Sri Lankan government announces closure of schools amid power shortage
Colombo: Amid the unprecedented economic crisis, the Sri Lankan government on Saturday (June 18, 2022) announced the closure of all schools for the coming week, a local media reported. As reported by the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Education announced that “all government and government-approved private schools in Colombo city limits, as well as schools in other main cities in other provinces, will remain closed during the next week.” ,
Sri Lanka’s education ministry secretary Nihal Ranasinghe asked schools to conduct online classes and said that schools at the divisional level would be allowed to conduct classes with a small number of students, where transport difficulties could affect students, teachers and principals. is not affected.
The Daily Mirror reported that they announced that the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has agreed not to cut power from 08.00 a.m. to 01.00 p.m. to facilitate online learning on weekdays.
Since March this year, Sri Lanka, formerly an upper-middle income country, has been in the grip of an economic crisis unparalleled since the country gained independence in 1948.
Serious protests have led to political unrest, which led to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s brother Mahinda Rajapaksa resigning as prime minister and appointing Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country’s prime minister in May.
Food inflation stood at 57.4 per cent in May, while shortages of key food items, as well as fuel for cooking, transport and industry, remain widespread, with daily power cuts continuing.
The economy is set for a sharp contraction due to non-availability of basic inputs for production, 80 per cent depreciation of currency since March 2022, lack of foreign reserves and the country’s failure to meet its international debt obligations.
The economic crisis has particularly affected food security, agriculture, livelihoods and access to health services. Food production in the last harvest season was 40 – 50 per cent lower than the previous year, and the current agricultural season is at risk, with shortages of seeds, fertilisers, fuel and credit.
Sri Lanka is one of the few countries designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that is expected to go without food due to a global food shortage this year. A high-level UN official said 22 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total population, or 4.9 million, was in need of food aid.
The latest surveys show that 86 percent of households are using at least one coping mechanism such as reducing food intake, including skipping meals.
The slowdown has been attributed to a decline in tourism during the COVID 19 pandemic as well as a lack of foreign exchange due to reckless economic policies, such as the government’s move last year to ban chemical fertilizers to support Sri Lanka’s agriculture. Steps “100 percent organic”.
Due to acute shortage of foreign exchange, Sri Lanka recently defaulted around USD 51 billion in its total external debt.