In the wake of irregularities reported in grade one school admissions at Royal College, the Ministry of Education has decided to introduce an island-wide school board system by the end of this year.

According to the proposed system, there is to be one board per each main school and one board per several small schools in educational zones island-wide.

Also, the Ministry while acknowledging the lack of an investigative mechanism to look into complaints of irregularities in school grade one admissions added that with the available resources they would commence investigations into several popular schools island-wide.

Media Secretary to the Minister of Education, Kalpa Gayan Gunaratne further said that 25 incidents involving discrepancies with regard to admissions to grade one for the year 2017 had been confirmed as having taken place thus far at Royal College, Colombo.

“Such investigations require a lot of manpower which the Ministry does not possess at present. However, with the available facilities the Ministry will be looking into the matter,” he said while adding that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were being kept abreast of the actions taken.

All enrolments to Royal College have since been temporarily halted as a special investigation had commenced to probe the matter. Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had directed Secretary to the Ministry, Sunil Hettiarachchi to commence inquiries into other schools too.

It is reported that teams have been deployed to schools island-wide to investigate the manner in which students receive admission to grade one.

Apart from school authorities reportedly disregarding relevant circulars issued in this regard, it is also alleged that inappropriate methods have also been followed by parents and principals. In this instance, parents in certain cases have submitted forged addresses in applications in order to claim residence within zonal boundaries of a particular school.

It was reported that principals on the other hand have taken bribes.

The ceremony to mark the admission of students to grade one in schools island-wide took place on January 11. According to the Ministry 350,000 students had been admitted.