Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) is one of the most important events for the education movement worldwide. The GAWE is celebrated annually, and in this year the campaign completes 20 years, embracing the slogan “Investing in a Just World: Decolonising Education Financing Now!”. As a member of GCE, Coalition for Educational Development join hand with GCE to celebrate GAWE in Sri Lanka. Localizing international this year them of the campaign ” Decolonizing the education finance now” CED Sri Lanka planned to implement the a National level campaign focusing the Impact of the “Economic crisis on the education systems and education financing”
Sri Lanka’s education resources were predominantly funded through domestic resources (2015 and 2021) Approximately 97% domestic and only 3% is funded by foreign resources (66% loans) Allocation for education as a percentage of GDP is less that 2% and the Education budgets have been decreasing from the year 2019 and similar trend could be seen in the 2021 and 2022. (Rs 540 billion in 2023 budget)
At the same time although the budget has been allocated – the funds has not being provided or delayed – the ultimate result of this situation is there is no sufficient time frame to implement the planned activities.
According to the agreement signed with IMF, the government has made structural changes in Tax administration, Vat and PAYE tax has been increased. These changes have resulted in a mass exodus of doctors, engineers, university professors, white collar and skilled workers.
Recent studies reveled that a high number of households — more than 60 % — are adopting negative measures to obtain food, including borrowing money and purchasing food on credit, skipping meals or purchasing substandard foods (WFO). Further inadequate funding for the school mid-day meal programme resulted in mal nutrition (42.2 percent of children under the ages of 5 are in poverty, out of which 33.4 percent are suffering from malnutrition( UNICEF 2022). Transport cost has been dramatically increased and this has led to negative impact on school attendance – dropped out rates increased. The cost of the stationaries and other educational materials has been continually increased and the tuition fees have been doubled in the past two years period.
All these factors have made significant negative impact on the entire education system in Sri Lanka and the authorities should implement the remedial measures as soon as possible to ensure the quality and inclusiveness of education. To raise the awareness of the public and draw the attention of the authorities CED Sri Lanka launch a campaign demanding tax revision and providing subsidiaries/concession for the students specially for the disadvantage communities.
Under this objective CED conducted following interventions
Social/Media and print media campaign using cartoons and New paper advertisement on tax justice
Meeting the parliamentarians with the evidence based data and submitting civil society proposal
Conducting an awareness raising programme for the youth representatives of 18 Districts on Impact of tax on Education