The education system, which has Buddhist traditions, is characterized by the fact that Sri Lanka is a country with multiple races, cultures and languages. Sinhalese and Tamil are the two languages of instruction, with English as the second language. In 1945, it was decided that all tuition from preschool to university would be free of charge. Education is in great demand and is seen as a key to social success. The great majority of schools are state, but a smaller number of so-called pirivenas are linked to Buddhist temples.
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The school has four stages: primary school (grades 1-5), lower secondary school (6-8), higher secondary school (9-11) and college (12-13). Participation in primary school teaching has been almost 100 percent since the 1980s. About 70% go to secondary school, and a small proportion read on at one of the 15 universities (2011). Significant dropout occurs during the various stages. Attempts have been made since the 1980s to reform the system, improve quality and remove the most prominent features of British colonial times. In 2008, 9% of the population was illiterate.
In early 2002, after 12 years, the road connecting Jaffna to the rest of Sri Lanka was reopened and flights to the Jaffna Peninsula were resumed.
Sri Lanka flag source: Countryaah.com
In September, Wickremasinghe lifted the ban on LTTE, which had been in effect since 1998. This created the opportunity to meet as equals at the negotiating table. On September 16, negotiations started in Thailand, and in December the dealers in Oslo agreed on the establishment of a federal system within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.
In May 2003, the LTTE suspended its participation in the negotiations, citing a lack of interest from the government. But at the same time, the movement declared itself willing to resume negotiations and submitted a proposal for a transitional autonomy administration. It was a proposal that came under sharp criticism from Kumaratunga’s Freedom Alliance – the opposition in parliament.
In the same month, over 200 died and 4,000 became homeless as a result of extensive flooding.
On November 4, Kumaratunga dismissed the Defense, Interior and Information Ministers, ordered the military in emergency preparedness, suspended parliament and declared the country in a state of emergency. Her rationale was that Wickremesinghe had “jeopardized the security, stability and territorial integrity of the country” as a result of his concessions to the rebels. She also criticized the international group overseeing the peace process and demanded its chairman, a Norwegian general, be expelled. The suspension of parliament was lifted two weeks later, but peace talks with the Tamils were interrupted.
The dispute between Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe over who should hold the important post of defense minister continued until the president in February 2004 dissolved the parliament. In April, parliamentary elections were held for the third time in less than four years. Kumaratunga got 105 of the 225 seats but did not achieve absolute majority. Buddhist lawyer Mahinda Rajapakse was appointed prime minister.
The situation took a surprising turn when the Freedom Alliance in May granted its recognition of the LTTE, and tacitly accepted them as the sole representative of the Tamil minority. In June, peace talks resumed.
In December 2004, a tsunami hit Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka was one of the hardest hit. About 35,000 were killed by the tidal wave, 5,000 disappeared and 1 million were killed. was made homeless. A large area on the east coast from Jaffna in the north to the popular beaches in the south was razed. Muttur and Trincomalee districts were hit by tidal waves of up to 6 meters. The government launched a $ 3.5 billion reconstruction program US $ but the conflict with the Tamils over the administration of the program in their areas delayed it sharply. It was not until June 2005 that an agreement was reached, but this triggered a political tsunami when the Marxist Popular Liberation Front and the Alliance for National Unity broke out of the government. They claimed that there was a surrender of sovereignty to the Tamil tigers, called for mass protests and threatened to take legal action.
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadrigamar was assassinated in his home in August 2005 and the government subsequently declared the country in a state of emergency. Kumaratunga stated that the assassination had political motives but failed to place the blame directly on the Tamil Tigers.
In November 2005, Mahinda Rajapakse was elected president in an election campaign that was characterized by quite a few deaths compared to previous campaigns. The election themes were first and foremost: the economy, the peace process and the post-tsunami reconstruction. The Tamil people followed the invitation of the LTTE and refrained from participating in “elections that do not serve the interests of the Tamils”.