The percentage of children attending school has decreased from 95 per cent to 80 per cent on a daily basis, due to the inability of the parents to provide food and purchase books and stationery items, Prof. P.P.A.W. Athukorala, Senior Lecturer at Peradeniya University’s Department of Economics and Statistics said.

He said, prior to the economic crisis, the attendance was recorded at 95 per cent, but this has now dropped to 80 per cent across the island. He noted that attendance now has been recorded at 80 per cent on Mondays and 75 per cent on Fridays. When considering the Western Province in particular, only 75 per cent of students attend school but now it has decreased between 70 – 71 per cent.

“It has been found that the children are absent due to transportation and food supply issues. Children also face difficulties in buying books that are needed for their educational purposes in schools. Parents and the children are finding it difficult to buy the basics. These are the main reasons that the children do not want to go to school,” he said.