Sri Lanka has cancelled exams for millions of school students in the Western Province as the country ran out of printing paper with Colombo short on dollars to finance imports, according to officials.
Education authorities said the term tests, scheduled a week from Monday, were postponed indefinitely due to an acute paper shortage as Sri Lanka contends with its worst financial crisis since independence in 1948.
“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 said.
Term tests for classes 9, 10 and 11 are part of a continuous assessment process to decide if students are promoted to the next grade at the end of the year.
A debilitating economic crisis brought on by a shortage of foreign exchange reserves to finance essential imports, has seen the country run low on food, fuel and pharmaceuticals.
As per the AFP report, earlier this year, the cash-strapped South Asian nation of 22 million had asked China, one of its main creditors, to help put off debt payments but there has been no official response yet from Beijing.
This week, Sri Lanka announced that it will seek an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout to resolve its worsening foreign debt crisis and shore up external reserves. On Friday, IMF confirmed it was considering President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s surprise Wednesday request to discuss a bailout.