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* COPE queries the Vocational Training Authority on issues raised in Auditor General’s report
Fri, Mar 31, 2023, 08:16 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 31, Colombo: The Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) has questioned the validity of the Vocational Training Authority’s chief accountant also fulfilling the need of being the internal auditor, raising the question of conflict of interest.

The meeting focused on the lack of a Director General (DG) to oversee such matters.

Following the termination of the former DG, there has been no one present to complete the mandate set out within its scope. It was found that between the Chairman and other members of the board, the hierarchy was ‘pitching in’ to complete the full role of the Director General.

Procedural impropriety was found when the committee questioned who was responsible for the signing of cheques for salaries.

This led to the examination of the Act itself which was found to be incomplete in many respects. The Chairman of the Committee directed the Secretary to the Ministry to review the Act within the next 03 months with an update on Status to be presented to the committee in 02 weeks from now. Chairman of the Committee scrutinized the statutory functions of the VTA amidst large scale redundancies.

Upon insistent querying by the Chairman, stark redundancies of the VTA were revealed with regards to its mandate and execution thereof. The research which determines the development of courses was found to be outdated and redundant.

The Chair noted that it is unconscionable to proceed with this status quo as it severely cripples the chances of employment in an evolving world where the VTA has not kept abreast with the demands of the international job market.

Committee members pleaded that reform take place urgently to enhance subject choice, course relevance & efficacy and curriculum development to keep in standing with the world we live in.

Accessibility was also addressed as it was discovered that with 300,000 O/L dropouts and 200,000 A/L dropouts (on average) per year, there was only 105,000 slots in Vocational Training to supplement this need.

The Chairman closed this discussion by directing that the Board present a study program in keeping with the international job market and a corporate plan for the Authority itself following an expansive market survey be presented to parliament within 03 months.

Due to insufficient evidence because of a change of personnel from 2017 to 2023, the Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprise suspended any further discussion on the matter till the 09th of May 2023 at which time, the then-serving members of the Board who were responsible for the financial and administration decisions taken, are to be summoned for the meeting.

(Prof.) Ranjith Bandara, M.P., (Chair), Janaka Wakkumbura, M.P., Jagath Pushpakumara, M.P., Lohan Ratwatte, M.P., Shantha Bandara, M.P., Indika Anuruddha Herath, M.P., Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Attorney at Law, M.P., Mahindananda Aluthgamage, M.P., Rohitha Abegunawardhana, M.P., Jayantha Samaraweera, M.P., M.P., Eran Wickramaratne, M.P., Sanjeeva Edirimanna, M.P., Jagath Kumara Sumithraarachchi, M.P., (Major) Sudarshana Denipitiya, M.P., Premnath C. Dolawatte, Attorney at Law, M.P., Upul Mahendra Rajapaksha, M.P., M.P., (Mrs.) Rajika Wickramasinghe, M.P., (Prof.) Charitha Herath, M.P. were present.


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