Monday, November 28, 2022

Sri Lanka cancels school exams due to paucity of papers

Sri Lanka cancels school exams due to paucity of papers

Sri Lanka has canceled exams for millions of school students, officials said on Saturday, as the country is short of dollars for imports near Colombo.

Education officials said the term test scheduled for a week from Monday was postponed indefinitely due to acute shortage of papers as Sri Lanka grapples with its worst financial crisis since independence in 1948.

“The school principal cannot conduct the test because the printers are unable to secure foreign exchange to import the required paper and ink,” the Western Province Education Department said.

Official sources said the move could effectively test for nearly two-thirds of the country’s 45 lakh students.

Term tests are part of an ongoing evaluation process to decide whether students are promoted to the next class at the end of the session.

A debilitating economic crisis triggered by a lack of foreign exchange reserves to finance essential imports has seen the country run short on food, fuel and pharmaceuticals.

The cash-strapped South Asian nation of 22 million announced this week that it would seek an IMF bailout to resolve its worsening foreign debt crisis and boost external reserves.

The International Monetary Fund confirmed on Friday that it was considering President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s surprise Wednesday request to discuss a bailout.

Colombo’s debt of about $6.9 billion needs to be repaid this year, but its foreign exchange reserves stood at about $2.3 billion at the end of February.

The government has created long queues across the country for groceries and oil, with rolling power blackouts and rationing of milk powder, sugar, pulses and rice.

Sri Lanka earlier this year asked one of its main creditors China to help pay off the debt, but there has been no official response from Beijing so far.

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