Thursday, March 19, 2009

A new school swimming pool just to look at in Polonnaruwa

A school-boy hitched a ride from me as otherwise he would have had to walk 4km home and I got talking to him. He got very good marks at his 8+ exam and was accepted to the best school in the District, namely Royal College, Polonaruwa. Due to his additional travel and after school extra curricular activities he invariably misses the infrequent bus service, leaving him no option but to walk from the main road, which has regular buses.

I remembered that his school is the only school that has and for that matter the only swimming pool in the whole district, which has over 1000 tanks or lakes that store water for irrigation. I was very disappointed to hear that with such an asset, it is hardly used. There are no special swimming coaches and a swimming program to encourage the kids or to facilitate its use by other local schools, as is the practice in the Colombo area when a school does not have a pool.

This is another example of public waste, where ministers take credit for gifting pools out of public money, along with a massive ceremony, and then do nothing to ensure that the infrastructure is in place, namely funds and hiring of coaches to make use of this facility.

Blame cannot be placed at the foot of the headmaster who has a very delicate job to ensure he gets sufficient resources to balance, the pupils, teachers and parents interests and then adhere to all the government dictates leaving little time to try and resolve the matters referred to above.

This is an example of the waste of resources in Sri Lanka, as no thought goes into the whole project, only a part and the donors do nothing to ensure all the pieces of the puzzle are fixed. There are half built roads, trees cut down for a water main, which are only laid 5 years after the cutting down of trees and the new growth has to be cut down later.

It is hardly surprising with so many tiers of government, so many ministries and departments, and so many bureaucrats that no one has the authority to take charge and act without treading on sensitive toes of rule filled bureaucrats trying to justify their positions. The development and improvements to the infrastructure suffer. We must put self glorification aside and instead concentrate on fulfilling objectives completely and not partially, which is of no use to anyone.

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