home visits for updates of learning progress.
(This article is based on the comprehensive chapter on education in the IPS’ forthcoming ‘Sri-Lanka: State of the Economy 2021’ report) (Ashani Abayasekara is a Research Economist at the IPS with research interests in labour economics, economics of education, development economics and microeconometrics. She holds a BA in Economics with First Class Honours from the University of Peradeniya and a Master’s in International and Development Economics from the Australian National University. Thisali de Silva is a Research Assistant at the IPS. She holds a BA in Economics with First Class Honours from the University of Colombo. She is the first recipient of the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant, awarded by the IPS, for her research on three-wheeler drivers in Sri Lanka. Thisali holds a Diploma in Applied Statistics from the Institute of Applied statistics, Sri Lanka (IASSL) and a Certificate in Business Accounting-CIMA)
The United States continues to stand with the people of Sri Lanka in the battle against the COVID-19 surge. U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Martin Kelly and Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr. S.H. Munasinghe commemorated the donation of critically needed emergency supplies, including pulse oximeters, protective goggles, examination gloves, and KN95 masks – all of it donated by the American people at the request of the government of Sri Lanka. The donation arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport on Saturday.
“The United States and Sri Lanka have worked closely together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic since its outset,” said U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Martin Kelly. “We recognize the serious personal toll of the pandemic. At the Government’s request, we’re providing these urgently needed supplies to the Ministry of Health to ensure they reach those in need as fast as possible.”
The shipment of these emergency relief supplies follows the White House announcement last Thursday that the United States will make available nearly 7 million vaccine doses for countries in South and Southeast Asia, including Sri Lanka. Since March 2020, the United States has provided $6 million, plus an in-kind donation of 200 ventilators, to control the spread of COVID-19, address the urgent health needs of the Sri Lankan people, and ultimately save lives. This assistance has reached millions of people in all 25 districts and nine provinces of Sri Lanka to mobilize critical supplies and expertise to support the Sri Lankan Government’s response to the pandemic. This funding is also helping to mitigate the pandemic’s negative economic impacts and help the country recover.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested over $26 million in the past 20 years to improve the health and well-being of Sri Lankan families and to combat diseases like malaria, avian influenza, and now, COVID-19. This is one component of the longstanding partnership between the American and Sri Lankan people to support self-reliance and promote economic growth. USAID’s program in Sri Lanka, totaling more than 350 billion LKR ($2 billion) since 1961, promotes a healthy, educated, and employed population. To find out more about USAID’s work, please see usaid.gov/sri-lanka.
Emergency COVID-19 Assistance for Sri Lanka
The United States has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Sri Lanka for more than 70 years. In recognition of its strong and long-standing partnership with Sri Lanka, the United States is delivering emergency supplies to provide urgent relief as Sri Lanka faces an increase in COVID-19 cases. This includes vital personal protective equipment and other critical supplies to support frontline health care workers and people most affected by the current outbreak. The shipment of these emergency relief supplies follows the White House announcement last Thursday that the United States will make available nearly 7 million vaccine doses for countries in South and Southeast Asia, including Sri Lanka.
Immediate U.S. Emergency COVID-19 Assistance At the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, the United States is providing these urgently needed supplies to the Ministry of Health to ensure they reach those in need as fast as possible. They include:
Personal Protective Equipment: 240,000 KN95 masks to protect both patients and Sri Lankan health care personnel; as well as 40,000 protective goggles; and 600,000 pairs of large, medium, and small examination gloves.
Diagnostic Tools: 1,200 fingertip pulse oximeters plus batteries to measure oxygen levels in a patient’s blood to determine whether a higher level of care is needed.
U.S. Support for Sri Lanka from the Outset of the Pandemic
The United States and Sri Lanka have worked closely together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic since its outset. To date, the American people have provided $6 million to Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response and recovery, in addition to an in-kind donation of 200 portable ventilators. The U.S. Department of Defense has also provided crucial equipment and support. This assistance has reached millions of people in all 25 districts and 9 provinces of Sri Lanka, providing life-saving treatments, strengthening clinical care, and mobilizing critical supplies to bolster response and help the country recover.
Through this partnership, we have:
Provided 200 ventilators to 121 healthcare facilities designated to treat COVID-19 patients in all 25 districts and 9 provinces of Sri Lanka to save lives and enhance the quality of immediate care of Sri Lankans suffering from the most severe symptoms of COVID-19. Provided technical assistance and training to more than 1,400 clinicians to expand the pool of healthcare professionals qualified to use this ventilator model and manage COVID cases.
Helped keep frontline workers safe by providing personal protective equipment, thermal scanners, handwashing stations, hygiene kits, disinfection sprayers, N95 masks, and other critical supplies to hundreds of hospitals, government offices, schools, and communities. Provided equipment and training to local businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment.
Helped schools reopen safely by printing and distributing guidelines for reopening and providing handwashing stations, hand sanitizer, and personal protective equipment to schools. Established health rooms, including beds, mattresses, first aid kits, portable screens, and water dispensers, at 120 schools around the country to ensure basic precautionary measures against COVID-19 and enable isolation and related care for students if needed. Disinfected government school compounds and preschools in 14 of 25 districts and provided power sprayers and thermal scanners for 150 schools.
Launched messaging campaigns that promoted social distancing, raised awareness of the importance of following good hygiene practices, and provided critical information about the virus, its symptoms, transmission, and preventative messages, reaching over 7 million people.
Developed the “Stay Home and Learn” campaign that reached over a million youth through films, social media, and an online learning portal to provide opportunities for youth to proactively build their life and career skills while at home due to COVID-related school closures.
Established six maternity isolation units for COVID-19 positive pregnant women. Distributed more than 6,600 personal hygiene kits, including sanitary pads, to women in quarantine centers and other restricted locations without access to health provisions.
Expanded 24-hour hotline capacity to provide psychosocial counselling to callers, including people impacted by an increase in domestic violence due to COVID-19, and link them with emergency services such as food and safe shelters.
Provided a PCR test machine to the University of Jaffna to increase its testing capacity from 60 to 180 tests per day. Provided a mobile testing lab to the Regional Health Service Directorate in Monaragala to test up to 100 people daily. Through the International Atomic Energy Agency, handed over a U.S.-funded COVID-19 test kit, including a RT-PCR machine, supplies to conduct 2,000 tests, and personal protective equipment, to the University of Colombo.
Pledged $4 billion to the global COVAX facility, making the United States the world’s largest single donor supporting this platform to provide equitable global access to high-quality, WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX has committed to providing 8.4 million vaccine doses to Sri Lanka free of charge to cover 20 percent of Sri Lanka’s population. Sri Lanka received its first delivery of 264,000 doses of the vaccines from COVAX in March.
Supported data collection and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on households, health, education, and nutrition to inform response activities and sector strategies to mitigate the impact of the crisis on children and their families. Conducted surveys on trade and labor market impacts of COVID-19 on exporters. Provided capacity building training as part of the State Department’s private sector engagement with the apparel industry and Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board to aid new exporters in accessing the U.S. market.
Strengthened Sri Lanka’s readiness to respond to public health emergencies by providing essential equipment, including 71,000 masks, 24,000 nitrile gloves, 600 isolation gowns with hoods, 60 infrared thermometers, 50 portable oxygen concentrators plus expendable equipment to support their operation such as disinfectantsand safety goggles. The U.S. Department of Defense funded these donations and procured items locally in keeping with U.S. efforts to support Sri Lanka’s local businesses as they recover from COVID-19’s economic impact.
U.S.-Sri Lanka Partnership: Seven Decades Strong
For seventy years, the U.S. government has worked in partnership with the government and people of Sri Lanka to improve lives and livelihoods. Since 1961, the U.S. government has invested over $2 billion in Sri Lanka through USAID to improve agriculture, the environment, health, education, business development, trade, and good governance — and provide humanitarian assistance in times of disasters like the 2004 tsunami, landslides, and floods. U.S. COVID-19 support builds on these investments, through which we have built connections, expertise, and systems that have enabled us to provide immediate support.
In health care alone, USAID has invested more than $26 million over the past twenty years to improve the health and well-being of Sri Lankan families. USAID helped to eradicate malaria in Sri Lanka and combat avian influenza, provided psychosocial counseling to victims of trauma, and facilitated physical rehabilitation services to people with disabilities.
More than 2 million (2,023,256) first doses of the coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Sri Lanka, according to the Government Information. Sri Lanka reaches 2 million milestone for Covid-19 vaccinations program on June 8 and Sri Lanka reached 1.5 million milestone May 30 and more than 1 million Sri Lankans had received their first dose of a COVID-19 as at May 12th.
Sri Lanka’s COVID19 Vaccine Rollout Tracking.
India – AstraZeneca – 925,242 (1st jab) / 353,789 (2nd) Russia – SputnikV – 64,986 (1st jab) China – Sinopharm – 1,033,028 (1st jab
Government to use ‘ITUKAMA’ COVID-19 Healthcare Fund balance Rs. 1360 Million for the vaccine roll-out.
Australian assistance for investments and education sector promotion. Australia pledges assistance for investments and education sector promotion in Sri Lanka. The attention is also drawn to the potential of elevating Sri Lanka as a centre of higher education in the South Asian region.
Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka David Holly expressed these views when he called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat this morning May 31.
Two vessel related accidents occurred in Sri Lankan waters in a short period of time. The President stated that Sri Lanka is expecting the Australian Government’s technical assistance to assess the environmental damage caused by these vessel accidents and in the programme launched to create an agriculture solely based on organic fertilizers.
The High Commissioner also drew the President’s attention to the possibility of establishing an export market in Sri Lanka targeting a number of countries including India and the countries in the Middle East by enabling more investment opportunities for value added products.
Recalling the 75 years of friendly relations between Australia and Sri Lanka, High Commissioner Holly said that a plane carrying a consignment of medical equipment donated by the Australian Government for COVID treatment will arrive in Sri Lanka on June 3rd.
First Secretary of the Australian High Commission Armaity Bradley, Defence Adviser Captain Ian Cain, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera and Foreign Secretary Admiral (Retd.) Jayanath Colombage were also present.
Sri Lanka Education Ministry launched a mobile app (Android Application) to get services provided by the Department of Examinations. The app has been named as “Exam Sri Lanka DOE mobile application” can be download via Google Play Store.
The DOE Mobile APP Provide below services to students.
Confirmation of exam results
Find examination numbers
Check school examination results
O/L Time Table
Check institutions examination results
Model questions papers
Download Statistics and School Performance Indicators
Grade five scholarship calendar
Download Past Exam Question Papers
Downloading application forms
GIT – Online Examinations System
Downloading result sheets
Online applying for school examinations
Welcome to the official mobile application offered by Department of Examinations, Sri Lanka. Results of G.C.E (A/L ) Examination, G.C.E (O/L) Examination, Grade 5 Scholarship Examination and Other Examination can be viewed via this application faster and easier than any other means. This application provides the many services like online exams, Online Certificate Request and Results Verifications, Online Application for the School Exams & Recruitment Exams, download facility for Admission Cards, Download facility for past papers & Exam Calendar etc.
Official mobile application of the Department of Examinations, Sri Lanka can be download via Google Play Store .