The state-owned building in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale, where Lale’ Youth International School was previously operated, has been handed over to Qualitat Education, which won the bid to develop the building as an international school, after overcoming a string of corruption allegations.
Education ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Abdul Muhsin and Qualitat Education’s managing director Moosa Rasheed signed the agreement on Thursday, which awards operation of the new school to the latter for a period of 15 years.
The building where Lale School was formerly operated was put up for bid after the previous operator Biz Atolls Pvt Ltd’s term had ended. Qualitat’s win of the bid was followed by corruption allegations raised by Lale School students’ parents, which had prompted the Anti-Corruption Commission to temporarily halt the building handover as it probed the case.
Allegations of involved corruption had arisen over Qualitat Education winning the financial bid with a larger fee than Biz Atolls, which had lobbied the lowest bid, as well as the company being founded only two months prior to the bid opening. Moreover, two stakeholders of Qualitat Education were wives of two High Court Judges, whereas the Anti-Corruption Commission Act lists spouses of High Court judges as persons banned from holding shares of business companies associated with foreign firms. Qualitat Education is working in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s Gateway College.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Muhsin declared that the building has been awarded to Qualitat Education as counselled by the Anti-Corruption Commission after their investigations. He announced that the new school will be opened with the start of the academic year in 2017.
“We hope this transaction will be one beneficial to students,” he said.
Though Qualitat Education did not disclose details on how the new school will be operated aside from it being named Gateway International School, they assured that the information will be made public very soon.
Qualitat’s MD Moosa added that the new school will be operated under a no tuition fee, no homework policy.