21 August, 2019

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Crisis At Uduvil Girls College, Jaffna – A Report

Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that under reporting in the English media of the protests held by the students, parents and the alumni of Uduvil Girls’ College, Jaffna over the retirement of the school Principal Mrs. Shiranee Mills and the attacks on the protesting students by the clergy of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI) and some teachers of the school last week has caused some disappointment and anger among the students, parents, alumni and well-wishers of the school. This commentary is offered with a view to addressing this gap.

Uduvil Girls’ College is a private school that comes under the purview of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI). The school has a well-established tradition of principals who lead the school for long periods. The most recent predecessor Dr. C.V. Selliah retired at the age of 68. There was a groundswell of opinion recently among the students, parents and the alumni of the school that the tenure of the current Principal Mrs. Shiranee Mills, who recently turned 60, should be extended for five years in view of the achievements the school produced under her leadership in education and extra-curricular activities at the district, provincial and national levels and to give her a chance to complete the remarkable process of transformation that she has initiated at the school. As per the statements issued by the Alumni Associations of Uduvil Girls’ College, Jaffna College, its partner school, the Church of the American Ceylon Mission (which claims itself as a significant stakeholder of Uduvil Girls’ College as descendant and legal heir of The American Ceylon Mission which founded the school, and because it is the conduit through whom 70% of the school’s annual funds are sent to it by its shared partners, the Jaffna College Trust), the students of the school and their parents who were interviewed by the media during the protests held at the school last week, Mrs. Mills is regarded by many as one of the most outstanding and democratic educationists to serve a school in Jaffna in the recent past.

The past pupils’ associations of the school in a joint statement issued recently after the announcement of the appointment of the new Principal say that the Executive Committee of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India has imposed a forced retirement on Mrs. Shiranee Mills when she turned 60 on the 7th of September 2016. The students of the school launched continuous protests and hunger strikes for nearly seven days against the decision made by the Executive Committee of the JDCSI. The students complain that the JDCSI has prevented them from meeting their Principal and say a proper good bye to her by postponing the re-opening of the school from the 5th of September to the 8th of September, a day after the 60th Birthday of Shiranee Mills. And Shiranee Mills was asked on the 16th of August, when the school was on vacation, to vacate her official residence on or before the 6th of September. She was given only 20 days to vacate the Mission House located inside compounds of the school.

In June, the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India had advertised a vacancy for the post of Principal of Uduvil Girls’ College on their website and in a newspaper published from Colombo. Shiranee Mills and three other applicants (the new Principal who was then the Vice Principal of the school, the new Vice Principal who was a teacher at Uduvil Girls’ College and a teacher from Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai) were shortlisted for the interviews held in Colombo in August. All candidates except Shiranee Mills were interviewed on the 14th of August and Shiranee Mills was interviewed separately the following day. On both days, the interview panel comprised the following members:

1. Mrs. Savitri Sumanthiran, wife of TNA’s Jaffna District Parliamentarian Mr. MA Sumanthiran + member of the Uduvil GC Board representing the wider Christian community in the country

2. Ms. Vijula Arulanantham, a close legal associate of Mr. MA Sumanthiran + member of the Uduvil GC Board representing the wider Christian community in the country + a prominent member of the Anglican Church

3. Dr. Mrs. Thayalini Thiagarajah, the manager of the school and the Bishop’s wife (Bishop Thiyagarajah is the chairperson of the school)

4. Mrs. Suganthy Vyrasinghe, a retired teacher of Jaffna College + member of the Uduvil GC Board representing the Old Girls. (As per the constitution of the school Board, the representative of theOld Girls should be a member of the JDCSI elected by the Diocesan Council)

5. Dr. Alexander Jesuthasan, Principal, Madras Christian College, India – External Member to the Selection Board

The minutes of the School Board dated 6 February 2016 states that the first four persons listed above along with the Bishop would serve on the “Search Committee” for the appointment of the new Principal.

TNA Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran represented the Bishop on several occasions in the past in legal disputes against Mrs. Shiranee Mills. One of these cases was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Shiranee Mills was interviewed by a team comprising Mrs. Savitri Sumanthiran and Ms. Vijula Arulanantham, two people who are closely connected to Mr. Sumanthiran who according to Shiranee Mills (as reported by Dharisha Bastians in the Daily Financial Times of 10 September 2016) has a ‘natural animosity’ towards her. One cannot ignore these key facts when looking at the allegations made by the students, parents and the alumni during the protests that Mr. Sumanthiran and his wife were either directly or indirectly responsible for ‘the forced retirement’ of Mrs. Shiranee Mills or that the selection committee was biased against Mrs. Mills.

The students who demanded the reinstatement of Mrs. Shiranee Mills as Principal of the school were verbally and physically attacked by some members of the clergy of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India and the teachers of the school. There is plenty of video evidence available online of the protests and the attacks on the students by the clergy and the teachers. The police stood watching as the attackers went on the rampage. In some instances, the Police videographed students who were leaving the school to meet the District Judge to lodge a complaint against the attackers despite repeated pleas by the parents of the school girls not to videograph their children. Students and parents argue that Police apathy shows there were attempts by politicians close to the Church to sabotage the protests by the students. In a hard-hitting statement signed by its General Secretary Jospeh Stalin, the Ceylon Teachers’ Association has vehemently condemned the attacks on the students. The statement also says that the absence of action against the perpetrators of this violence reminds the people of the totalitarian culture that existed in the country under the previous regime.

The teachers who carried out these attacks were returning to the school following the service of induction for Mrs. Patricia Suneetha Jebaratnam as the new Principal of the school held at the Cathedral church of the JDCSI located in Vaddukoddai. Previously the teachers were informed that what was to take place at the Cathedral was a retreat. But to their surprise the new Principal was inducted at this service by the Bishop even as protests were underway inside and outside of the premises of Uduvil Girls’ College by the students of the school.

As a longstanding tradition of the school, induction services for new Principals are always announced to the public let alone the teachers and students of the school in advance. Local newspapers would even carry the invitation. No such procedure was followed during this induction service probably because there was a lot of pressure on the JDCSI to call off their decision to appoint a new Principal and allow Shiranee Mills to continue. This pressure came not just from the students, parents and the alumni who were protesting in Uduvil and online but also the Wider Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Global Ministries in the USA. While Bishop Thiagarajah’s supporters claim that this is an illegal foreign interference and a form of imperialism, the students and the alumni who were protesting asserted that this intervention, whether legal or not, was extremely important to liberate the school from the totalitarian grips of the JDCSI given the nepotism and corruption within the Church and its impact on the institutions that some powerful members of the Church treated as if they were their private property. Besides the teachers of Uduvil Girls’ College and some members of the Board of Directors, the only others who were seen present at the induction service at Vaddukoddai were the administrators of Jaffna College.

In June, in his response to requests made by two old students of the school on Facebook, Bishop Thiagarajah posted that according to the government regulations it was not possible to extend the tenure of Mrs. Mills beyond her 60th birthday. When the old girls pointed out that the Principal of a private school did not need to retire at the age of 60 citing the retirement age of two of Uduvil’s previous principals as examples, he responded: “I simply want a circular from Department of Education that extension is possible”. In another comment, he noted that extension was not possible under new government regulations and that the authorities are now very strict about the age of retirement for everyone unlike in the past. But Colombo Telegraph is fully aware of the fact that there is no such law followed in Sri Lanka, new or old, that makes it mandatory for principals of private schools to retire at the age of 60.crisis-at-uduvil-girls-college crisis-at-uduvil-girls-college

From the joint statement issued by the alumni of the school, it is evident that Past Pupils’ Associations in Sri Lanka, the UK, Australia and Canada had also sent formal letters to the Bishop and the Board requesting them to extend the tenure of Shiranee Mills. The joint statement says that the Bishop neither responded to their letters nor acknowledged receipt of them even though they requested him to do so within seven days. According to the statement, the PPAs sent follow-up letters to the school Board and to the Bishop after three weeks of sending the initial letters, to which they, yet again, received no response or acknowledgement.

After placing the advertisement online and in the media, the Bishop according to Shiranee Mills had requested her to apply for extension stating that he was satisfied with her services to the school. Now some of the old students and the well-wishers of the school think that this request was in fact a trap designed by the Board for everyone in Sri Lanka and abroad who wanted Mills’ extension. As the Board kept receiving several letters from the alumni all over the world requesting him to extend her tenure for five more years, they argue that the Bishop and his group would have felt that if they created the impression that Shiranee Mills’ tenure would be extended, students and the alumni would not start protesting against the moves to appoint a new Principal initiated by the Board following the publication of the advertisement. They say that perhaps this ‘masterplan’ by the Bishop made everyone who wanted Shiranee Mills’ extension as Principal wait quietly with hope through the months of June and July when the school was in session. In August, the students, parents and the alumni found the Board’s decision to inform Shiranee Mills about her retirement just 20 days ahead of it not only unjust but also humiliating. By late August, updated profiles of the students and alumni across the world began to appear on Facebook with pictures of Shiranee Mills with the captions “WORLD’S BEST PRINCIPALS” and “We need you back.” One picture had an evocative line from the Bible: “O let there be no end to your loving mercy to those who have knowledge of you, or of your righteousness to the upright in heart” (Psalm: 36: 10)

In a statement issued to a Tamil newspaper, Shiranee Mills says that she accepted the request made by the third Bishop of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South Rt. Rev. Dr. S. Jebanesan in 2004 to lead the school. She also states that her passion to serve her people and the community made her accept the Bishop’s request. She was installed as the Principal of the school at a service held at the church next to the school. At the welcome event followed by Shiranee Mills’ installation as Principal, Dr. Chelvi Selliah, the outgoing Principal, said in her address that she always wanted Shiranee Mills to be the Principal of the school but as per the traditions of the school she thought it would be more appropriate if Mrs. Mills assumed duties on the 1st of January 2005. Even in her one-line greeting published in the Uthayan newspaper around Shiranee Mills’ appointment as Principal, she made it a point to say that Mrs. Mills would take up the Principalship of the school on the 1st of January 2005. When Shiranee Mills’ retirement was announced, some in Jaffna wondered what Dr. Selliah, a member of the Executive Committee of the JDCSI and known as a close supporter of the Bishop, would have told him and the Executive Committee when they decided in her presence that the new Principal should assume duties on the 7th of September 2016.

Though some say that the protests that took place after the announcement of the decision to appoint a new Principal were instigated by Shiranee Mills and people who are loyal to her, Shiranee Mills has denied this allegation. Several well-wishers and the alumni of Uduvil Girls’ College and Jaffna College note that this struggle by the students, parents, the alumni and the larger community based in Sri Lanka and abroad is not just about the retirement of Mrs. Shiranee Mills but also against the rampant malpractices by the JDCSI including in the appointment of administrative, teaching and non-academic appointments at Uduvil Girls’ College and other institutions that come under the Church’s purview.

As recorded in the Minutes of the school Board dated 6 February 2016, there were already moves to insist the historical practice of staff contributions towards Christian activities are entirely sent to JDCSI even though the school has had many other needs for its activities.

Staff contribution to the church: It was insisted that the school should send all contributions deducted from the staff for the church to the diocese.  Any expenditure involved for the maintenance of the chapel may be covered from the general funds of the school.

Furthermore, there are fears that in the future many of the assets of the school including its Fixed Deposits may be usurped by the Bishop and JDCSI, rather than be used to benefit the school.

Having witnessed the attacks on the protesting female students by the male and female teachers of the school loyal to the JDCSI last Wednesday, some parents of the children who actively participated in the protests in support of Shiranee Mills have genuine fears about sending their children who supported Shiranee Mills back to school. They fear retaliation by the teachers and the Church. The turn-out was very low on both Thursday (Sept 8) and Friday (Sept 9).

Reflecting on Mrs. Mills’ tenure as Principal of the school, the alumni and parents who participated in the protests see in her a strong personality who was able to withstand the intimidation and bullying, including a string of legal cases in Jaffna and Colombo by JDCSI and its powerful legal team. They also fear that under the new leadership which they think is inept and vulnerable to the manipulations of the JDCSI, this 192-year-old institution which pioneered women’s education in Asia in the early nineteenth-century may rapidly deteriorate.

Relevant Links:

Joint statement by the Past Pupils’ Associations of Uduvil Girls’ College in the UK, Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka:
http://www.ft.lk/article/566868/Global-Past-Pupils-Associations-%E2%80%93-Uduvil-Girls–College-issue-join-statement-over-recent-protests

Statement by the alumni of Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai (in Tamil)
http://www.globaltamilnews.net/GTMNEditorial/tabid/71/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/135778/language/ta-IN/article.aspx

Statement by the Jaffna College Alumni Association (Colombo Branch) (in Tamil)
http://www.tamilwin.com/education/01/117051

Statement by the Church of the American Ceylon Mission

THE CACM STATEMENT REGARDING THE CURRENT CRISIS AT UDUVIL GIRLS' COLLEGE

Publicerat av Church of the American Ceylon Mission den 8 september 2016

Statement by the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (in Tamil)
http://ctunorth.blogspot.ae/2016/09/blog-post_9.html?m=1

Dharisha Bastians’ report on the crisis at Uduvil Girls’ College:
http://www.ft.lk/article/567140/Uduvil-Girls-College-crisis–Students-petition-President

Links to videos of the protests and violence:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ6Sxq-sTrA








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Latest comments

  • 5
    1

    THE QUESTION OF INTEGRITY REGARDING Mr.THIYAGARAJAH

    I have been reading and listening to many posts on the facebook, news reports and media interviews, including one conducted by Mr.Thiagarajah of JDCSI in the last few days. One of the major issue which comes through out is the integrity and honesty of the people involved. Regarding this issue of integrity of Mr.Thiagarajah I would like to raise the following:-

    1. The following are either directly or indirectly involved in the workings of Mr.Thiyagarajah as various board members and working collques:-

    a) Rev.Dr.Daniel Thiyagarajah – So called bishop of JDCSI and the
    head of the administrative boards of Jaffna College and Uduvil
    Girls College.
    b) Dr.Mrs.Thayalini Thiyagarajah – wife of Mr.Thiyagarajah and the
    manager of Uduvil Girls College.
    c) Rev.Dr.Gunalan Thiyagarajah – Brother of Mr.Thiyagarajah and
    if I am correct a board member.
    d) Rev.Dr.Solomon – Secretary of the board and the principal
    of Jaffna College.
    e) Mrs.Sujani Rajathevan – Niece of Mrs.Thayalini Thiyagarajah
    and Asst.Treasurer of JDCSI and wife of a TNA politician.
    f) Mrs.Savithri Sumanthiran – wife of the TNA politician
    Mr.Sumanthiran.
    g) Ms.Vijula Arulanantham – legal associate of Mr.Sumanthiran.

    2. Where there has been doctorate degrees are mentioned above, I would like to know who and which educational institutions confered these doctorate degrees on the above persons and what are the titles of their doctoral dissertations.
    I have been informed that these doctoral degrees are honorary degrees bought for cash from the University of Jerusalem in West Tambaram in Chennai, India.(website: http://www.ujglobal.org).This website clearly states how these degrees can be purchased for a payment of fees without any academic work. The excuse is because of experience and recommendation.
    A transparent clarification of this will be very helpful.

    3. There is clear evidence that Mr.Sumanthiran is involved with Mr.Thiyagarajah through his wife and his associate. This goes against the claims of Mr.Thiyagarajah that Mr.Sumanthiran has no involvement in any of his administration. There are clear conflict of interests.During the same interview Mr.Thiyagarajah confirms that Mr.Sumanthiran is part of his legal advisory team.

    4. There is clear evidence of the practice of nepotism among Mr.Thiyagarjah’s team of board members and associates.
    These are some of the issues involved in the operations of Mr.Thiyagarajah which raises the question of INTEGRITY.

    • 0
      0

      Winthrop,
      Quoting your second point:
      “2. Where there has been doctorate degrees are mentioned above, I would like to know who and which educational institutions confered these doctorate degrees on the above persons and what are the titles of their doctoral dissertations. I have been informed that these doctoral degrees are honorary degrees bought for cash from the University of Jerusalem in West Tambaram in Chennai, India.(website: http://www.ujglobal.org).This website clearly states how these degrees can be purchased for a payment of fees without any academic work. The excuse is because of experience and recommendation. A transparent clarification of this will be very helpful.”

      For a transparent clarification of bogus degrees one has to only search the web or ask around!! You, yourself have supplied a website! Surely that is not difficult!

      • 0
        0

        Christie and Winthrop,
        Yes Winthrop asks for help showing a website he knows how degrees can be purchased without any academic work. Winthrop has asked clarification.

        Quoting a website to help Winthrop: Hope this will help his clarification.
        http://www.ceylonchristiancare.nl/index_files/FouJeyE.htm and found the entire material from this organization, the Ceylon Christian Care in the Netherlands has been copied in the feature.

  • 6
    1

    I am sorely disappointed with the performance of Mr Sumanthiran. We, Sinhalese, need honest politicians from the North with whom we can interact so as to build a more just Sri Lanka. I had Sumanthiran at the top of the list, but now it looks as though he’s doing all he can to stop his own people from supporting his brand of bridge-building.

    If you look carefully enough, you’ll be able to find my e-mail address, and we could forge a North-South consensus on many things. If the politicians and the religious dignitaries continue their dirty tricks, let’s leave them out.

    Of course, the more inclusive we are, the happier I will be!

  • 3
    0

    I am appalled by what I saw in the internet about the Uduvil Girls College Issue. It is so sad and disgusting to see that the Bishop or any one else had the decency to listen to the grievances of the students, that in my mind appears legitimate. All what they want is a principal who is efficient and capable and she had proved herself as a very capable leader. This being a private school, extension could be easily granted beyond 60 years and it has been done before too. Instead the Bishop and his supporters, for whatever reason, resorted to violence and shamelessly attacked the female students. How can they be of religious people and they are a disgrace to the Catholic Church.

    The so-called Bishop’s board is totally warped and filled with some body’s some body and they are there to protect their interests and perhaps cover the wrong doings. Mr Sumanthiran you are burning your fingers and making a fool of yourself. The Bishop had no honour to visit the students to discuss with them> Or are they keen to plant a puppet so that their wrong doings and manipulations may go unnoticed.

    Jaffna is just trying to recover from long years of war and now they have to wage a war against a Catholic Church which appears a worse dictatorship than Sinhala Regime under Rajapakse. Thiyagaraja and his team must think at greater interest of tamils and the community and even religious harmony in general instead of their selfish interest. This may create a new crisis among Tamils and thus they may have to face a new enemy so that the clock will once again put back.

    My view is that the students agitation is very legitimate and the government must take some action to check on the credibility of the Board of Management. In the south several rouges are being netted for plundering the people so why not this board that is so keen to chase out a good principal against popular wish.

    • 0
      2

      British PM resigns immediately, vacates number 10, within a couple of days.
      Mrs Shiranee Mills goes back from Colombo to Uduvil before last week in August to resign but clings on, but had to handover by Sep 6th to the newly inducted Principal, will not vacate till 12 Sep or only by the end of September or ????!

      This will interfere with the normal running of the school by the new Principal and interfere with the attendance of the students!! The Mission House for the current Principal in the grounds of the school is still being occupied by Mrs Shiranee Mills who still wants a hold!

      Past Pupils’ Association of Uduvil Girls’ College, please remember that there are always two sides to a story. Before you strike out at a person, remember your school motto. Uduvil Girls’ College’s motto is “The truth shall make you free”. Seek truth and speak truth.

      PPA of UGC please check the facts and do not be misled. Mrs Shiranee Mills had reached the end of her final employment contract and a new Principal was appointed. This is the norm that is followed. PPA abroad, please wake up to these basic facts

    • 0
      1

      British PM resigns immediately, vacates number 10, within a couple of days.
      Mrs Shiranee Mills goes back from Colombo to Uduvil before last week in August to resign but clings on, but had to handover by Sep 6th to the newly inducted Principal, will not vacate till 12 Sep or only by the end of September or ????!

      This will interfere with the normal running of the school by the new Principal and interfere with the studies and attendance of the students!! The Mission House for the current Principal in the grounds of the school is still being occupied by Mrs Shiranee Mills who still wants a hold!

      Past Pupils’ Association of Uduvil Girls’ College, please remember that there are always two sides to a story. Before you strike out at a person, remember your school motto. Uduvil Girls’ College’s motto is “The truth shall make you free”. Seek truth and speak truth.

      PPA of UGC please check the facts and do not be misled. Mrs Shiranee Mills had reached the end of her final employment contract and a new Principal was appointed. This is the norm that is followed. PPA abroad, please wake up to these basic facts

    • 0
      0

      [Edited out]

    • 0
      0

      Prof Nadesan,
      Your statement: “Instead the Bishop and his supporters, for whatever reason, resorted to violence and shamelessly attacked the female students. How can they be of religious people and they are a disgrace to the Catholic Church.”

      Reply:
      Please be kind enough to verify who shamelessly attacked the female students. Please leave the Catholic Church alone, they have nothing to do with this!
      Yes, how can they be of religious people, you say? Please, please find out who they were for your sake and those of others.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Prof K.Nadesan,

    I agree absolutely with the message you have sent. “The Church Dignitaries in Jaffna” ought to have acted with greater sensitivity and extended Ms Shiranee Mills’ period by two years so that all these heart-wrenching scenes wouldn’t have taken place. Your line of thinking tells me a lot about your having a good heart – and had you been in charge you would probably have said the correct things in the correct way.

    However, you are far away, and you have got your facts all muddled up! It is NOT the (Roman) Catholic Church that is involved. If you have some Jaffna Tamil friends they may be able to explain to you what the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of south India is. It’s all a bit of a joke, that Church is, but for me to explain it to you would be very difficult; it is so diffuse and esoteric.

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

    May I guess the number of adherents? One thousand, (yes, 1K, or 1,000) members. I know that you will be VERY surprised.

    Fortunately, not many will see your comment. I rather fear that the plucky girls have lost their case, and this is history. Those wanting their comments seen will be putting them down here by now:

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/uduvil-girls-college-politics-of-education-the-challenges-facing-private-schools/comment-page-1/#comment-2015096

    As for me, I’m a Sinhalese from Uva, so I know little of Jaffna problems. Please ask a guy whose origins are Jaffna Christian. Even a Catholic will tell you that you’ve really made a huge blunder owing to mis-identification; but your view point is fine.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Sinhala_Man,
      You stated, “Those wanting their comments seen, will be putting them down here by now.”
      Also you said that you are from Uva (province in Sri Lanka), and so you know little of Jaffna problems

      [Edited out]

    • 1
      0

      Sinhala_Man & Prof K Nadesan,
      Quote: “However, you are far away, and you have got your facts all muddled up! It is NOT the (Roman) Catholic Church that is involved. If you have some Jaffna Tamil friends they may be able to explain to you what the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of south India is. It’s all a bit of a joke, that Church is, but for me to explain it to you would be very difficult; it is so diffuse and esoteric.”

      What you saw – They are neither from the Catholic church nor from the JDCSI.

  • 2
    0

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/uduvil-girls-college-politics-of-education-the-challenges-facing-private-schools/

    Niyanthini Kadirgamar and Esther Surenthiraraj are researchers with an interest in education.
    The above article by Niyanthini & Esther are within quotation marks and the comments on it are below each quotation!

    “Many Christian missionary schools were established in Jaffna in the 19th century. Among them, the American Ceylon Mission (AMC) was the first to establish missionary schools and an institution for higher studies in Jaffna.“

    Time marches on.
    UGC was established in 1824 by the AMC, has had 9 Principals so far – 4 American & 5 national principals, the last one being Mrs Shiranee Mills.
    “the decision to appoint a new principal by the board which argues that the current principal has reached her retirement age.”
    The newly appointed Principal Mrs. Patricia Suneetha Jebaratnam, was previously the Vice Principal.

    There are three specific units in the school namely, the Primary, Secondary and the Further Education Programme. The school at present has approximately 1,300 students.

    “Jaffna society and its leaders were ill-equipped to deal with the resistance by schoolgirls.”
    The students of the school launched continuous protests and hunger strikes for nearly seven days. – Colombo Telegraph 11Sep 2016
    Parents who supported their children to go on hunger strike are very irresponsible not caring for their children’s health!!! The organisers of this protest are unconcerned about students’ wellbeing.
    “we see schoolgirls descending to the streets, lying in front of the school gate, challenging teachers who attempted to enter the school, and being vociferous in their demands.”
    “The girls resorted to singing familiar Tamil lyrics along with slogans of protest in spite of the violent verbal and physical abuse endured at the hands of teachers and others.”

    Without moving the students the teachers were unable to enter the school!

    “Parents and students are concerned about the quality of education.”
    “Behind the request for the extension of the term of the former principal, in addition to acknowledging her valuable contribution, is the fear of a further deterioration of the school.”
    So you accept that there has already been a deterioration in the quality of education which then has to be addressed and corrected by the newly appointed principal with the help of the Board.

    “The split within the church, which occurred due to conflicts over the appointment of the present Bishop and the formation of another church (Church of the American Ceylon Mission), further complicates the structure and management of the school.”
    Where is this new formation of another church, the Church of the American Ceylon Mission?
    “Corruption and mismanagement of educational funds can also easily creep into the institution.”

  • 0
    1

    Dharshina Emerson Duraisamy,
    You are a past pupil of UGC and a president of a PPA abroad, you are not aware of the spelling of the name of the past principal who was the first national principal!!! You have given her a foreign name.
    Please do your homework and check facts before you write to the press and not let the side down or your school motto. Thanks.

  • 0
    1

    Whatever is going on at this college, in Sri Lanka it is still legal to protest, and the protesters being schoolgirls or otherwise, it is abhorrent that teachers and members of the clergy of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India had manhandled them. It may be the norm in India, but these are Sri Lankans and are subject to Sri Lankan laws. In any teaching institution, the students are the most important subjects and they should be heard. I would urge the Education Regulatory Body to intervene.

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