The Prime Minister was speaking as the Chief Guest the Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony of the Western Province Programme for children of Sri Lankan expatriates employed abroad at Temple Trees yesterday.
The awards ceremony was organized by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE).
Scholarships worth Rs. 18.5 million were presented to 734 children at this ceremony.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa further said that this scholarship programme started in 1996 when he was the Labour Minister.
A batch of 175 children who passed the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination received prizes totalling Rs. 3,500,000 at Rs.20,000 each while 456 children who had passed the G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examination received a total of Rs.11,400,000 at Rs.25,000 each and a batch of 103 children who gained university entrance received a total of Rs.3,605,000 at Rs.35,000 each.
In the last year, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment awarded scholarships worth Rs. 87,265,000 to 3,489 children of expatriate workers, covering the nine provinces. This scholarship programme has been in operation for the last 23 years since 1996. The total number of scholarships awarded to 44,832 children during this period amounted to Rs.897,425,000.
Foreign Relations and Minister of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardane and SLBFE Chairman Kamal Ratwatte were also present.