20 September, 2019

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Administrative Malpractices Continue At Jaffna College Despite Fund Cuts By Trustees

Colombo Telegraph brought out several reports on the protests launched by the students of Uduvil Girls’ College last September against the ‘forced retirement’ of their former Principal Mrs. Shiranee Mills and the violence unleashed on the students by a section of the teachers and some others with close links to the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI) headed by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel Thiagarajah.

Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah

This issue led to a campaign by the alumni and well-wishers of both Uduvil Girls’ College and Jaffna College with a view to putting an end to the authoritarian grip the leadership of the Church has on the administration, finances and recruitment at both institutions. Based on credible reports received after investigations, the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds, a fiduciary trust based in Boston that supplies funds for the running of both institutions, decided to reduce the allocations for the first quarter of the year 2017 by 20% in January and strictly requested the Boards of Directors of both institutions to implement 9 key reforms before the 30th of June 2017 to ensure transparency, accountability and good governance in the administration of the schools.

Based on two letters sent to the Bishop, who chairs the Boards of the two schools, by the Trustees since their initial letter dated 5 January 2017, Colombo Telegraph can safely conclude that the Bishop has responded to the Trustees’ initial letter twice, first on the 12th of February and later, on the 15th of March. We covered the first response and the Trustees’ comments on it in our last report. This short commentary is about the subsequent developments. 

As we reported in our last commentary, the Trustees were not satisfied with the Bishop’s first response which was not shared with anyone else and insisted that they required a response from the Bishop before the first deadline, the 30th of March detailing the measures that the two Boards had taken to address the concerns raised by the Trustees. The Trustees’ second response which was sent on the 31st of March to the Bishop and shared with 19 others and the alumni notes that the Trustees received another letter from the Bishop on the 15th of March 2017. The Trustees’ letter, overall, indicates that the Bishop’s response and his plans to reform the two institutions have failed to convince the Trustees. It states that they have decided to reduce the funds allocated to both schools by 20% for the second quarter of the year 2017 as well.

From the letter sent by the Trustees on the 31st of March, we are able to make the following observations about the content of the Bishop’s response dated 15 March 2017:

1. The Bishop has along with his response sent drafts of the audited financial statements for both schools and a mater plan for Jaffna College,

But the Trustees require (a) Final copies of these statements, (b) Comments on the quality of the audit process, (c) management letter about internal financial controls and related governance matters)

2. The Bishop has responded to the Trustees’ comments on 8 areas of reforms. But the Trustees are, for the most part, not satisfied with the Bishop’s response. They have requested the Bishop to submit progress letters for items 2-9 before the 30th of June. The Bishop has also been requested to include in the progress letters what steps the two Boards have taken to meet the goals mentioned and a date by which they commit to complete the process.

The Trustees note that they are in general satisfied with the qualifications of those who serve on the Board of Directors. But the alumni of Jaffna College argue that it is important to see how many of these qualified and experienced members can work independently and how many of them can fearlessly challenge the leadership of the Board when it makes decisions that are against the interests of the schools and clear violations of standard administrative procedures. They also note that these members of the Board have done nothing when unsuitable persons were recruited for teaching positions at Jaffna College. Given their complicity in past violations, these members no longer command the confidence of the parents, alumni and well-wishers of the school, the alumni note. 

Most members of the current Board are part of Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India. The constitution of the Board of Directors requires only 6 members, including the Bishop, to be appointed by the Diocesan Council of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India. Although Protestant Christians from other denominations that have membership in the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) can be nominated to the Board of Directors, the alumni of Jaffna College note that the Bishop and other JDCSI members, possibly with the intention to avert threats to their authority, have appointed only one non-JDCSI Protestant Christian to the Board. Ms. Vijula Arulanantham, a member of the Anglican Church, is a close legal associate of TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran who represented the Bishop in several court cases. They also note that most members of the Board do not make active contribution during the meetings of the Board of Directors but remain mute spectators. Ms. Arulanantham, a non-JDCSI member of the Board who is based in Colombo, is unaware of many of the problems that destabilize the school. They, for instance, note that Ms. Arulanatham does not know how teachers are assigned to teach different subjects. Moreover, she has gone along with many of the improper appointments made in the past.   

A section of the alumni note that to bring about a concrete transformation in the way the school is run, the alumni associations and parents’ associations should collectively appoint eminent educationists and persons of high integrity who have made significant contribution to education and social change and are independent of the JDCSI for at least 50% of the positions in the Boards. Though there is no provision for this in the constitution of the Board, the Trustees should insist a change of this kind is introduced. They argue that this is the only avenue to end the corruption, nepotism and malpractices that continue unabated even after the strong letter sent to the Board of Directors in January by the Trustees.   

We reliably learn that persons with irrelevant qualifications teach in both primary and senior schools. For instance, many who teach in the primary school possess qualifications in such areas as commerce and home economics although in state-run schools only those who underwent primary training are appointed to teach the primary classes. Likewise, in the senior school, subjects like Tamil, Science and English are taught by people who do not have any special or relevant qualifications in these subjects. The administrator who handles teaching assignments reportedly makes his decisions based on his personal preferences without taking into consideration if the persons he assigns to teach the different subjects have proper and relevant qualifications.

At a Board meeting held in March 2017, a female Vice Principal was appointed as there had been no women in the administrative positions of this co-educational institute. When the position was advertised, the advertisement said that the female Vice Principal would be responsible for the girls’ hostel. Though more than two months have passed since the appointment was made, a male Deputy Principal continues to be responsible for the girls’ hostel. It is reported that the female Vice Principal is yet to receive her appointment letter with terms and conditions. In 2013, a female Deputy Principal was appointed by the Board of Directors. She too was not given an appointment letter but expected to join the school in January 2014. She left Jaffna College three weeks after assuming duties. In January 2017, a new English teacher was recruited. Although he has a BA in a different subject, he was underpaid for several months. He reported this matter to the Principal but no action was taken. Eventually he too left the school. All these developments show that the Principal is not in control of the school and another administrator seems to make crucial decisions. The Board of Directors do not seem to abide by the standard procedures and guidelines that are followed when appointments are made at other public and private institutions. This trend continues even after the Trustees sent a letter asking the Board of Directors to rectify the administrative problems in the school.    

The deadline to submit the progress letters for items 2-9 and other financial documents mentioned above is the 30th of June. We reliably learn that the Board of Directors have not consulted the representative of the Alumni on the content of the progress letters. The alumni representative has repeatedly requested the Board of Directors to give him a copy of the Board of Directors since November 2016. The Trustees want all the governing documents of the school to be accessible to the alumni and the larger public. But the representative of the alumni, himself a member of the Board of Directors, has not been given a copy of the constitution so far. All these developments and trends show that the administrators and the Board of Directors have no interest in the development of the school. The alumni and well-wishers of the school continue to hold the view that only a more robust intervention on the part of the Trustees that would make the school at least partially independent of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India will put an end to the chaos at Jaffna College.

One observer from the North noted that while TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran claims in the wake of the recent crisis in the Northern Provincial Council he is keen to address the corruption in the Northern Provincial Council, he directly and indirectly supports and protects through legal counsel those who are responsible for corruption at Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College. Sunday Times in February 2015 quoted the Bishop saying that the Board’s lawyers were drawing upon a defamation case against the letter sent by the Trustees in January and reported that Sumanthiran was among the counsel. 

Please click here to read the latest letter sent by the Trustees to the Chairman of the Board of Directors

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Latest comments

  • 6
    0

    1. The report shows beyond doubt that there is no improvement in the situation at Jaffna College even after the Trustees’ repeated warnings. It appears Bishop Thiagarajah has no shame or dignity. He does not care about the school at all.

    2. There is no way Sumanthiran can justify his association with and defence of Daniel Thiagarajah. Sumathiran’s popularity will go down very soon if he supports this pseudo Bishop.

    3. As the alumni has requested, the Trustees need to act fast and judiciously. The request has come from the alumni – and the Trustees should not worry about what Thiagarajah and his thugs will say.

    4. A.C. Francis, the Deputy Principal, should be issued a warning by the Trustees. His actions are ruining the school. He instigates teachers to dislike and work against one another. He does not allow any of the other administrators to perform their duties. He is in someways more dangerous the Bishop.

    5. Anglican Church should question Vijula Arulanantham on her conduct in the Jaffna College Board. Similarly Methodist Church should question Savithri Sumanthiran’s role in the destruction that Uduvil Girls’ College is facing.

  • 7
    1

    Sumanthiran and the TNA have already supported corrupt ministers at the NPC. One more or less is not going to matter.

  • 4
    0

    The Trustees should get hold of the timetables and teaching assignments. They need to check if the teachers have relevant qualifications.

    A.C. Francis was assaulted a minor employee and a retired Principal of a school who joined JC as a teacher after his retirement.

  • 3
    1

    Historically Sri Lanka’s second if not first tertiary institution that once dazzled the whole of South Asia. What a tragedy upon tragedy. Now they have killed these two historic schools.

    The sad part is we the outsiders do not know whom to believe. There are two warring sides, namely,

    the “Royal Families” and their cliques who mostly form the break away church who want to appoint their Bishop when they cannot even have priests in their denomination. The Royal families alone benefited from the over-seas paid educational and job opportunities valiantly keeping the others out. Now they can’t. Are they spreading this anti-Thiagarajah gossip as usual? Bavinck too was biased. They even brought in Douglas Devananda to not just threaten. So how can they talk?

    then, the Tamil speaking CSI memebers considered ‘low-class- by the above. They certainly need management skills as all institutions in Jaffna do. Are they messing up and selling out? Even the different managements there have no leadership skills or the schools will be self-sufficient without blaming each other. Please be transparent with the plans and finances and recruitments.

    Bottom line: Neither side cares for the school and its precious service and name.

    A committe of 2/3 with at least 1/2 from outside the CSI/AM Congregationalists churches, with an independent proven educationist who can fathom the problem, and familiar with the school and have its interest at heart should immediately be appointed, to study the problem fast and talk to Boston. They should be Jaffna people. Enough of Colombo and Canada and other expatriates. If you truly care come back and help out.

    When Churches fight it is a sign of the Devil in control. Resist his interference.

  • 6
    0

    Dear Chechhi,

    This is not some anti-Thiagarajah gossip. Is there anything in this report that you find incorrect or wrong? Please let us know why you think it is gossip. You may ask some questions in this forum on the report.

    All I can say is that I have no verified information about financial corruption (and the report here does not say anything about it). But the administrative malpractices mentioned here are 100% true.

    Do you think Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah will allow your committee and the proven educationist to do their work? NEVER. He even tried block the audit processes in 2013. The rebel church may include many elites. But I am sure most of them will welcome an independent person and an independent committee to look into this matter.

    • 3
      0

      Amaran,

      There is no confirmed information on fraud and corruption but why do the Bishop and the administration of the schools not provide audited financial statements as agreed?

      Where does the money the schools receive go?

      According to Jaffna College home page at http://www.jaffnacollege.lk the infra of the school is collapsing.

      Is paying foreign training for staff and buying/leasing a car for the principal sound financial management when the school library has no computer?

      • 3
        0

        Lone Wolf,
        The reports have not been sent to the Trustees yet. That is not enough to say that there is corruption. The Trustees should release whatever financial information they have about the school to the larger public. Then CT and others can find out if there has been corruption. The infra of the school is collapsing – no doubt. For many years, these buildings have not been taken care of. The previous Principal built a new Principal bungalow but did not show interest in re-structuring other buildings.

        Even without corruption, the money sent by the Trustees is apparently not enough. That is why the alumni have been asked to contribute. But while there is a lot of corruption inside the school, neither alumni nor the trustees should send money to the school. Exacerbating the crisis will make the students and teachers rebel against Thiagarajah and it will eventually liberate the school. That is the way out.

      • 1
        1

        Lone Wolf,
        The reports have not been sent to the Trustees yet. That is not enough to say that there is corruption. The Trustees should release whatever financial information they have about the finances of school to the public. Then CT and others can find out if there has been corruption. The infra of the school is collapsing – no doubt. For many years, these buildings have not been taken care of. The previous Principal built a new Principal bungalow but did not show interest in re-structuring other buildings.

        Even without corruption, the money sent by the Trustees is apparently not enough. That is why the alumni have been asked to contribute. But while there is a lot of corruption inside the school, neither alumni nor the trustees should send money to the school. Exacerbating the crisis will make the students and teachers rebel against Thiagarajah and it will eventually liberate the school. That is the way out.

        • 3
          0

          Amaran,

          I am an outsider and have less information than you. I agree with what you wrote.

          By increasing the cut the Trustees can hopefully force the CSI schools to change for the better. In addition the alumni and parents should make RTI requests to obtain financial reports, the constitutions of the schools, minutes of the board meetings etc.

          The CSI schools are not meant to be charities living on only Trustee money. The parents pay fees and alumni support is needed. I have been told that JC charges an admission fee of about 55,000 and annual fees of about 4,500. Alumni and others have donated money for JC for repairs, computers etc. For the collapsing infra a lot more is needed.

          The Boards of the schools together with the Trustees, parents and alumni should stop principals and the Bishop from building houses, buying or leasing new vehicles, pointless traveling etc when basic infra is collapsing. The schools should have a clear budget showing how much money is available from the Trustees, fees and alumni and these funds should be spent for the long term benefit of the students and staff. At the moment the schools are sort of an ATM for the staff and possibly part of the money leaks to the Church of South India.

  • 6
    0

    This hoodlum Thiagarajah is not a priest, he is a bum and trouble maker.

    • 3
      2

      Tamil from the north,

      Dr Thiagarajah may be a bum and troublemaker among many other things. Unfortunately he is the only Bishop JDCSI has and as a reasonably young man can continue as the Bishop for many, many more years. I have no idea of who might take over after him but assume that finding a competent and honest successor might be impossible.

      • 5
        0

        Lone wolf, thanks for your wonderful comment. This is the problem with this country. They never have a succession plan for anything. Yes, you are right and it is about time someone dealt with this. Isn’t this the same fellow who is a close friend of Douglas Devananda?

        • 2
          0

          Tamil from the north,

          I am not sure about the background of the Bishop but there are claims that he is former Hindu, former Methodist, former non-LTTE (TELO??) militant and a former LTTE supporter. The cloud of money going missing has followed him during many years.

          What is known is that he is at the moment close to Sumanthiran and worked some years in Hong Kong.

          If you try to find information on line you will end up with very little.

  • 4
    0

    CT Jaffna Desk,

    Thank you for following up this case.

    May I suggest that you in a similar manner follow other important Jaffna cases like, for instance, water problems, NPC corruption and Jaffna University.

    RTI requests filed by CT might reveal lots of information that the public has the right to study.

  • 3
    0

    Trustees,

    It appears that the 20 % cut in funding has not made any difference. Please increase the cut. I have not heard of any hardship to the staff or students.

  • 9
    0

    This is disappointing news for us who would like to see these once great institutions continuing to be places of scholarship. This is becoming true of ALL the schools run by the Traditional Protestant Churches. Their adherents are so few now – unlike in the case of the Roman Catholic schools. Not many understand this. Yesterday I listened to Comrade Vickremabahu trying valiantly to say that say that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’s statements about non-harassment should not be taken to mean that there have been no attacks on “Protestant Churches”. Good man, Bahu, but things have changed so much! The groups being harassed are the “Evangelical Churches” – not a lot that I like myself: the guys who elected Trump!

    The Traditional Churches, especially the Anglican, now seem to exist to benefit a handful of clergy – going by the transfers of clergy lined up for January 2018. The parents of the schools (obviously 80% non Christian) go along with this because at least these are schools which educate students of all backgrounds in the same place. I am from the South, and my comments relate mainly to the four S. Thomas’ Schools. Many decent parents think that it is in these schools alone that their children can get educated as “Sri Lankans” – irrespective of religion and ethnicity. By and large they are right, but they don’t realise the extent to which they are propping up a Church Establishment that only looks after itself.

    These are very general comments. I shall post, “insha Allah”, more specific details of what is happening later today. I have written three articles under my real name on the subject; if it becomes apparent that some “whistle blowing” is the only way out, I regret that it will have to be done.

    • 4
      0

      On the background of scholars, Sinhala Man is a case in the point made in my comment.

    • 11
      0

      I am driven inexorably to the conclusion that The Anglican Church of Ceylon lacks confidence in its ability to run its schools democratically. As a way out, the strategy appears to be putting priests in charge of the Boys’ Schools. They couldn’t find one for Trinity.

      There is a common perception that there aren’t suitable Christian laymen in the teaching profession in Sri Lanka to satisfy the requirements. Society’s acceptance of such a mind set becomes a self-fulfilling attitude. I would myself be quite happy with a serious and committed Educationist who is not a Christian.

      I have limited knowledge of the S. Thomas’ School in Kollupitiya, but I have studied in the other three schools. I am a Member of three Old Boy’s Associations. By and large the Mt Lavinia school is doing well; one reason is that they are adequately represented on the Board of Governors. The other three (“Branch”) schools resemble a shambles. This is the last article that I wrote on the subject: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/

      I visited the Gurutalawa school a week ago, and was disappointed to hear that the Headmaster has managed to work out his transfer to the parish of Kotte, so as to educate his sons at Mt Lavinia. I am still active in the Executive Committee of the Bandarawela school, and so I shall wait for the next ExCo Meeting on the 7th of July. Two days ago I emailed the entire ExCo, asking them to amend the quite ridiculous Constitution. I also insisted that the quorum requirement for the meeting be met.

      Regrettably, it won’t be possible for me to tell you what happens then, since all comments now have to come in within ten days. Fair enough; that’s how it is with most websites worldwide.

      (296 words)

      • 4
        0

        Sinhala Man,

        Thank you for your ideas. Sad to hear that even Anglican schools in the South are facing a crisis. The leadership of the Church should understand the concerns of the students, teachers and the alumni. If they are adamant there will be no change.

      • 4
        1

        No, I won’t have to wait until the next meeting of the Executive Committee of the BOA.

        My email to its Membership has already evoked two absurd reactions. I will tell you about them as soon as I get back to Bandarwela. At this moment I am in Chilaw. Tonight in Mannar: places that I have never before visited. I’m sending this from my mobile phone.

        Back home on Wednesday.

        • 0
          0

          I have said above: “No, I won’t have to wait . . .”

          All that this narrative reveals is the hay-wire thinking that prevails. The “Rules of the BoG” specify that there should be an “Old Boys’ Association” in each school, but only Gurutalawa happens to have an acceptable constitution. Among the suggested changes (that I had e-mailed all ExCo Members) was an appeal to simplify the procedure for nominating Office Bearers. Nobody reads!

          By the end of May, we had all been sent a nomination form, together with notice of the 12th August 2017 Annual General Meeting. Proposer, Seconder, and Nominee all had to physically sign the form, together with the MEMBERSHIP NUMBER. I got my re-nomination as a Vice President signed (wrong order!) by a Tissa Liyanage, turned up at the ExCo meeting on the 3rd of June, and asked if one of those present would second. The Secretary, Theekshana, happily took over the role of Seconder, then confessed that he didn’t know his membership number. My nomination of Tissa L. went unseconded. Form subsequently returned to Tissa.

          Lo, and behold, on the 24th of July I get a telephone call, while on my excursion, from Secretary, Theekshana, saying that he was withdrawing his seconding signature. Tissa had taken the form along to Theekshana for seconding and submission, and the latter had obliged. But then, Theekshana had decided that he was nominating nobody.

          My contention: it is sensible for the Secretary to desist from endorsing anybody’s papers since many would use it as an easy option. However, once accepted, the Secretary couldn’t allow the said Theekshana to handle the papers – even if they were one and the same person.

          What a storm in a teacup! Pardon boring narrative.

  • 13
    0

    We must separate two different issues that eventually impact on each other. The old scholarly base in Jaffna was founded on middle level teachers, not necessarily graduates, who had an appreciation of scholarly values. They encouraged children to read widely, particularly in English. I was fortunate to experience that in Jaffna in the 1950s and the early 1960s. Often the children of such teachers became scholars of merit. Jaffna and this country as a whole have lost it. In Jaffna University such values are almost extinct. That is why talk about self-determination is largely futile.

    The mission schools, if they wish, could find a way out of this mess. There are people around if we want to build up standards. Then we have to be committed and unorthodox. The vice principal above, appointed and left without an appointment letter, is a highly talented lady, a first rate musician and an academic of high standing. Although badly in need of teachers for English Literature, Jaffna University did not want her. Here we have to deal with the problem of mediocrities in authority feeling threatened. It is because of the lady’s own commitment that Jaffna still has her services in a deserving sphere.

    There are a significant number of talented persons hanging on in Jaffna despite being ill-used. One way local bosses who feel threatened keep them at bay is remote control – by persons who have no direct interest here, whether for themselves or their children. The local powers know how to keep them flattered and happy. The University bosses rely on the UGC and politicians. I am sorry that some of the persons mentioned in the article are playing this role in Jaffna College, Uduvil Girls’ College and in a wider sphere, perhaps partly in ignorance.

    • 6
      0

      Dr Rajan Hoole,

      Thank you for your comment and information.

      I have no knowledge of who the new vice principal of Jaffna College is but I wonder if one person would be able to bring change alone. Of course she has the right to try and I appreciate her decision to stay in Jaffna.

      I have always had the impression that the Colleges of Education exist for training teachers. A degree from a university does not make anybody a good teacher.

      As to the ignorance of persons mentioned in the article I unfortunately increasingly believe that they are motivated by something else than ignorance.

    • 5
      0

      Thank you Rajan Hoole. I agree with your comments on the lady Vice Principal too.

    • 1
      0

      Thank you Rajan Hoole.

  • 7
    0

    Sinhala_Man,

    Thank you for your comment and your continuing interest in the northern problems.

    I assume that we no longer can comment on your articles because of the new 10 day limit for comments.

    My limited experience from RC institutions is that they have reasonable administration. RC church is a global institution that needs a clear administration like a multinational corporation. The various NRC institutions are like a pack of lone wolves with their own rules.

    You are correct about the NRC schools having problems in all of SL and there should be more control by the Ministry of Education. However as far as I know only Uduvil Girl’s College and Jaffna College receive most (70%?) of their funding from abroad. This funding is about 100 million rupees every year. Apparently the money has been sent without sufficient controls creating an environment of abuse. The staff is paid even when the academic results and the numbers of students have been sinking. During the war this was maybe acceptable but the war ended years ago.

    What is the solution? Ministry of Education should control who can be employed by the private schools as teachers. There should be minimum requirements for the academic staff. Private schools should provide their accounts for auditing annually.

    In the case of Uduvil and Jaffna College money should talk. The Trustees must demand change! They finally have but stronger action is needed.

  • 1
    0

    “Administrative Malpractices Continue At Jaffna College Despite Fund Cuts By Trustees”
    Administrative lapses are easy to put right. There was a time when heads rolled over Administrative malpractices”. No more! Et tu Jaffna College?
    Administrative malpractices are often signs of corruption.

  • 10
    0

    Ben Bavinck has been mentioned above as anti-Thiagarajah biased. Ben was horrified by what he saw in the break-up of the CSI as an insider concerned about the future of the missions, and Jaffna College where he had worked many years and knew the leading personalities intimately. He spent many very difficult war years living in the Puttur Mission as an ordinary cycling Jaffna Man. When it came to a successor to Bishop Jebanesan the long maturing institutional crisis came to a boil. Bavinck like many others found the alternative to Thiagarajah unacceptable. Given the stalemate, it was a time for cooling off. But Jebanesan became party to Thiagarajah’s unusual ordination in a private ceremony in India by several bishops, rather than publicly by the outgoing bishop in Jaffna – which is reminiscent of the recent official induction of the present Uduvil Principal.

    Bishop Ambalavanar’s support for Tamil Nationalism during the LTTE years, placed the small church in a larger-than-life role, hard for his successors to sustain. Ben did not criticise Thiagarajah as unsuitable, but mainly the plight in which the process placed the church. From a close friend and leading Theologian based in Madurai, intimately familiar with the inside workings of the CSI, he learnt that large sums of money had changed hands.

    In Jaffna itself Thiagarajah taking control in 2006 created pandemonium which Ben found shocking. When the head of a children’s home was replaced, the children were upset and many wanted to be taken away. Similar confusion reigned in Uduvil Girl’s College when the new Bishop tried to sack the Principal Sherine Mills; many people were angry when she was unceremoniously insulted in court by the senior lawyer named above. Ben’s attitude came from deep concern and not from power-play. (Continued)

  • 9
    0

    Most of us who were educated in Jaffna have some tie to Jaffna College, either familial or through our teachers. The institution looms large in the history of education in Jaffna. It needs to be rescued from its present state. To start with one cannot avoid the question of the Church needlessly split. Bishop Jebanesan told me that in 2006, he had counselled the group that wanted to split not to do so and to stay within and fight out their differences. Many observers see no real reason why they want to be divided. A friend who is an insider through his close family ties over several generations, explained that the split group claimed to want to abandon the episcopal model (involving bishops) and go back to the congregational model (reformed tradition of autonomous congregations within a church), one having the more democratic organisation of the original American missionaries from New England. The members of the split church (CACM or Church of the American Ceylon Mission) and its ministers, my friend told me, continue in general to be episcopal in outlook, and don’t really understand what congregationalism involves. The ministers, he observes, continue to be attracted by titles of authority.

    The way forward for Jaffna College, many feel, is for the churches to reunite, for which the split group would have to accept Bishop Thiagarajah’s leadership in some modified form, and broaden leadership positions and powers to make reunion workable. That seems to be the way forward for well-wishers. The alternative would be many more years of creeping decline.

    • 5
      0

      I have posed this question of reuniting to several of my friends. Most of them say it is possible after the retirement of Bishop Theigarajah. The main reason for the split was nothing other than the ego clashes between Bishop Thiegarajah and Rev. Jeyanesan. Bishop Jebanesan’s inability and incompetence lead to this split.

  • 8
    0

    Dear Rajan Hoole,

    The split has caused severe damage to Jaffna College. No doubt. The split could have been avoided. But I am not very sure this is the right time for a reunion. The authoritarianism of the Thiagarajah camp has risen to such an extent that Thiagarajah himself is not in control of his extended family and some of his followers.

    Two examples – Bishop’s brother – apparently he is the Vice President of the JDCSI. When the Bishop is the Chairperson of JDCSI his brother being its Vice President shows that there is no democracy inside the church. It is very much like the Rajapaksa regime. His wife too wields a lot of power in the various organizations and institutions run by the JDCSI. People also say there are conflicts between the Bishop’s wife and brother over power and positions inside the Church. His brother, it was reported, was found dishonest in his dealings with his clients in a construction project in Colombo that he undertook. There were credible allegations of sexual abuse against the brother too. Many think his brother is groomed for the Bishop’s position. A reunion between JDCSI and CACM should happen on the condition that the Bishop’s brother will have no prominent place in the affairs of the Church.

    Inside JC, it is Chandran Francis, the Deputy Principal, who is creating trouble. He has a history of interfering in and disrupting the work done by other administrators including principals. The present Principal is scared of him; the Bishop is scared of him. Nobody knows why everybody fears him so much. Bishop is in some way or the other obligated to Chandran Francis and unable to snap his ties with him. Francis is going to be at Jaffna College for the next 10 years or more. He will not allow any changes that would make the school more democratic. These are some practical difficulties – some liabilities for the Bishop even if he wants to change his approach. These individuals’ proximity to the Bishop will be an obstacle to a reunion between the two groups. If the split had not happened, it is possible these individuals would have been non-entities.

    • 2
      0

      Amaran,

      I am confused. Is the brother of the Bishop a reverend and a businessman?

      If Francis really has assaulted at least two members of the staff, pelted stones at the houses of people he dislikes and is otherwise the bully at JC I can understand that people are afraid of him. Is there not a serious risk that he will be the next principal? How to clip his wings? Are there any known weaknesses?

      I expect that we will know more after the next decision the Trustees make regarding the cut in funding.

  • 1
    2

    I read all comments with much interest. Many things are getting confused in the main matter. No one is able to tell that now only both schools have strict financial regulations. I understand the Trustees themselves appointed Ernst & Young as the auditors. They did a financial survey first before the audit. It is crystal clear that audit reports for the years 2015 and 2016 have already been done (perhaps sent). As a person knowledgeable of the affairs at Jaffna College, I know for sure a year’s audit goes by next (following) year October or so. If 2016 audit has gone it is nothing but a system hat is in place. Why do we not talk about it?
    Jaffna College and Uduvil, ever since new principals assumed duties, have performed well both in academic and extra-curricular activities. Let us bring these to light.
    I pose a question as to how many teacher appointments have been done since this change? I believe hardly any! Le us check the facts first.
    I too thought like what few of these did. But when I chose and got an appointment to meet with the bishop, my “thought-world” (perceptions) changed 100%. I appeal all to do the same.
    Let us not bring any other issue lest our aim is lost. For me, the college are well-run. Students and staff are happy. Personal issues do not matter here. People are delighted to know that the ‘never painted’ library is being done now. A remarkable effort by those interested in Jaffna College. Likewise, we also do do and make the institutions bright and significant. I chose not to hurt any one.

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      Shan,

      Nobody including the Trustees said academic performance was low at Jaffna College. Also, most people who live in Jaffna know that it is the tuitories that contribute to the academic performance of most schools in Jaffna including the top ones like Jaffna Hindu and Vembadi. If the performance of Uduvil has gone up since the new Principal was appointed, the credit should still go to Mrs. Shiranee Mills because it has not been a year since Mrs. Mills was forced to retire. Not a single batch has taken their A/Levels at Uduvil since Mrs. Jebamohan became the Principal. So on what basis do you say that it is because of Mrs. Jebamohan that the academic performance has improved at Uduvil?

      • 3
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        Indrani,

        I have heard (might be wrong) that during the last years the results at Jaffna College have been decreasing. The problem for JC and possibly for Uduvil is that when similar or higher results can be achieved at the nearest government school free of charge many parents choose the other schools. I have seen some JC Prize giving reports and it looks like there are about 30% less students than some years ago.

        • 1
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          I do not have any verified information about recent examination results at Jaffna College. I do not think there is a decline. But if the students are doing well in the exams, it is in spite of the poor quality of education given by the teachers who are with irrelevant qualifications. I also do not know much about enrollment in the recent years.

    • 3
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      Shan,

      The following teachers were appointed without due procedure after Rev. Dr. Solomon became Principal at JC:
      1. Mrs S. Prasanna (member of the CSI church from the Vanni -some say a great teacher – some say not so good)
      2. Mr. F.K. Shelton (an old boy whose support the Bishop needed at the time played a major role in the appointment)
      3. Miss. J.A. Mithiraranjan (mother retired teacher – appointment was made after her retirement – parents are still members of CACM)
      4. Mrs. D. Daniel (The wife of CACM priest who moved to the JDCSI recently. Appointment made after the switch)
      5. Mrs. E.M. Antony (The wife of the priest who lodged a complaint against the Bishop Thiagarajah’s rival candidate Rev Jeyanesan during Bishop elections)
      6. Mrs. D.T. Jeyarajan (Father, mother both teachers and retired and both continue to work at JC post-retirement. Father was Treasurer when the church split occurred. Switched to JDCSI in 2014. Afterwards this appointment was made)
      7. Mrs. S. Jeyamohan – Dance graduate who also teaches Tamil in the upper school
      8. Mr. R. Rajendra – who left JC because underpaid – mentioned in the above report
      9. Ms. J.R. Devasagayam – Vaddukoddai JDCSI – both parents were employees at JC. Mother retired recently owing to illness – has BSc degree but teaches English

    • 2
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      Shan,

      This is not only about the money. The Trustees for Jaffna College who mostly finance Uduvil and Jaffna Colleges have clearly expressed their concerns as late as in March 2017. They even cut the funding by 20%. The latest letter from the Trustees I have read says that there has not been enough progress with the implementation of the Master Plan, many questions remain unanswered and even the audited financial statements they received for 2015 were only a draft. If I remember correctly the dead line for audited statements for 2016 is end of June 2017.

      What the Bishop and the Boards have sent for the Trustees after March 2017 is unknown for us outsiders.

      The fact remains that the Trustees will soon decide on how they will continue.

      • 0
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        Outsiders cannot speculate on the content of the letters sent to the Trustees. The Trustees should release those documents to the public. It will also help the Trustees, who may not know much about the day-to-day happenings at Jaffna College and how they relate to the larger concerns they have raised in their letters because of their location, become aware of through the alumni and staff if and how the Boards implement what they pledged in their letters.

  • 4
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    Shan,

    The next time you visit Vaddukoddai, please make a visit to the school as well and take a look at the timetable and see if the teachers are teaching right subjects. For instance, see how many teachers who teach Science, English and Tamil in the upper school have relevant qualifications.

    Painting the library needs to be welcomed. But it is done by the Alumni. The major problem in the library is not the absence of paint but the dust. Glass walling the upper floor and air conditioning the place is the solution to the problem. Otherwise the books will get destroyed. Most of them are already in tatters. The Bishop is good at doing things in a superficial way and not acting on the deep-rooted problems.

    About the finances, we will get to know the details from the Trustees very soon. The Bishop is a great talker. Even the Trustees thought he and Vijula Arulanantham were wonderful in 2014 when they attended the Trustees’ meeting – the following year the perception changed when they looked at all the facts. You need to check next year or so if the Bishop implemented what he promised you at the meeting.

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    Indrani,

    About the staff my worry is more their competence not following due process (what ever it is at JC?) or whether they are related to existing staff.

    Based on http://www.jaffnacollege.lk it appears that the dusty library did not have a single computer with internet for the students. If this is true I wonder where the boarders and children who have no computer and internet at home can learn IT, how to search information, write their reports etc? Are there going to be computers and new books in addition to paint?

    From what I have read it looks like the existing funds are being spent on wrong things like a bungalow for the JC principal and vehicles for the principals. In the latest JC Prize giving report were intentions of employing a human resources manager and an assistant for implementing the Master Plan. Should not the principal be able to handle these himself like before and if the funds exist should they not be used for real priorities?

    • 1
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      From the very little I know about secondary education in Ceylon, I do not think students necessarily need the internet do their assignments. It is good to encourage students to read books rather than relying on the internet for the expansion of their knowledge. Most schools in the rural areas of Ceylon may not even have a single computer that students can access. IT is taught at Jaffna College. The IT lab may have some computers with access to the internet. Investing in the library and promoting a reading culture in the schools is important. I hope the alumni of the schools will support these efforts without limiting their contribution to painting the walls of the library.

      The bungalow and the vehicles are completely unnecessary.

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        Indrani,

        It is true that most schools in rural Sri Lanka have no computers and no internet. It is also true that the students should read.

        The problem is that Jaffna College is a private school that receives a lot of money from the USA and from the parents. Because of this it should offer better facilities than other schools.

        An IT lab with about a dozen PCs was donated by a bank some years ago. Many computers no longer work and only very few ever had an internet connection and even that is slow.

        The principal appears to have a small Suzuki. Who approved of the lease?

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        Indrani, you have raised a point that is going to figure more and more in discussions of education – if the human race survives at all!

        I think that it is definitely harmful to have children growing up in an environment which is dominated by electronic gadgetry. I know two children who have reached the age of five and cannot use language at all, and cannot maintain eye contact with real people, because they were abandoned to the Television.

        I have two grand-daughters, aged four and two. My daughter and her husband forego almost all T.V. themselves, but we know that the kids can’t grow up totally different from others in our society. My daughter has turned herself in to a full-time mother and educator of her children, until they start attending a normal, but carefully selected school.

        As for the Internet, the possibilities for learning are endless. I learnt so much from radio myself, but I’ve turned in to a bit of a loner. And such learning is only for older children. Books have to used in the early stages. Last year I carefully studied the library at S. Thomas’ Gurutalawa. A senior teacher and I had meticulously decimal indexed the 20,000 volume library there in 1967 and 1968. All those books are gone now – nobody knows where, and nobody is bothered!

        Also, during the last six months I have noticed that many newspapers have begun demanding subscription if we are to access on-line beyond a certain point. The Guardian based now in London, is warning against the trend, and is asking for voluntary public support. I have no money to give!

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    Thank you Indrani for the information that you shared. Thiyagarajah should realize he cannot fool all the people all the time. Intelligent and honest people will not trust him for long. If someone backs Thiyagarajah for long that person is either corrupt like Thiyagarajah or ignorant (by the way Thiayagarajah is an intelligent fellow). Wonder if Sumanthiran is corrupt or ignorant.

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    Shan,
    Are you a plant of the Thiagarajahs?

    You wrote: “For me, the college are well-run. Students and staff are happy. Personal issues do not matter here. People are delighted……… “

    You seem to live in an alternate fantasy world that the Trustees and most rational people haven’t figured out yet.

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    Dear Trustees,

    Please release or get the Board of Directors to release the constitution to the alumni representative. In Thiagarajah’s mobocracy (not democracy), even Board members do not know what is in the constitution. Isn’t it a simple but clear example that Thiagarajah does not care one iota for democracy and transparency?

    Dear Shan,

    Can you explain to the readers the many things that are confused in the main matter? Indrani has responded to your comments with facts and reason.

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    BREAKING NEWS!!!!

    Jaffna College Prize Giving 2017 Report was published today.

    The English is worse than before and the report is thin.

    Not a single word about the cut in funding or appointments of staff except the infamous Deputy Principal and the new female Junior Vice Principal.

    The library has been painted with funds from alumni in Canada but my observation today was that one wall was not painted at all. An example of the English: “Our library has been painted on the outeside for the first time. Inside was also painted and varnished and repairs have been mad with the help of Canadian Alumni.”

    The number of students has increased from 1271 to 1300. Out of these 185 are Christians and this is likely a higher percentage than before. I will try to find earlier reports to verify if there is an increase in Christians.

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      Realist,

      The side of the library facing the police station has not been painted. Lack of time?

      Thanks for your comments.

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    I’m back in Bandarawela, after that brief Mannar visit. My thanks to Amaran, Lone Wolf, and Rajan Hoole for being appreciative of my efforts to understand what is happening in the North.

    Our Sinhalese dominated government has done so little ensure justice for those innocents Up North who suffered because of the campaign of violence and bloodshed carried on by the horrible Tigers, and their blood-thirsty leaders. The reports of “Peace Keeping” in Haiti ought by now to have convinced all Sri Lankans that our armed forces were far from exemplary. You are fortunate in a sense that the American Mission has been sending you so much money that parents have to pay as little as 4,500 rupees per year as fees. In Uva, the Anglican schools have both Sinhala and Tamil streams. English standards are as low as they NOW are in Jaffna. Fees: around Rs 6,000/= per month, plus the ubiquitous “Private Tuition”. The top International and Private Schools in Colombo are different. Fees very much more.

    Thanks Rajan Hoole for showing the difference between Congregationalism and Episcopalianism. I have studied carefully the background of Rev. Richard H. Huleatt. What sort of congregation is it that now supports the Jaffna schools? I ended up here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Church_of_Windsor

    Clearly those early settlers made their mistakes around 1630. Take time and think how long ago that was. Shakespeare had been dead only 14 years; Cromwell’s Revolution was still 18 years away. Today, they have evolved in to very democratic and caring organisations. That is why they are helping you so much. The politics of ethnicity play in your favour in this instance – and I am happy about it. The Boston donors are clearly not those who voted for Trump.

    To be continued: 293 words.

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    Realist,

    Whoever you are, many thanks for the very insightful and informative comments that you have posted here. Please keep posting whatever information you gather about Jaffna College and share it with trustworthy alumni members in Vaddukoddai, Colombo or abroad. You can also directly inform Rev. Rick Huleatt about the problems. His email address can be found in the document (go to pc6 in the pdf) that this link would take you to.

    http://portlandmaine.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/2133?fileID=8358

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      Thanks, Realist, for guiding me to the e-mail address.

      Yes, I have written a brief note to Rev. Richard Huleatt, identifying myself as the “Sinhala_Man”.

      By the way, for many new readers: most regular readers know my name, and now much more about me. At first there were some people who were convinced that I was a Tamil masquerading as a Sinhalese.

      By now, most know that I haven’t got even an elementary knowledge of Tamil, although I advocate trilingualism. We must start by being honest with ourselves.

  • 6
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    Continued:

    The Trustees in Boston have said much about the need for Governance Committees and Director Boards to have qualified persons without conflicts of interests who represent the various stakeholders. What will strike Jaffna folks immediately is the absence of parent representation in the Thomian Board. A majority of the fifteen members are appointed by the Bishop; only three can be non-Christians. That 80% rule stems from 1930 and can only be changed by an act of Parliament. Please see my article referred to above to understand the cheating over electing the sole representative of the staff, and note the lack of qualifications.

    Civil Society seems to be much more concerned in Jaffna than here, and when things go wrong there is a good deal of world coverage. Not so here. Actually there is to be a massive apolitical demonstration later today, against the Uma Oya Disaster; I plan to join: this is a serious concern, and the Project could lead to the desertification of a huge geographical area.

    The Thomian Board is now two short of the fifteen it ought to have. No University representation after Prof Amal Kumarage the Road Constructor from Moratuwa University quit in disgust at the unconcern of the Board about classroom work. Another Board Member died six months ago. My year old articles will indicate how Colombo and Wealth Centred the Board is – and even the OBAs. Too many times have I heard it said that the Board “owns” the schools. Perhaps the Colombo Diocese does, but to me the present students are the key persons. The sole task set for the alumni is to collect funds – which is happening effectively in Gurutalawa, but not at all in Bandarawela, where only the Headmaster matters.

    294 words

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      We can no longer know who the Members of the BoG of S. Thomas’ are. I think that this is deliberate policy. The Mt Lavinia site no longer displays such details, or even the texts of the “S. Thomas’ College Ordinance” and the “Rules of the Board of Governors”. They are still available at Bandarawela and Gurutalawa websites. Even if you have nothing to do with these schools, please download these; I’m pretty sure that this is a sign of the things to come.

      The names of Governors are out-dated by anything from two to five years. Some are no longer living. I know that R. Renganathan still is on the Board, but in a different capacity. The Mt Lavinia Staff Representative is Channa Asela de Silva, a one-time teacher. I have his telephone number and have spoken to him. Also, I now know that Ven. Perry Brohier, Archdeacon for Colombo is also on the BoG. Nobody bothers to find out.

      Thank God that the Jaffna public are more vigilant.

      There are plans afoot to have me banned from even entering these schools, except may be on days when there are Annual General Meetings of the Old Boys’ Associations. If you see reports of things going wrong in these schools, please comment as intelligently as you can. Those comments will matter!

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    Sinhala_Man,

    Plans are afoot to bring in Mr. Rajan Asirwatham to the Board of Directors of Jaffna College. We hear that RA is a prominent member of the Anglican church and a member of the Board of Governors of St. Thomas’ College, Mt.Lavinia.

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      More establishment clones from Colombo to protect a corrupt and incompetent local establishment?

      There are after all old students of Jaffna College/ Uduvil/ Udupiddy, who have made their mark in education, now living in Jaffna, who could be used in many ways to give the schools life and colour: Prof. V. Tharmaratnam, Prof. S. Pathmanathan, Prof. S. K. Sitrampalam, Prof. Prince Jeyaratnam, Vasuki Rajasingam, Prof. Noble Surendran

    • 3
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      Anbu,

      I try to stick to what I know for certain, so yes, Rajan Asirwatham very much represents the S. Thomas’ Establishment, and I certainly see that Establishment as a very difficult nut to crack open! He is also on the BoG of Bishop’s College, and he has all sorts of other positions, including in the Colombo Diocesan Council.

      There is just one S. Thomas’ Board, looking after FOUR schools. In every sense Mt Lavinia is the main school, and has adequate representation on the Board. Websites have kept changing and right now, to understand the administrative structure of the schools I suggest this site:

      http://stcboba.org/college/board-of-governors.php

      You’ve got to study the STC BoG Ordinance (which only Parliament can change) and Rules of STC BoG (which can be changed easily enough, but isn’t). “The Branch Schools” are grossly under-represented. I’ve given you a link to the third article that I wrote, and you can work backwards from it to the other two – if you can spare so much time.

      Sometimes one wonders if there is deliberate obfuscation; I’ll try to provide answers to specific details if asked. However, to provide what most readers seem to be wanting, there are the books that this man, also a Thomian, has written about “The Hilton Hotel Scandal”:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihal_Sri_Ameresekere

      Rajan’s brother, Balan Asirwatham was my classmate; that notwithstanding I would give you negative views, if I was sure. As it is, please see whatever others have said when commenting.

      My opinion: RA, if put on the Board, will ensure that all gets covered up!

      262 words

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        Sinhala_Man,

        “My opinion: RA, if put on the Board, will ensure that all gets covered up!”

        Thank you for the opinion and background information on RA. I believe that bringing in new persons will not help unless the CSI schools react positively to the demands from the Trustees.

        The Trustee demands make a lot of sense for the CSI schools but at the same time more regulation for all private school including the international schools is needed. As far as I know the Trustees have not approached the MOE Private School Branch who is supposed to be the regulator of the CSI schools.

        The subsidy from the Trustees is about rs 40,000 for each student or 900,000 for each teacher at Jaffna College.

        You are correct about the good coverage CT Jaffna Desk provides for local problems.

        Impressive demo you had yesterday!

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    One of the problems is that various documents are not available even for the alumni representative of the Board of Jaffna College. The Constitution of Jaffna College is among them.

    I have sent Rev Solomon who is the principal of Jaffna College several e-mails during the last months about who are the officers in charge of Right to Information at the school. He has not replied. I have written that he is the information officer in case nobody else has been appointed.

    What should I do when a school is a public authority and refuses to provide contacts of the RTI officers? Jaffna College is registered with the Ministry of Education and thus a public authority.

    Should I report this to the RTI Commission?

    I can of course send a registered letter to Rev Solomon but what to do if there is no reply?

    Thank you.

    • 2
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      RTI Oldboy,

      Thanks for your efforts. If you are trying to get information pertaining to the school through RTI, maybe you should mention the Principal as the information officer and pose your queries (I don’t think there are any information officers at JC). Rev. Solomon does not seem to respond to queries posed by anyone. Maybe he thinks he has to get permission from the person who lives in the Bungalow on the other side of the road. Maybe the person who lives in the Bungalow on the other side of the road has not granted permission to Rev Solomon to respond to your emails.

      I do not know what the Act requires the public to do when they do not get the necessary information from the relevant authorities. Perhaps, you should send a letter by registered post first (for your record) and later inform the RTI that you were not given information.

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    RTI Oldboy !
    Why not send an e-mail in Tamil to Rev. Solomon the Principal of JC. I am sure he can read Tamil better than English.

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      Buruwa,

      I don’t think it is appropriate to mock someone’s lack of English skills even if that person has failed in his duties in every respect. Rev. Solomon is a weak leader. But he is a down to earth person who would not play out money or act in a pompous way like some of his predecessors. If there had been trustworthy, honest people on the Board and efficient and committed people as a Deputies, Jaffna College would have flourished under his leadership. Unfortunately, he is in a dangerous trap now. The Bishop who is above him in hierarchy and Chandran Francis and Victor Jeyakumar who are below him in the ladder of administration are incorrigible, corrupt, indecent and dishonest thugs. As the report says, Solomon has no control over the school. Solomon, if he wants to safeguard his moral integrity, should become more assertive and work with trustworthy alumni, dedicated teachers and the Trustees in Boston. If he is prepared to challenge the Board of Directors and defy their dictum, there are so many people who are willing to throw their weight behind him because many like and respect him as a person. There is no need to show loyalty to those who are corrupt and undemocratic even if they were the ones who elevated you to the position that you are in now.

      • 0
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        Arunachalam,
        They must also learn to acknowledge mails received. No receipts are sent or written for donations, money & help given towards the college students. Where does all these funds go ? I think the school needs an urgent “facelifting” with modern qualified staff
        before it falls down to pieces.

      • 2
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        Dear Buruwa,

        Thanks for the many relevant and constructive comments that you have made.  However, this particular comment is one I wish you had not made.  A sound command of English is one that runs in certain families in Sri Lanka.  Please try to avoid saying anything which draws attention to a lack of knowledge of this foreign language.   It is ultimately true that if one traces the ancestral roots of those who use this particular foreign language effectively,  many of our forbears will be found to have co-operated with the Colonials.

        The Colonials did, of course, bring in many good things that we now take for granted.  The “Nationalists” who imagine that we can manage with only our own culture are being naive.   On certain issues all of us are naive!

        The details of what goes on in Tamil areas, I’m hazy about, but I am concerned.  While our common human heritage is what is of primary importance, there’s no getting away from the fact that you and I live in the same country and our lives are tied up with each other, one way or another.

        The Boston Missionaries may not be straightforward Anglicans.  Originally “Puritans” (please research that word), they appear to have now evolved in to “Congregationalists”  who have simple, clear values, rather like the Quakers whom I have associated with for long. Thanks, Rajan Hoole, for pointing this out.

        My personal knowledge of what’s happening relates to the S. Thomas’ Schools.   Adjective: Thomian.   If ever you see those words appearing, think of me.  I’ve just received a threat to debar me from even entering those schools.  Let’s see how these things work out!

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  • 2
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    Jaffna College Prize Giving Report 2017

    The good news:

    The WFP feeding restarted some weeks ago. I never understood why JC was excluded. There are many hungry children despite it being a private school.

    There were 161 new admissions. 112 to Grade 1. These are the highest numbers during the last years. Last year only 95 were admitted to Grade 1 and 124 to the school. If this trend continues the numbers and income of the school will grow. There is no significant increase in the percentage of Christians.

    105 students sat Grade 5 exam and 35 passed. This is a good result in rural Jaffna and much better than in the competing government schools.

    The bad news:

    Everything that they don’t mention in the report.

    The alumni have financed painting of the library (Canada) and of the floor of part of the Primary School Building (UK). A bank has financed a metal sheet roof for the place where staff parks. Who chooses these priorities and why? During years the school has concentrated on an external face lift and neglected the quality of the staff, books, computers etc. What is in the library?

    Jaffna College has a bus, a van and a three wheeler. Why a car for the principal? What was the point of building the huge new bungalow for the principal some years ago? Did the Trustees provide an advance for the bungalow?

    • 1
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      Dear Realist,

      The “Principals” (various other nomenclatures are used, “Warden” at Mt Lavinia, Headmasters in other schools), of all the Anglican Schools are very well looked after, although some, the Bishop’s College Principal, for instance, lead almost ascetic lives, and desire nothing for themselves.

      The Boys’ Schools had laymen, and they all miraculously acquired the wealth to build themselves palaces. This may be one reason why Bishop Dhilo decided to have priests in all schools. I don’t think that such priests have actually been taking bribes; but about the sacked Bishop of Kurunegala, Shantha Francis, such stories abound, especially related to Trinity College, Kandy.

      The problem is not that these Priest-Headmasters insist on being pampered; even after being allowed to live better than average Anglicans (and few Anglicans are anything below middle class), they still don’t show commitment. Not all priests are offered these perks.

      I’ve already expressed disappointment with the Gurutalawa Head leaving so as to educate his sons at Mt Lavinia. Actually, he did a better than average job while being there. On one occasion, while discussing how I could catch a bus, he he was frank enough to confess that he hadn’t travelled in any Sri Lankan bus for ten years.

      These priests remain in place only if it suits the education of their children, etc. They may run a second home in Colombo; then all travelling is on school account in largish Nissan cars that were purchased, all together, about four years ago. The official bungalows are large, and there are domestics etc. Actually, I don’t object to any of that! But nobody can question. Just look at all the details that came out in comments by various people in my three articles a year ago!

  • 1
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    Buruwa, Good questions – agree with you entirely.

    Realist – The alumni may have good intentions in funding the renovation of the library but when there is corruption alumni’s effort will only strengthen the corrupt Board.

    The previous Principal was known as a pompous person with no vision. Everything he did was superficial. Good he was not given an extension. The Trustees provided some advance when he was the Principal but I think it was to cover the arrears not paid by the school to its teachers.

    The Trustees should release all the financial statements. The public needs to know how the money was spent.

    • 2
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      Don’t they maintain a monthly account book & once a year audit system Arunachalam ? The public must know from where the money / funds comes from & where it is spent.
      I heard that the class rooms, laboratories, furnitures are in a very,very bad state. They must make the atmosphere better so that the students could study in a better environment. I am not an old student, but my ancestors did attend JC. Many years ago it was one of the leading schools in Ceylon.

      • 0
        0

        the death bell and chased Rev. Premamaraja? Thiagaraja has well planned and worked for decades to get into this position. He has made the suitable future bishops to leave srilanka.
        I think we should think new structure of church. Power should not be placed on one man. We should thrive to have good people to run the office. We should focus on how they formed the early church. We need to place good administrative people to run the church and priest should remain to be only spiritual fathers.
        Unfortunately church should take the responsibility of the mess in srilanka. Because church is worst than srilankan politics. I think we should break the structures. We Christians have to work hard to remove all evil leaders like thiagaraja from the church to bring reconciliation in this country. We need to plan to bring Christian religious leaders out of power. If the minority has changed the president of this country, isn’t it possible for godly people to have a good shepherd?

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