“We want to create an economy where citizens are able to take their economic destiny into their own hands, without relying on the state for jobs and handouts. This entails the development of entrepreneurship and small business, which is supported by our recently launched Enterprise Sri Lanka scheme. At the heart of empowerment is education. It is education at all levels that endows people with the necessary skills to actively participate in the economy. Sri Lanka has long taken pride in its strong human development outcomes, particularly in education,” he said.The Minister said that several decades of extensive state investment in education has yielded good results in terms of access to education and near universal literacy.However, he said there is much more that needs to be done to keep up with global educational standards. The Government is to include a set of proposals from a UNICEF-led meeting on early childhood development in the 2019 budget, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said today.Speaking at the ‘Building Brains – Building Futures’ high-level meeting held today on early childhood development in Sri Lanka, Samaraweera said that he had received a set of proposals related to the subject and it will be considered in the next budget. In a landmark event, marking Policy Makers Day of National Early Childhood Care Week 2018, Building Brains, Building Futures, the Sri Lanka Early Childhood Development (ECD) High-Level Meeting presented early childhood-centric budget proposals to Samaraweera for his consideration in the 2019 National Budget. “One such important area of focus is Early Childhood Development. Early Childhood Development (ECD) is of great importance to Sri Lanka as it has the potential to improve school learning outcomes, which can have long lasting effects on the well-being of the population. As Sri Lanka positions itself as a highly competitive knowledge-based economy, robust cognitive development from an early stage becomes essential,” he said. Investing in health, nutrition, education and protection from birth through to age five – known as Early Childhood Development – enables all children to reach their full brain capacity, and is one of the most effective and proven drivers of sustainable economic growth. Budget proposals focussed on Health and Nutrition, Protection and Early Childhood Education were presented by the Ministries of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Women and Child Affairs and Education, to the Minister of Finance and Mass Media for his consideration in the National Budget for 2019.Samaraweera said that a fundamental principle of this Government’s economic development policy is the economic empowerment of Sri Lanka’s citizens. The Minister said that given the huge benefits that improving learning outcomes can have on promoting human development and boosting economic growth, the Government is committed to increase investment in enhancing education quality.Samaraweera also said that in 2014, the previous Government spent only 1.46% of its GDP for education but today, the current Government has increased this percentage to 3.5%.“Our aspiration is to allocate 6% of the country’s GDP for education by 2025. I would like to reiterate this Government’s commitment to investment in education, with renewed focus on Early Childhood Development. We will commit the necessary resources to support such programmes,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)
On Friday, Baker tweeted: “Just seen a tweet that the blessed Jeremy Hardy sent me a few weeks back. In it he tells me he hasn’t got long, I think he meant it as a DM. I didn’t see it at the time and so never responded. Nothing to be done now.”The tweet on January 3 was one of a string he sent that day. He later apologised for repeatedly posting, saying he couldn’t sleep. Five days later, he said: “OK. I’m a clumsy 57. Had a fall but I’m not going in anywhere. Took strong pain relief. Very dopey. Tweeted some nonsense. There.”The stars of comedy pay tribute to HardyPointless star Richard Osman paid tribute to him, writing on Twitter: “I was very lucky to work with Jeremy Hardy early in my career.”Every day was a masterclass, a privilege. He was so naturally and brilliantly funny, and a man who chose to use his comedy to change the world, rather than to fill stadia. A very sad day.”He signed off the message with the hashtag RIPJeremy.Fellow comic Jack Dee also paid tribute to Hardy on Twitter, writing: “Jeremy Hardy was ground-breakingly brilliant, off the register funny, compassionate and caring. Comedian Jeremy Hardy – who appeared regularly as a panelist on Radio 4 – died of cancer early on Friday, his publicist Amanda Emery said. A stand-up comedian, Hardy was also a hit on panel shows such as The News Quiz and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.Publicist Amanda Emery said in a statement: “Friends and family of comedian Jeremy Hardy are immensely sad to announce that Jeremy died of cancer, early on Friday, February 1.”He was with his wife and daughter as he died.”He retained to the end the principles that guided his life; trying to make the world more humane, and to be wonderfully funny.”He will be enormously missed by so many, who were inspired by him and who laughed with him.”She said that a memorial would be held in Hardy’s honour.On January 3, Hardy tweeted fellow BBC radio man Danny Baker, seemingly revealing publicly for the first time he had terminal cancer. He said: “Danny desperate for you to see this. You’re the best broadcaster in Britain. We both love Julia. Don’t tell her but I’m dying. Cancer. Docs say anytime.”I tried to tweet that I loved your TV show but said something about Peter’s slight vowel slip.” Utterly heartbroken to have to say goodbye to Jeremy Hardy. He was so very kind and supportive of me, I’ve had so many laughs sat next to him on the News Quiz and even more in the pub afterwards. So much love and strength to his family. Night Jeremy, cheers for the laughs xxx— Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) February 1, 2019 Sad beyond measure that Jeremy Hardy died this morning. Unfussy, unshowy, principled, self-deprecating, hugely loved & admired by his fellow comedians, and funnier than the lot of us put together. A unique comedian & a lovely man.— Rory Bremner (@rorybremner) February 1, 2019 @prodnose Danny desperate for you to see this. You’re the best broadcaster in Britain. We both love Julia. Don’t tell Her but I’m dying. Cancer. Docs say anytime. I tried to tweet that I loved your TV show but said something about Peter’s slight vowel slip— Jeremy Hardy (@JeremyJHardy) January 3, 2019 “So privileged to have counted him as a dear friend. My love goes out Katie and Betty and all his wonderful family.” Comedian Angela Barnes, who appeared regularly with Hardy on The News Quiz, said she was “utterly heartbroken”. Justin Moorhouse, who starred in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, said: “Not always sure of tweeting after someone dies, but Jeremy Hardy was the gentlest, kindest, funniest person.”He was just brilliant with me when I worked with him on the radio. Encouraging, supportive and just a nice bloke. I’m grateful for having met him and known him a little.”Fellow News Quiz mainstay Hugo Rifkind said: “Heartbroken at the loss of my dear friend Jeremy Hardy.”Not merely one of the funniest men I’ve ever known, but one of the kindest, cleverest and most supportive, too. Sending my love to all who loved him, too.” It is not known who the Julia that Hardy referred to in the tweet is, but Baker revealed he had not read the tweet until after his colleague had died, and believed it had not meant to be sent publicly. Reverend Richard Coles has also paid tribute, writing: “So sorry to hear of the death of Jeremy Hardy. We used to have the same pee break at GLR in the 80s and would chat in a comradely way at the urinals.” Rory Bremner worked with Hardy on Now – Something Else and said the news was “sad beyond measure”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.