A noble vision of Hon. C.W.W. Kannangara, independent Sri Lanka’s first minister of education, resulted in the initiation of a free education system in this country. He is aptly known as the “father of free education”. Through this system, all students in state schools are entitled to receive 13 years of free primary and secondary education and there after tertiary education in and in such similar institutions.
Despite this massive benefit, every year thousands of children drop out of schools and the number keeps increasing. The question one would ask is why they do not use this privilege and complete their education. The answer is quite complex. For a student to complete his/her education, more supporting services to reinforce free education is necessary. Now they receive free text books and one set of uniforms but what about exercise books and other requirements, at least one additional set of uniforms, transportation, and a morning meal to sustain themselves and many more essentials? There are many researches being carried out to get to the core of this unfortunate situation and measures to resolve it.
Observations of Manusath Derana strongly suggest immediate intervention of all concern is essential to minimize the school dropout rate along with an affective mechanism to uplift the lives of those who have already dropped out of schools.
Derane Daruwo scholarship programme was introduced as a result of an eight hour in-depth discussion where experts’ artists and leading figures participated. This was telecasted on TV derana. The final outcome of this was the selection of children from families affected with chronic kidney disease as the priority benefiaries of the programme. Currently, there are more than 2500 students benefiting from this scholarship scheme and this effort of ours is much praised by our viewers. The president and the prime minister of Sri Lanka have highly commended our efforts to support the educational needs of these disadvantaged children.