An RTI application was sent to the Ministry of Education in October 2019 regarding the “Nearest School is the Best School” program. The Ministry sent a reply to this application, dated 27th of July 2020, with the requested information.
The application inquired how many schools had benefitted from this program (up until the time of the RTI application); which towns and villages have schools that have benefitted from this program so far and what the additions or improvements are that have been made to the schools under this program in terms of infrastructure, facilities, subjects, activities, personnel, etc.
The reply from the Education Ministry included information that nine thousand and sixty-four (9064) schools have benefitted from this program to date. It was also stated that the total number of government schools in the country is 10,176; out of the 9064 schools (89%) are benefitting from this program. These schools are scattered all over the island in all nine provinces.
With regard to additions or improvements made to the schools under this program, according to the Ministry, the below have been done:
- Rehabilitations, improvements, and repairs to existing buildings and structures
- Putting up of buildings such as classrooms, primary learning resource centers, junior secondary labs, aesthetics units, principal and teachers’ quarters, technological units, cafeteria, dental units, pavilions, gymnasium, etc.
- Improvements and/or provisions of water, electricity, and sanitary facilities
When asked whether there was a notable improvement in the inclination of parents to keep their children in these schools instead of trying to send them to different schools, the Ministry of Education answered in the affirmative.
The Right to Information application also asked what the future plans of the Ministry of Education were under this program. To this, the reply stated that it was expected that all ongoing physical infrastructure development work undertaken by the program would be completed on a priority basis before the termination of the project.