When Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) nationalized schools in the 1960's, the establishment of new Private Schools was essentially prohibited. This restriction was openly side-stepped by registering international schools as companies, which meant they functioned outside the purview of the Ministry of Education and are technically not schools.
However, they are commonly recognized as schools:
- If a student of such an international school is asked "which school do you go to?" their answer will never be challenged with "but that's not a school".
- When education was made compulsory (initially in 1997 for children aged 5 to 14 years, later in 2016 for children aged 5 to 16 years) they were tacitly accepted as schools - that is why no Monitoring Committee asked international school students' parents "Why are you not sending your child to school?"
- Even the Ministry, in this 2013 publication, under "School System" (page 28), acknowledges the existence of 'approximately 300 "International Schools"'
We could also have chosen that path. Indeed, we are legally registered as a limited liability company. However, we decided to make use of another provision in the law: Children are not required to attend a school if their parents make "adequate and suitable provisions for the education of the child". This is also the legal basis we recommend for families who wish to home-school in Sri Lanka.
Our official position is that we are an educational institution that supports parents to fulfill their educational obligations towards their children when not enrolled in a conventional school.
However, in general conversation, if children enrolled with us are asked "which school do you go to?" they will answer "Kinder Republic"