School Exams Postponed for Millions Amid Paper Shortage, Economic Crisis

Sri Lanka’s Western Province postponed end-of-term college exams after working out of the paper that the exams are printed on.

Officials stated the checks might be rescheduled sooner or later for about 4.5 million college students. The announcement got here as Sri Lanka is experiencing one of many worst recessions within the nation since 1948, when it turned impartial.

“School principals cannot hold the tests as printers are unable to secure foreign exchange to import necessary paper and ink,” the Department of Education of the Western Province stated in an announcement.

According to China’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong, the 2 international locations are in discussions a couple of mortgage aimed toward serving to to rebuild the Sri Lankan economic system. Reuters reported that the mortgage may very well be for as much as $1 billion.

Qi stated the mortgage can be separate from the $500 million mortgage given from China on March 18. The two international locations are searching for methods to alleviate the disaster with out worsening Sri Lanka’s $4 billion debt.

“We believe our ultimate goal is to solve the problem, but there may be different ways to do so,” Qi advised reporters.

At the tip of February, Sri Lanka’s international forex reserves stood at about $2.3 billion. The capital metropolis of Colombo has accrued probably the most debt within the nation, with about $6.9 billion needing to be serviced by the tip of the yr.

China just isn’t the one nation requested for help with the economic system. Last week, Al Jazeera reported that Sri Lanka has secured a $1 billion line of credit score from India as a way to import meals and drugs. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) can be contemplating granting a bailout to Sri Lanka, though updates on the discussions haven’t been launched.

“We will discuss with the authorities how best we can assist Sri Lanka going forward,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice stated.

Sri Lanka’s inhabitants of about 22 million has been affected by the recession in additional methods than simply the shortage of paper. Reuters reported that two males lately died whereas in line ready for gasoline, which has skyrocketed in worth. The males had been of their 70s, with one diabetic and a coronary heart affected person.

Both had been amongst 1000’s ready in strains for hours in current weeks for gasoline their automobiles and heating oil amid rolling energy cuts. Increased costs have pushed low-income households from utilizing gasoline for cooking to kerosene oil.

Sri Lanka’s inflation hit 15.1 % in February, Reuters reported, among the many highest in Asia, whereas meals inflation soared to 25.7 %, in keeping with the most recent authorities knowledge.

Update 3/21/22, 11:33 a.m. ET: This story has been up to date with extra info.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s Western Province postponed end-of-term college exams after working out of the paper that the exams are printed on. Above, a passenger sporting a facemask walks at a prepare station in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on November 9, 2020.

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