ECONOMYNEXT – A paper shortage in cash-strapped Sri Lanka has led to final term tests for grades 9, 10 and 11 in Western province schools being postponed until after the April holidays, with tests for grades 6, 7 and 8 to be held at the school level.

Western province Provincial Director of Education Priyantha Srilal Nonis writing to zonal directors of education on Friday (18) said third party printers are finding it difficult to print school exam papers due to shortages and price increases in paper and other materials.

Sri Lanka is going through one of the worst economic crises in the country’s history, with a sever dollar shortage leading to shortages in many imports including paper.

Final term tests for grades 9, 10 and 11 would therefore have to be postponed to the next school term, and amended timetables will be provided, Nonis said.

For grades 6, 7 and 8, schools in the western province that can hold exams based on the provincial department-issued question papers can go ahead with the existing timetable, and soft copies of the papers have already been sent to the zonal education office. However, schools that are unable to do so must come up with their own question papers and timetables.

Criticising the decision, Sri Lanka including Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) general secretary Joseph Stalin told reporters on Friday that children have had to pay the price for what he said was the government’s economic mismanagement.

“There are no text books either. The books should’ve been printed before January. They haven’t done their job,” he said. (Colombo/Mar19/2022)