Sri Lanka cancels school exams due to paper shortage as financial crisis rages | Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka has canceled school exams for millions of students after running out of printing paper, as the country faces its worst financial crisis since independence in 1948.

Education authorities said on Saturday that quarterly tests, scheduled for a week from Monday, had been postponed indefinitely due to a severe paper shortage as Colombo ran out of funds to finance imports.

“School principals cannot organize the tests because printers are unable to obtain foreign currency to import the necessary paper and ink,” the provincial education ministry said. ‘West.

Official sources said the issue could delay testing for around two-thirds of the country’s 4.5 million students.

Quarterly tests are part of an ongoing assessment process to decide whether students are promoted to the next grade at the end of the year.

A debilitating economic crisis caused by a shortage of foreign exchange reserves to fund essential imports has seen the country run out of food, fuel and pharmaceuticals.

The cash-strapped South Asian nation of 22 million announced this week that it would seek an IMF bailout to address its worsening external debt crisis and bolster its external reserves.

The International Monetary Fund confirmed on Friday that it was considering President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s surprise request on Wednesday to discuss a bailout.

About $6.9 billion of Colombo’s debt is due to be repaid this year, but its foreign exchange reserves stood at about $2.3 billion at the end of February.

Long queues have formed across the country for groceries and petrol, with the government instituting blackouts and rationing of powdered milk, sugar, lentils and rice.

Earlier this year, Sri Lanka asked China, one of its main creditors, for help in deferring debt payments, but there has been no official response from Beijing yet.

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