Despite Sri Lanka having one of the fastest growing economies in the region, it ranks extremely poorly in education spending as a proportion of GDP. In fact the Sri Lankan spend 2.1% of its GDP on education, the sixth lowest in the world, and an proportion lower than Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Uganda or Chad.*
What does this mean for the schoolchildren of the Ampara district?
Sri Lankan schools are the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and all school costs are met by the Sri Lankan treasury’s annual allocation of funds. The government allocation for maintenance of a rural school (that may educate up to 250 children) is less than Rs. 10,000/= per year. (A$82). This covers maintenance, logistics and all other educational needs. For example, the Dhammajothi Primary School in Kandegama, Alawwa received only Rs. 9000/= for the year 2013. All principals of Aspirations Educations’ 45 project schools receive this annual allocation per year. This amount is far below what is required to maintain schools in a workable condition. School infrastructures remain in very poor condition and resultantly, the quality of education languishes.
Average wage of teacher /principal and a parent per month
Average wages of a teacher per month -Rs. 18,000/= (A$147)
Average wages of a principal per month -Rs. 24,000/= (A$197)
(Average wages of a local parent per month -Rs. 6,000/= (A$49)
*Economist magazine, World Figures, accessed on App, 20/4/2014