23 October, 2017

Cut On The Funds To Jaffna College And Uduvil Girls’ College: Trustees Note Serious Irregularities In Administration

Colombo Telegraph now has access to a letter sent by the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds based in Boston, USA which states that the Trustees have decided to reduce the funds allocated to both Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai and Uduvil Girls’ College for the first quarter of the year 2017 by 20%.

UduvilThis letter, signed by The Rev Richard H. Huleatt, the President of the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds, was emailed on the 5th of January to the Bishop of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India The Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel Thiagarajah, the Chairperson of the Boards of Directors of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College.

Failure on the part of the two schools to submit the audited financial statements for 2015, violence unleashed on the students who were protesting against the appointment of the new Principal at Uduvil Girls’ College last year, the administrators’ failure to hold those who were involved in the violence accountable, threats of physical harm and punitive measures, recruitment of under-qualified teachers to both schools in the recent past, abuse and misuse of power and the funds sent by the Trustees , intimidation and manipulation of the teachers and the board members placing their personal interests above the welfare of the students and the school are among the reasons cited in the letter for the reduction of funds to these two educational institutions in Northern Sri Lanka.

The Trustees in their letter copied to 19 individuals including the Chief Minister of the Northern Province Justice C. V. Wigneswaran, the Education Minister of the Province Mr. T. Gurukularajah, the Principals of the schools and members of the alumni all over the world insist that 9 major reforms ensuring transparency and fairness in the areas of administration, financial reporting, and recruitment of teachers and officers be implemented before the 30th of June 2017. These reforms include independent audits of the funds utilized by the schools and internal controls, prudent and open nominations for persons to serve as directors, appointment of qualified officers and teachers, disclosure of related party transactions, avoidance of cronyism and nepotism, and regular meetings of Boards and Committees, followed by public reports of deliberations and decisions. The letter notes that the changes that they require are “consistent with governance and reporting standards that are accepted and implemented by well-run organizations worldwide, including educational institutes”. The Rev. Huleatt also observes that for the Trustees “to act responsibly as fiduciary, [their] beneficiaries should provide [them] with transparent financial reporting, demonstrate responsible governance practices, communicate cooperatively with [them]”.

Irregularities in Governance and Administration

The Trustees have requested the two Boards to send them the audited financial statements for the year 2015 and a letter detailing the steps taken by the Boards to implement the reforms proposed by the Trustees by the 15th of March 2017 and noted that failure to do so would result in the reduction of the payment for the second quarter of the year 2017 as well.

The letter also states that the Trustees arrived at the decision to reduce the funds allocated to the two schools based on credible reports about serious irregularities in the governing bodies and administration of the schools that they received from various constituents of the school community and discussions they had in October 2016 with the alumni associations of the schools, parents and teachers of Uduvil Girls’ College, senior church officials of several Christian denominations, the Governor of the Northern Province and the Minister of Education of the Province.

On the 15th of January 2017, Sunday Times reported that the Chairperson of the Boards The Rt. Rev. Dr. Thiagarajah had called the letter “a very high handed act”[i]. Even in his Charge for the 64th Session of the Jaffna Diocesan Council of the Church of South India in November 2016, the Bishop alleged that the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) Global Ministries and Jaffna College Trustees “cling blindly to their need for privilege and status in their dealings with [them]”[ii]. Quoting the Bishop, the news report that appeared in Sunday Times says that lawyers are in the process of preparing a response to the letter. The Bishop also alleged that someone with vested interest was behind the letter and that the Boards’ lawyers were drawing up a defamation case. The newspaper also notes that among the counsel is Attorney-at-Law and Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran.

Almost all the members of the two Boards except Mrs. Savithri Sumanthiran (Methodist Church), wife the TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran and Ms. Vijula Arulanantham (Anglican Church), a close legal associate of Mr. Sumanthiran are members of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India. Among those who represent the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India, some belong to the same family or are closely related to one another. For instance, Bishop Thiagarajah (Chairperson) and his wife Dr. (Mrs.) Thayalini Thiagarajah and his brother Rev. Dr. Gunalan Thiagarajah are on the Board of Directors of Jaffna College. While Bishop Thiagarajah is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Uduvil Girls’ College, his wife Dr. (Mrs.) Thiagarajah is the Manager of the School. Both The Rev. Dr. D. S. Solomon, Principal of Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai and his brother-in-law Mr. R. M. Ratnarajah serve on the Board of Directors of Uduvil Girls’ College. Mrs. Sujani Rajathevan who serves on the Board of Directors of Uduvil Girls’ College is a close relative of Dr. (Mrs.) Thiagarajah. Bishop Thiagarajah is also the Manager of Jaffna College.

The letter sent by the Trustees states that the two “Boards of Directors are over-populated by members of the same inner circle rather than representatives of key constituencies such as parents, faculty and alumni”. The letter also notes that “the joint occupancy of several official positions at each college by the same person(s) leads to an unhealthy concentration of power that unchecked can undermine the educational mission”.

In explaining to the media in September about the process followed during the selection of the new Principal for Uduvil Girls’ College last year, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Uduvil Girls’ College Bishop Thiagarajah described Mrs. Savithri Sumanthiran and Ms. Vijula Arulanantham as two ladies who have contributed a lot to the area of education in their respective Churches (between 6.17 – 7.00 mins in the video).[iii] Aware of TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran’s involvement as legal advisor in the legal disputes that the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India has been facing for several years, especially after a major split in the Church over the consecration of The Rt. Rev. Dr. D.S. Thiagarajah as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese in Chennai, India in 2006, some parents and alumni of Uduvil Girls’ College wondered if Mrs. Sumanthiran’s membership on the Board of Directors of Uduvil Girls’ College was tantamount to conflicts of interest.

The parents and alumni also wanted to find out if Mrs. Sumanthiran and Ms. Arulanantham were appointed to the Board of Directors of Uduvil Girls’ College based on recommendations by the Methodist and Anglican Churches respectively. Since the Bishop invoked the Methodist and Anglican Churches in his communication with the media, they argue that it is important that the two Churches clarify whether or not they had any involvement in the appointment of the duo to the Board of Directors of Uduvil Girls’ College. The minutes of the Uduvil Girls’ College Board dated 6 February 2016 states that Mrs. Sumanthiran and Ms. Arulanantham would serve on the “Search Committee” for the appointment of the new Principal in their capacity as members of the College Board who represent “the wider Christian community” in the country. Ms. Arulanantham also serves the Board of Directors of Jaffna College as its Vice Chairperson. The Bishop and his wife ardently campaigned for the electoral victory of Mr. Sumanthiran in the parliamentary elections held in August 2015 on social media.

The Trustees of Jaffna College Funds in their letter to the Chairperson of the Board of Directors insist that the Boards of Directors of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College adopt a conflict of interest policy for the Board with required annual reports by each director. They have also required annual disclosure of related party transactions for each member of the Board. The letter delineates a related party transaction as “one in which a director derives a financial or other personal benefit from the college that could result in divided loyalty between service to college and his/her own personal interest”.

Corruption in the Church

In the meantime, the National Company Law Tribunal in India, in November 2016, removed all the office bearers and directors of the Church of South India Trust Association (CSITA) on alleged charges of misappropriation and appointed a retired judge of the High Court to look into the affairs of the organization. Bharani Vaitheesvaran reports in The Economic Times that the Church of South India Trust Association, a Chennai-headquartered charity organization that runs schools, hospitals, and earns predominantly through rental income from lands has been facing charges of alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds for about a decade now.[iv] Citing the CSI synod website, Global Christian News states that the CSITA has obtained a stay order passed by the National Company Law Tribunal.[v] The Church of South India is the second largest Christian church in India, after the Roman Catholic Church, with 24 dioceses across the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, including one in Jaffna Sri Lanka. Well-wishers of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College in Jaffna note that all required steps should be taken to protect the schools from the corruption that the Church of South India is mired in.

While Uduvil Girls’ College is a Church school, Jaffna College was envisioned as a non-denominational Christian institute by its founders. Schedule B in the 1894 Founding Ordinance of the College unambiguously states that the institution “shall be conducted as a Christian College, whose directors and instructors shall be members of any denomination of Protestant Christians”. However, all members of the current Board of Directors of Jaffna College except two (one of them is the representative of the alumni who does not have to be Protestant Christian as per the constitution) are members of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India. The constitution of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College approved at the Semi-Annual Meeting of 12-08-1989 states that the Jaffna Diocesan Council of the Church of South India shall elect six members of the Board of Directors, of whom one shall be the Bishop of the JDCSI (Article VI.2). The constitution does not state that the rest or the majority of the Protestant Christian members of the Board should also be members of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church.

Changes to the Jaffna College Board Constitution

 A document titled The CONSTITUTION of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College (as approved at the Meeting of the Board of Directors on February 26th, 2015), which is now doing the rounds online, states that the Bishop of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India shall be the Chairperson of the Board by virtue of office in a clause (Article IV – b) that according to many may weaken the non-denominational character of the school. The constitution approved in 1989 which did not have any such clause makes it clear that the Chairman of the Board is elected annually from the Board of Directors (Article XII). A by-law in the 1989 constitution that required the Principal to preside over the Prize Day of the school has also been changed. Article XI in the other document where the duties of the Principal are mentioned does not say that chairing the Prize Day is the Principal’s duty.

In what many describe as an unprecedented move, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors presided over the Prize Day held in June 2015 and the Principal’s duty was limited to presenting the school’s annual report. In another unprecedented move, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors Ms. Vijula Arulanantham made comments on the report presented by the Principal. The Alumni who were observing the Prize Day were astounded by these events hitherto unheard of in the College’s history. Many members of the staff in what was interpreted as a sign of protest against these changes did not turn up at the Prize Day dinner.

We reliably learn that later at a meeting with the teachers of Jaffna College, the Vice Chairperson of the Board Ms. Vijula Arulanantham had told the audience there was nothing wrong in the Chairperson of the Board chairing the Prize Day as similar practices exist in CMS schools in Sri Lanka associated with the Anglican Church. The alumni and a section of the teachers found the justification given by the Vice Chairperson outrageous. They claimed it was wrong to unilaterally impose customs followed at other institutes on an independent Christian institute with its own traditions. Though some observe a connection between the content of constitution reportedly adopted in February 2016 and the Bishop chairing the Prize Day in June 2016, as there was no alumni representative present at the meeting held on the 26th of February 2015, it still remains a mystery to the alumni and the larger public if a new constitution was approved on that day. Silence has so far been the response to the requests made to the Principal by the Alumni for a copy of the new Constitution.

In a recent letter sent to the Board of Directors dated 25 November 2016, the Alumni Representative has expressed his surprise over the appointment of a Deputy Principal to the School on the 9th of November 2016. He also notes that no mention was made about this appointment at a meeting of the Board of Directors held nearly month before this appointment was announced. The letter also says that as per the 1989 constitution, there is no constitutional provision to appoint a Deputy Principal to the school, although the document purported to be the constitution adopted in February 2015 says that that Board of Directors “shall have powers of appointment and/or removal of the Principal, Deputy Principal(s) and/or Vice Principal(s) and other members of staff including instructors and officers” (Article V – b). The letter further says that Dr. (Ms.) C. V. Selliah and Mrs. Suganthy Vairasinghe who serve on the Board of Directors of Jaffna College informed the alumni at the Annual General Meeting of the Jaffna College Alumni Association in Colombo that no amendment to the previous constitution had been made.

The newly elected alumni representative to the Board of Directors in this letter has made an official request for the constitution that is currently in effect but is yet to receive one from the Board. The letter sent by the Trustees also requires the Board of Directors to send copies of bylaws and governing documents that are currently in effect and to make the minutes of all meetings of the Board public. The alumni hope that this requirement will also resolve the mystery surrounding the current constitution of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College. They also insist releasing the governing documents lead to transparency in matters related to the movable and immovable properties belonging to the school including lands.

Harassment of Uduvil Girls’ College Students

Kalaikathir, a Jaffna-based daily reported on Monday that no disciplinary action was taken on those who used violence against the students who launched a protest in September. The account also notes that that some of the teachers involved continue to act in a vengeful manner towards the children. Many note that the Trustees’ intervention happened mainly due to the bravery of the student protestors at Uduvil Girls’ College and their parents in September 2016. The students and parents brought to light some of the deep-rooted administrative problems that have been plaguing the institution for many years.

Commentators and old students of the schools also say that sustained efforts taken by the alumni across the world and activists in Jaffna in their quest for transparency and accountability in the administration of the two schools, the publicity given to the protests in September by sections of the media including Thinakkural and Colombo Telegraph and several social media platforms contributed to this welcome change in the Trustees’ approach to the Boards of Directors. That this constructive intervention on the part of the Trustees should lead to healthy changes in the schools is the expectation uppermost in the minds of many of the alumni and well-wishers of these two illustrious institutions all over the world.

A Tamil translation of the letter sent by the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds could be viewed here. Note: This translation was not sent by the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds.

Related Posts in Colombo Telegraph:

Crisis at Uduvil Girls’ College, Jaffna – A Report

Petition by the Students of Uduvil Girls’ College to the President

Uduvil Girls’ College, Politics of Education and the Challenges Facing Private Schools

Church of South India’s Interference Affecting Wellbeing of Students: Uduvil Girls’ College Parents’ Association


[i] http://www.sundaytimes.lk/170115/news/us-ngo-slashes-funds-to-two-jaffna-schools-pending-audited-accounts-225062.html

[ii] http://www.csijaffnadiocese.org/?p=1343

[iii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTzGkA2kpHg

[iv] http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/serious-fraud-investigation-office-opens-probe-into-protestant-church-body-after-complaints-of-discrepancies/articleshow/53106502.cms

[v] https://www.globalchristiannews.org/article/government-removes-church-of-south-india-trust-association-leadership-suspects-misappropriation/

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Latest comments

  • 6
    0

    Irregularities in organisations in Sri Lanka is prevalent. The accusations must be investigated by a neutral body and going to courts is not a solution and time and money wasting exercise. Every institution including schools and government bodies must be investigated.

    • 4
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      Saro,

      “The accusations must be investigated by a neutral body”

      Once again I agree with you but is there a neutral body to investigate? Who is authorized to investigate a church and a private school? The Private School Branch? The CID?

    • 3
      1

      Could someone please provide details on the referred to “(a) violence unleashed on the students who were protesting against the appointment of the new Principal at Uduvil Girls’ College last year, (b) the administrators’ failure to hold those who were involved in the violence accountable, and (c) threats of physical harm and punitive measures.”

      That will be useful in determining whether it is just a School issue, a Tamil issue or a criminal issue of much wider national concern.

      This development is particularly alarming given the recent comment made by “Vattu fart” who chose to assert “Wesleyan Seminary had its rules. Take it or leave it.”

      Link: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/navalar-myths-aborting-reconciliation/comment-page-1/#comments

      Though the Missionary here may not be Wesleyan, I fear much parallel in the thinking, particularly in view of invoking an obviously out dated Act of the 60’s to defend some of the seemingly silly and un-accommodative actions of the Missionaries running these schools.

      • 0
        3

        Is Kumar R suggesting a liberal defence of Hinduising former Christian Mission schools by planting Navalar and Saraswati statues in their premises? It is in this connection that opponents of such practices have invoked the so-called dated 60’s Act.

        Kumar R should also be familiar with another fact:the violent opposition to Kandyan dancing by Sinhalese students at a freshers welcome in the University of Jaffna. And, besides, that some prominent leaders of education in the North have, after the clash, invoked Jaffna University’s Ramanathan religio-cultural legacy to justify what happened.

        Let us not drown the importance of sensitive issues by the rhetoric of ridicule.

        • 4
          0

          “”Is Kumar R suggesting a liberal defence of Hinduising former Christian Mission schools by planting Navalar and Saraswati statues in their premises?””

          So what narrow minded moron!

          At The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN,
          its the Shiva Nataraja;Dancing Shiva NOT Buddha, Allah, Christ.

          Does it matter to the religious freaks NO.
          Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

          Take Care.

        • 3
          1

          Question, Vattu-Fart, late-Erasmus, and perhaps even Jeevan,

          (Addressing you collectively seem the right think, given the fine-tuned absolutely similar mind-set you seem to share!)

          Nice try pal – but the ridiculous rhetoric is emanating from you my friend/s, obviously borne of an archaic mindset and unfounded paranoia, a result of nothing less than self-doubt. Just a last ditch-attempt, if you will, to preserve your pathetic sense of superiority through exclusivism – while feigning to champion reconciliation and assimilation.

          My reference is not about Navalar statutes – but rather on the more fundamental, misguided, violations of civic liberty that the Mission staff continues to impose on students, such as tabooing Hindu students from using holy ash that came to light in the comments that followed Jeevan’s comical article last month.
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/navalar-myths-aborting-reconciliation/comment-page-1/#comments

          The world was a much different place in the sixties – now even the Pope has seen the light on celebrating diversity and respecting individual freedom of choice. Obviously the aging Missionary in Sri Lanka is still trying to impress its Western masters by being “holier than the Pope.” Grow up! Hope the Boston leadership at least is better exposed to the civilized ways of the world and will help the aging Missionary abandon its obviously outdated, but still destructive path.

          Or perhaps it is up to the tender but wiser children of all faith at the school who will ultimately educate you as you continue to hold your most arrogant and repulsive “Take it or leave it” attitude as they did when you in a similar dictatorial fashion decided to get rid of Mrs. Mills, just because she was an inconvenience, not because 60 is somehow the newly-introduced end-of-the-line for an administrative career!

          When will you grow up enough to realize that it is your egotistical “take it or leave it” attitude, and pig-headed violation of fairness and basic civic rights that ultimately balloon to become disruptive, if not destructive, adverse resistance? Did you not see that in the protest of the children? Is that the path you want to continue – or will you mature enough, and fast enough. Don’t hide under lame, diversionary Hinduisation excuses

          Let me repeat the bottom line from my previous comment. “When you make such unfair and ridiculous impositions on young and growing non-Christians, who at home are taught the merits of their own religions no different than how Christian parent teach theirs, what do you think those Hindu young minds feel – MORE respect for you and your institutions or LESS? Shouldn’t that be your prime concern?”

          • 1
            1

            Kumar Rosary,

            “Obviously the aging Missionary in Sri Lanka is still trying to impress its Western masters by being “holier than the Pope.”

            Please let us know where this “aging Missionary” is active at the moment in Jaffna.

            What is your definition for a “missionary”?

            Who do you consider “aging”?

            Can you please upload a film showing elderly grey haired missionaries staggering around Jaffna College and Uduvil with their rosaries and bibles.

            The staff and board members of the CSI schools consist of Tamil Protestant Christians who I classify as middle aged.

            Hopefully you have understood that the “Western masters” are calling for others like the parents and Ministry of Education to be involved in the administration of the CSI schools.

            You can use a search engine to find details on the CSI schools and the persons involved in them.

            What is the role of the Act from 1960s here?

            • 1
              1

              Wolf,

              I am sure the Vattu Fart will be delighted to enlighten you on who the “Missionaries (are that) make the rules. Take it or leave it.” And, also on how the 60’s law provides them such grand, though nauseating, powers! How about that Vattu? Or have you joined the late-Erasmus?

              • 1
                1

                Kumar Rosary,

                “I am sure the Vattu Fart will be delighted to enlighten you on who the “Missionaries (are that) make the rules.”

                There are no missionaries in the CSI schools.

                If you read the letter of the trustees and the CT article you might comprehend that the bishop and the boards of the CSI schools do not follow the rules they inherited from the missionaries.

                The missionaries educated many traditionally excluded children of the low castes thru the primary schools of American Ceylon Mission.

                “also on how the 60’s law provides them such grand, though nauseating, powers”

                That Act is for assisted schools. It does not apply to private schools like the ones we discuss here.

                If you disagree with me please provide facts to challenge me or remain silent. I like challenges and admit that I can be wrong. Can you do the same?

                Do you consider the charming ladies of the boards of the CSI schools, for instance, Mrs Sumanthriran an “aging missionary”?

                • 0
                  0

                  Lone Wolf,

                  Some back ground on how this discussion started will hopefully help understand this clearly.

                  I was outraged to learn from a comment under Jeevan’s article that some Jaffna schools (more specifically Vembadi, as that was the focus at that point from Jeevan’s article) felt the right to impose taboo on what seems to me as innocuous personal preferences such as Hindu students using holy ash within school premises.

                  There were two responses to my vocalizing that outrage – first, from you that you were surprised I wasn’t aware of these (accepted?) local customs, and second, from Vattu Fart that “Weslyean Missionaries set the rules. Take it or leave it.”

                  On my questioning you (on the grounds that you, by implication were master of “local customs” even if only relatively speaking) if other local schools also practiced such violations of basic rights of students, you were quick to back peddle on your extent of “awareness” of local customs wholesale!

                  As for Vattu Fart’s comment, no missionaries or other educators, local or otherwise, stepped in to correct Vattu, if he was wrong.

                  So, the questions remained:

                  1. “Was Vattu right in saying Missionary schools make the rules. Take it or leave it”. If he is right, under what authority do they do that, if not the Act that Jeevan referred to in that article?

                  2. Do other assisted schools, and do the private (CSI) schools also impose such religion-based taboos. If they do not, I am truly relieved. However, as responsible educators, do the other local educators, including the private ones(not assisted), have a societal responsibility to get Vembadi or other local institutions from practicing these archaic Missionary rules? Do they not care?

                  So, most certainly, if someone would categorically confirm that the rumour of these impositions that came up in the discussions are grossly ill founded and Vattu was being just an imbecile, then I will certainly and whole heatedly withdraw my criticism of the institutions, although recognizing that my outrage would have been rather short-lived, if not for the silence of the Missionaries and other educators who refrained from correcting Vattu who spoke on their behalf, plus the fact that you yourself chose to hide under “I really don’t know” cowardly back pealing.

                  Bottom line: Do other Jaffna schools, among both assisted and private CSI schools practice such uncivil impositions on young minds? Can you, the CSI Board or some other educators confirm or deny this explicitly.

                  Isn’t it truly curious that no one wants to be outspoken on this?! Are you not curious? Does it not bother you?

                  PS: I just recently checked out the Uduvil protest video. Are you not ashamed that the school staff had to be warned by some parents rather loudly and in public “please do not touch the children. If you do, we will take this to the UN?” I am aghast!!

                  • 0
                    0

                    [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words.Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Kumar Rosary,

                    I will try to give you an executive summary.

                    “I was outraged to learn from a comment under Jeevan’s article that some Jaffna schools (more specifically Vembadi, as that was the focus at that point from Jeevan’s article) felt the right to impose taboo on what seems to me as innocuous personal preferences such as Hindu students using holy ash within school premises.”

                    Maybe you should investigate and use common sense to verify comments you find on CT instead of believing everything you read.

                    As far as I know there is no ban on holy ash in any school in Jaffna. This may be the reason you are the only one interested in this matter.

                    I am secular and would very much like to keep all religions out of government schools.

                    If you still have doubts please contact the principals of the assisted, unaided and the former missionary/national schools in Jaffna.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Lone back-pedaller,

                      Here is what you wrote previously “I have almost no knowledge on how these two former missionary schools became national schools or what is the status of Hinduism/Christianity in the schools and thus will not comment more. Why don’t you contact or even better visit Vembady and Jaffna Central College and take up your concerns with the principals, staff and students?”.

                      Obviously, a week ago you didn’t know if Vembadi practiced that taboo or not. Now, all of a sudden (or because it is convenient to you for argument’s sake), you state “As far as I know there is no ban on holy ash in any school in Jaffna,” and you do that after finding fault with me for being “unaware of local practices”.

                      Let me know when you know for sure rather than hide under the cowardly preemptive defense of “As far as I know..” Aren’t you just bull shitting here?

                      If, as you imply, I had believed Vattu Fart, I would not have asked for any of the readers to help confirm or deny – and no one did. I wasn’t sure whether it was true or not – but was quite concerned that it may be the case – only because cowards want to preempt with “As far as I know… clause, or remain mute!

                      Do you mean that when and if Vattu Farts either (1) lie thus discrediting the schools, or (2) actually tell the truth that schools nauseatingly violate basic rights, our responsibility should be to just ignore – never mind where the truth lies?! Ever heard of societal responsibilities? Please grow up!!

      • 1
        2

        Kumar Rosary,

        “Though the Missionary here may not be Wesleyan, I fear much parallel in the thinking, particularly in view of invoking an obviously out dated Act of the 60’s to defend some of the seemingly silly and un-accommodative actions of the Missionaries running these schools.”

        What does the 1960s Act have to do with Jaffna College and Uduvil? When will your local knowledge improve and ignorance decrease?

        • 1
          2

          Lone wolf – the proverbial one in sheep’s clothing?

          Do you not recall your own concession/confession done rather pathetically “I have almost no knowledge on how these two former missionary schools became national schools or what is the status of Hinduism/Christianity in the schools and thus will not comment more.” — rapidly back peddling on your previous original chest-thumping assertion on the 16th about your “vast” knowledge on everything local.

          Isn’t it under the cover of the Act of the sixties you gutless “holier than the Pope” pretenders make ludicrous statements like “take it or leave it”?

          What shameless bigotry?!

      • 2
        0

        Kumar R.

        ‘Could someone please provide details on the referred to “(a) violence unleashed on the students who were protesting against the appointment of the new Principal at Uduvil Girls’ College last year’—

        Please direct this question to your love to hate enemy Dr Narendran. You will have a refreshing answer.

    • 7
      1

      my god are CMB telegraph feeling ok??? To report a story critical of the north, ‘investigated by a neutral body’ int judges??? the followers of CMB telegraph seem to be top investigators by their comments on many article. Appoint Native vadda sure they will solve it

      • 1
        0

        malik

        “Appoint Native vadda sure they will solve it”

        Sorry Native Vedda does not have the cure for born stupidity, paranoia, racism, bigotry, religious fanatism, nationalism, super smart ass patriotism, ………………………….

    • 4
      0

      You are daydreaming, there is no such a thing as a ‘neutral body’ here in Jaffna. A man who has power takes all. This is the race who eliminated their own wise leaders and intellectuals more than any other race in Asia. I worked as an accountant for one of the oldest business owners in Jaffna. The owner didn’t provide an appointment letter, and refused to pay my salary. I reported to the Jaffna Labour department last year, but so far they done nothing. Law and order is worse in the North, Colombo is better.

      My brother lives in Canada, visits Sri Lanka very often and commit crimes, but easily get away with it. He is married and has a kid in overseas. but comes here to get married as single. There are police reports on him for manipulating poor Tamil girls for marriage, forcing Tamil girls for blue film, physically abusing his own sister, stealing passports and identity cars for people smuggling. However, he is free to carry on, because he has money.

      He didn’t even pass GCE O/L, didn’t come for my parents’ funeral nor contributed a dollar for their funeral expenses. Basically he is not a human being. but has a status, because he comes here with the Canadian dollars. New Delhi destroyed Tamil leaders by giving arms and money to Tamil criminals and fools. The West gave refugee status to fools to impose its interests. Tamils have destroyed themselves by eliminating their own leaders and intellectuals. The sad truth is Tamils are in irreparable stage.

      • 1
        0

        Antany Peter,

        “However, he is free to carry on, because he has money.”

        What about the authorities in Canada?

        • 3
          0

          Canadian authorities love this kinds of criminals and fools, because this criminals are destabilizing developing countries not Canada or the other Western countries. My brother adores the Westerners, because he is an uneducated thug, he simply can’t think for himself.

          Last Saturday he broke into my parents house in Jaffna while I was away. When I returned to the house the front room lights were on. I asked him to come out, but he sprayed pepper spray into my eyes. When I reported to the police, he left the house. He took my passport, national identity card and my smart phone. Police came next day, but my brother left. Today police came, I showed the pepper sprays that he did hide inside the cabinet. However the police told me to throw it away, otherwise I may be in trouble for having those items. The police suppose to take those items to prove to the court, but they have asked me to destroy the evidence. I heard that bring this kinds of items to Sri Lanka is illegal. Clearly, money is leading the local authorities, not justice and truth.

  • 3
    0

    “The newly elected alumni representative to the Board of Directors in this letter has made an official request for the constitution that is currently in effect but is yet to receive one from the Board. The letter sent by the Trustees also requires the Board of Directors to send copies of bylaws and governing documents that are currently in effect and to make the minutes of all meetings of the Board public. The alumni hope that this requirement will also resolve the mystery surrounding the current constitution of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College. They also insist releasing the governing documents lead to transparency in matters related to the movable and immovable properties belonging to the school including lands.”

    Do these private schools become Public Authorities under the RTI Act due to their mostly foreign funding?

    Who knows how to get them Gazetted as PAs?

    • 1
      0

      “”Do these private schools become Public Authorities under the RTI Act due to their mostly foreign funding?””

      Generally, Religious institutions do not go to courts.In the UK Foreign Or local funding Charities are not liable under the RTI act. That is where the politicians have lied and got a kick up their backside. Charities/ Trust disclose the amounts received but never how they spend it.

      The paymaster has the right to ask or curtail funding. Trustees of Jaffna College Funds based in Boston, USA. If the funding stops the government may take over the running.

      • 0
        0

        Emanuel,

        “The paymaster has the right to ask or curtail funding.”

        Not only do they have the right to ask questions. It is actually their duty to demand audited financial reports and other information on how the money is used by the schools. The trustees are a registered public charity in the USA and have to report to US authorities on what is going on with the funds they send.

        The new RTI Act in Sri Lanka in my opinion makes the schools public authorities due to the mostly foreign funding they receive. Obviously I am not the decision maker.

  • 0
    0

    Good heavens! What a long article, even without the four page letter to which a link has been provided! Going in to the letter one finds things like:

    “Their Boards of Directors are over-populated by members of the same inner circle rather than representatives of key constituencies such as parents, faculty and alumni.”

    And I’ve looked at all the links provided. A great deal that must be studied before one can venture to draw conclusions. Let me emphasise, however, that although we may follow what is happening in the Northern Province, we should be no more than interested spectators.

    Lone Wolf has asked, “Do these private schools become Public Authorities under the RTI Act due to their mostly foreign funding?”

    A most interesting question. I wonder how the the members of the Commission have to be contacted? We must necessarily wait for them to get orgaised.

    Who are the Members of the Commission? I have not found them all mentioned in one place. Five appointed on 30th Sept.2016, as reported here, and elsewhere:

    http://english.readsrilanka.com/12310-2/

    Former Ministry Secretary Mahinda Gammanpila was appointed as the Chairman of the RIC and S. G. Punchihewa, T. Selvakumaran, Salim Marzook and Kishali Pinto Jayawardena were the others members appointed to the Commission.

    Two others, Justice A.W.A Salam and Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran, have been appointed on 23rd December 2016. The RTI Act, which will (come) into effect in February (2017). That is what can be gleaned from here:

    http://www.asiantribune.com/node/89899\

    Here is the Act itself:

    http://www.media.gov.lk/images/pdf_word/2016/12-2016_E.pdf

    Let us see how independently the Commissioner act, but clearly they haven’t got down to work yet.

    • 3
      0

      “Let me emphasise, however, that although we may follow what is happening in the Northern Province, we should be no more than interested spectators.”

      I don’t agree with this comment. One does not have to be from the Northern Province to fight corruption in the Northern Province. A commitment to creating a corruption-free society and corruption-free institutions is all what we need today. You may be a Northerner; you may be a Southerner – it does not matter. If you study the situation well and have a good grasp of the what is happening in these schools, that is enough to state in public where your sympathies lie – with the Bishop and his team or the students, alumni, parents and the larger community that want a change in these schools.

      If I remember correctly, in one your earlier posts you said you were a member of the Anglican Church. This report has some questions for the Anglican Church as well. It will be good if you can raise these questions with the leadership of your Church.

      Please don’t feel hesitant to take positions on this matter just because you come from the Sinhala community or the South. All you need to do is to study the situation well and develop a position for yourself.

      Your heart would have already told you where you should stand.

      Thanks.

    • 0
      0

      Sinhala_Man,

      Thanks for the links.

      “Let us see how independently the Commissioner act, but clearly they haven’t got down to work yet.”

      The latest I read some days ago was that information officers have been appointed to some key institutions. What the institutions are and who has been appointed was not mentioned.

      • 0
        0

        Dear Lone Wolf,

        Some of the Commissioners appointed are good; it may be that they all are. However, they must be provided with huge and efficient staff to get things done. This can be done; there ARE intelligent and educated people enough if the political will is there.

        They have to be paid, of course. The money can be found, if we get our priorities right and we employ only for productive work. If a major part of the corruption in the country is eliminated that will be a meaningful and productive step. How do we find the money? Through fresh thinking; viz:

        The sweep ticket sellers were on strike. Let’s stop that entire business of gambling! All that paper that is used, and the scavenging that is later necessary will be a saving. I know that may not be easy , because the sellers are underworld types, who could turn dangerous. I don’t buy these tickets – ever- but I can think of an obvious reason why sales fell. The only currency notes that we have in ample circulation are 20 and 100 rupee notes. Thirty ruppees will be hard to put together. When the price went up to 30 rupees there had to be a loss of sales for that reason.

        But what I say is, let’s forego this sort of revenue raising. Let as much work as possible be beneficial to society by providing either goods or services:

        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-presidents-fund-the-development-lottery-mahapola/

        That is a link to an article in which Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria his boated about his achievements in establishing lotteries. Only ten responses, but we’ve all lambasted his methods of generating employment and revenue. Somebody’s suggestion of having “Development Girls” providing “escort services” may be less of a social evil – and more honest!

        Maithripala has something of this way of looking at gambling (if not at escorts), so let us hope for some developments on those lines.

        I will make a few more comments on this article, by and by.

  • 1
    2

    Let Tamil Political leaders handle this. They are the champions of Tamil problems.

    • 3
      1

      I think this is the corrupt evangelical church in there manipulating the south Indian Catholics or anglicans. Sumanthiran is the Tamil christian Leader. But, he is busy making Sri lanka a Tamil country in which both Tamils and Sinhala people are two nations.

      • 2
        0

        Alleluia. Amen

  • 1
    1

    I do not agree that reducing the funds is to both the schools is the right action.

    Its’ the students who is going to suffer in the end.

    The Trustees should hold back the salary of local board or even suspend them, and hold back the salty of the teachers, who violently attacked the student so of the Uduvil Girl’s school, who can be easily identified from the video.

    • 0
      0

      Rajash,

      “The Trustees should hold back the salary of local board or even suspend them, and hold back the salty of the teachers, who violently attacked the student so of the Uduvil Girl’s school, who can be easily identified from the video.”

      If I have understood correctly the trustees have been having problems with the schools during quite some time. It did not start in 2015. To my best knowledge there have been problems since the current CSI bishop took over in 2007.

      I believe that the trustees send a lump some every quarter (see the letter) and this money is used to pay the salaries. The rest of the income comes from the parents and other donations but is not enough for necessary repairs.

      In the beginning of the year the schools have admission fees and a 20% cut might not be very serious. If the cut continues and becomes more than 20% the schools will have problems paying their staff.

      Sure this cut will hurt the staff and the students but at the same time action is badly needed.

      Hopefully the trustees manage to force changes for the better in the way the schools are governed.

    • 0
      0

      Rajash,

      “lump some” should be lump sum.

      Did you find the information on the Interpol alert on Mr UW?

      • 1
        0

        “lump some” should be lump sum.

        they should lump the entire local board together and dump them.

        Did you find the information on the Interpol alert on Mr UW? – its’ top secret. can’t tell you :)

        PS – I also do lots of typo errors. But don’t bother to correct them

  • 2
    2

    Lone Woik,

    Is Bishop Thyiagaraja an ex-militant ? I have been told that he also participated in a Bank robbery. If this is fact, it may explain his management style.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 2
      0

      Dr RN,

      “Is Bishop Thyiagaraja an ex-militant ?”

      I have also heard that the bishop and his brother were militants but cannot confirm this claim. Apparently the bishop was not originally a member of CSI but joined because the CSI offered more money etc than the smaller church he belonged to..

      I believe that he has a PhD from Jaffna University in Christianity and is considered clever by many. Being clever and having a doctorate of course does not exclude possible dishonesty.

      “I have been told that he also participated in a Bank robbery.”

      First a bank and then the church collection?

      Please be careful. You use your own name and might end up in court in the same way as the trustees.

      As you may know it is normal in Jaffna for the Hindus to think that the reverends and Catholic fathers steal from the congregation.

      • 2
        1

        Lone Wolf: “As you may know it is normal in Jaffna for the Hindus to think that the reverends and Catholic fathers steal from the congregation. “

        Some Trustees of Hindu temples also steal from the Unidyal

        I am not going to name nmaes

        • 0
          0

          Rajash,

          “Some Trustees of Hindu temples also steal from the Unidyal”

          Hindu priests have been caught stealing from the temples. I also will not name names or places. Don’t think that these cases ever went to court.

      • 1
        1

        Hi Dr R N & L F

        Yes, Bishop Thyiagaraja is an ex-militant belonging to the TELO

        He was involved in the Chavakacheri Police station attack and then the mail train attack in Kilinochchi.

    • 1
      1

      No he was not an ex – militant but his brother was with the LTTE( interestingly he is also a pastor in the CSI and a board member of those two colleges) Bishop Thyiagarajah was/is an ardent supporter of the LTTE and through the LTTE he killed one his parishioners who exposed his financial misappropriation when he implemented the CSI housing system in Samaathanapuram Akkarayankulm. Over to you bishop for taking this matter to the courts!

      • 0
        0

        Mohanasundaram,

        “his financial misappropriation when he implemented the CSI housing system in Samaathanapuram Akkarayankulm.”

        When was this?

        According to reliable sources the bishop spent some years in Hong Kong in a Christian organization. Off shore bank accounts?

      • 1
        0

        It is good to see you insisting on clarifying terms! For some of us in the South it is enough for us to condemn a guy even to death for being an LTTE sympathiser.

        Given the horrors that we’ve been through, we must honour those who took a principled stand against the LTTE and all other perpetrators of violence. That many sympathised with the aims of the LTTE would have been natural. Then there may be those who approved the methods adopted by the LTTE. They are not criminals either.

        By militants you probably mean the fighters, who carried out the orders of the LTTE leaders. It may be that they should be charged for certain crimes that they committed, but they are no different from the government’s armed forces, are they? And above them are those on both sides of the ethnic divide that ordered the crimes.

      • 0
        0

        My hazy memory tells me that the victim was a close relative of Mr. Anandasangary. A senior controversial clergyman was rumoured to be behind the killing, but it was not the present Bishop. Anandasangary has himself not been forthcoming, neither has the Church. And if the Church and the Tigers were involved there would have been a good deal of patching up behind the scenes. Such incidents compromise everyone in the Church, and the present Bishop is to some extent a victim of this past.

        The lesson is again about a church getting involved in ventures involving huge donor funds without proper checks in place. When the LTTE was around there were almost no checks except the LTTE’s pleasure. It was also necessary to cultivate links in the Defence Ministry. It has coloured the Church’s outlook and plagued its future for many years to come. This is where it needs help to come out of it, and where help is considered most unwelcome because much dirty linen would get an airing. While the CSI is a bad case, it is not the only Church where ethical standards took a severe beating as a result of the conflict.

    • 2
      1

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran: “Is Bishop Thyiagaraja an ex-militant ?”

      I am not a fan of Bishop Thyiagaraja for reasons relating to the two schools. I am not aware if he is an ex militant or not.

      But it is interesting that the question is raised by Dr.RN.”Is Bishop Thyiagaraja an ex-militant ?”

      The tone of the question is degrading?

      what’s wrong with being ex militant?.

      I saw a recent video about the life of ex-militants after Nandhikadal.

      Their life post Nandhikadal is a misery. They are treated worse than untouchables like pariahs by the vellala community.

      The excwomen carders suffer worse than the men.

      on the one hand we praise them for their bravery and ingenuity during the heydays of the militantcy. But on the other when it suits us we degrade them.

      Typical oppurtunistics Tamils.

      They are paying the price of their failed/stubborn/corrupt and double crossing leaders.

      • 0
        0

        Rajash,

        “They are treated worse than untouchables like pariahs by the vellala community.”

        Very often they are very low caste. Many of them were empowered by the LTTE and did things that the Vellalah have not forgotten.

        Where I live many ex-combatants are doing well with families, small businesses and work but I admit that they are not from the so called low castes.

        • 0
          1

          Lone Wolf “Very often they are very low caste. Many of them were empowered by the LTTE and did things that the Vellalah have not forgotten “

          and they were empowered by the LTTE to do things beyond the capability of the Vellalah brought u in a comfortable life style?

          • 0
            0

            Rajash,

            You studied at St Johns did you not?

            “and they were empowered by the LTTE to do things beyond the capability of the Vellalah brought u in a comfortable life style?”

            Maybe better to say that they joined or were forced to join and often were empowered due to long service if they survived. I remember illiterate young boys and girls working for us joining and coming back after some years as officers.

            The war was another example of the poor fighting the poor. They were the big victims but the Tamil middle class and elite also suffered. I guess that you know all of this already but maybe others don’t.

            • 0
              0

              Lone Wolf “You studied at St Johns did you not? “

              No I did better.

              I was at Hartley.

    • 0
      0

      Dr RN,

      “If this is fact, it may explain his management style.”

      The letter of the trustees contains information of threats that they have received and bad treatment of their director. There is also something about intimidation of staff. Hints of unusual management skills?

      I cannot access the letter at the moment.

  • 2
    0

    a good decision by the board to look into this

    but rather than just cut funds they should investigate the dealings of the 2 schools,corruption in the board ,nepotism,attack on students etc

    also if needed should take action to sack the perpetrators involved

    looks like the due to the boards mismanagment Uduvil girls college too is going to suffer,Jaffna college already suffered a great due to them earlier but thanks to the integrity of Mrs Shiranee Mills uduvil escaped from it,but now that she is not there its going to be another story

    • 0
      0

      Peace Lover,

      “but rather than just cut funds they should investigate the dealings of the 2 schools,corruption in the board ,nepotism,attack on students etc also if needed should take action to sack the perpetrators involved”

      The trustees are trying to investigate. From the letter I understand that they have demanded change years ago but nothing was done. The Ernest&Young plan has not been implemented and now even the financial statements have not been provided.

  • 3
    0

    There are a few issues in this case:

    1.Most important is the governance of the school. The department of Education is only concerned with the supervision of the curriculum and nothing else as these two schools are self funded private schools.

    2 The letter from the board of trustees suggests appointment of unqualified teachers – where is the responsibility of the Department? Has an audit of qualifications ever been done?

    3. The two schools have been established and have been in existence for over 175 years and funded by the same agency. Mismanagement has not been an issue in the era of the previous leaders in the church and principals.

    4.What is the Government’s policy in the governance of private schools, and supervision on the level of Education provided.

    5. It is very clear that there is nepotism on the boards of the two schools, and persons with connections to politicians on the boards under the guise of representatives from other Christian denominations.

    6. The Methodist Church & the Anglican Church hierachy need to look at their membership, meddling with Educational institutions that have functioned for so long ( Uduvil Girls College is 190 years old and was the first girls boarding school in all of Asia),under their umbrella when the persons have not been endorsed by their own churches.

    Would they allow appointment of persons of other denominations, and such behaviour on the boards of Methodist College, Ladies College, St Thomas College or Trinity College.

    7. As the Chairman of the Board of the two colleges the Bishop has to be responsible for proper financial accountability, and governance and regular reporting of these issues to the funding authority. This is the practice followed all over the world.

    8. For over 175 years the Board of trustees have continued their commitment to these institutions for the betterment of the society and education of young people.

    Thank You

    • 1
      0

      JIM,

      Thank you for your questions.

      “2 The letter from the board of trustees suggests appointment of unqualified teachers – where is the responsibility of the Department? Has an audit of qualifications ever been done?”

      There are many unqualified relatives of existing teachers and reverends being employed as teachers at these schools. Some times 0-levels has been enough. One reason for this might quite simply be lack of money to pay for qualified teachers. Qualified persons can find government employment and expect a normal salary. Unqualified are happy with anything.

      I may be wrong but is not the Private School Branch of Ministry of Education supposed to approve of all teacher appointments in private schools? Are the unqualified teachers some kind of temporary staff that needs no approval? I don’t know.

    • 1
      0

      Dear Lone Wolf,

      I’m afraid that the Private School Branch (whose full contact details I gave you some months ago when this UGC school was in the news) will not do much for you.

      The regulation pertaining to these schools is this:

      “THE EDUCATION ORDINANCE

      REGULATIONS made by the Minister of Education under section 37 of the Education Ordinance (Chapter 185)

      RANIL WICKRAMASINGHE
      Minister of Education

      Colombo, May 24, 1983.”

      Putting that in my browser, took me here. It is embedded in the judgement.

      EKSITH FERNANDO v. MANAWADU AND OTHERS – Lanka Law; and from there, I followed links to get here:

      https://gamezmelt.com/registration?theme=m-2

      with a lot of other ya da da following it, which I have removed because of the word limit imposed by Colombo Telegraph – which, incidentally may be a good thing! That will likely give you viruses as well as the file you want!

      I have it all with me, but how can other readers access it? I could e-mail the 18 page 115 kb file. However, unless there is either the political will to get the Private Schools Branch to act, or somebody is willing to pay millions to file action, nothing will happen.

      The Ordinance says: “All assisted schools and unaided schools shall conform to the following requirements . . .” but they can’t possibly monitor all that goes on.

      One of the things that it says is: “A principal should be a University Graduate with at least ten years of teaching experience.” When STC Mt Lavinia appointed a Graduate with no teaching experience in 1997 or so, a parent won the case – the Old Boys who also challenged failed. That’s what this judgement is about.

      Right now the “Principal” there is Warden, Rev. Marc Billimoria, and he’s doing a good job, but this will tell you how he got there:

      Illegal Appointment of Principal
      xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/15607092/…/name/Illegal_Appointment_of_Principal.pdf

      The Private Schools Branch sent it to Uva, but nobody in that remote Province understood anything of all that.

      The bottom line: the reaction of the average Sri Lankan is to never question the credentials of ANY “religious dignitary”. There’s nobody in the Education Department set up who has been educated in these Private Schools and they just won’t run the risk of falling foul of the influential people associated with these schools. Remember that MaRa’s three sons actually studied in the Mt Lavinia school.

      If you can’t make sense of this I may have to type in another 300 words!

      • 0
        0

        Dear Sinhala_Man,

        “I’m afraid that the Private School Branch (whose full contact details I gave you some months ago when this UGC school was in the news) will not do much for you.”

        Thank you for the link and the most important parts of the judgement that you have posted here. I have studied it earlier.

        What I still don’t understand is does the Private Branch really approve of any kind of an appointment including “teachers” with o-levels? Can and should they not say no?

        The principals are qualified and so is the bishop.

        I have heard from friends and relatives of the unqualified “teachers” who often are daughters and wives of the reverends. Exposing and hopefully getting rid of them requires a detailed complaint from the parents and/or trustees in the USA.

        Another problematic group are some members of the non-academic staff who are directors or relatives of the directors.

        I don’t want to insult but there appears to literally be a lot of inbreeding with hereditary employment.

        • 0
          0

          Dear Lone Wolf,

          Thanks for requesting clarification. One doesn’t just want to post things which nobody wants to read.

          “The Private School Branch” has just a Director (Mr Salahudeen) a Deputy Director (I think I gave you a name like Mrs Damayanthi), and about four clerks. No, they cannot possibly evaluate the appointment of every teacher. Not even of an individual if you make detailed representations.

          The Private School Branch is there to just rubber-stamp; in theory they could do more. Also they go beyond their remit to approve visas for some of the expensive International Schools who want to get down foreign teachers. After all somebody must do these things within the system that operates. Institutions cannot be very much better than the society that supports them. So, as decent government servants, they will attend to paper work of that sort.

          If they are to get active to investigate shortcomings orders will have to come from far above that. This much is true: this is the office which will maintain the files and so forth. In today’s context the orders for action have to come from politicians and from widely publicised public protests that cannot be ignored.

          That this is a thoroughly unsatisfactory state of affairs is true. I have done what I could by stating honestly how these things work, but I don’t know how you should proceed. It is good to know that the trustees in the USA are genuinely concerned.

          • 0
            0

            Sinhala_Man,

            Thank you for the additional information.

            “In today’s context the orders for action have to come from politicians and from widely publicised public protests that cannot be ignored.”

            I agree and our politicians will only act if there are public protests big enough to interest them and the media. A copy of the letter from the trustees was apparently not sent to the Private School Branch or Minister of Education in Colombo.

            If there is evidence of criminal offenses the police and courts should act. I believe that the trustees know a lot more than they publicly admit and even have evidence of fraud from the big Ernest&Young audit of 2013/2014. The results of the audit are unknown.

            “That this is a thoroughly unsatisfactory state of affairs is true. I have done what I could by stating honestly how these things work, but I don’t know how you should proceed. It is good to know that the trustees in the USA are genuinely concerned.”

            I wish to thank you again.

            Let us hope that the parents, “old” students and trustees continue their actions to solve the problems. The Private School Branch should be strengthened and forced to do its work in all the private schools not only in Jaffna.

            Maybe a whistle blower will appear from the staff members of the CSI schools and provide evidence?

            I had another look at the RTI Act to copy what I consider relevant. Based on the following private and assisted schools might come under RTI Act:

            http://www.media.gov.lk/images/pdf_word/2016/12-2016_E.pdf

            30
            g) a private entity or organisation which
            is carrying out a statutory or public
            function or service, under a contract, a
            partnership, an agreement or a license
            from the government or its agencies or
            from a local body, but only to the extent
            of activities covered by that statutory
            or public function or service;

            i) non-governmental organisations that
            are substantially funded by the
            government or any department or other
            authority established or created by a
            Provincial Council or by a foreign
            government or international
            organisation, rendering a service to the
            public in so far as the information
            sought relates to the service that is
            rendered to the public

            k) private educational institutions
            including institutions offering
            vocational or technical education
            which are established, recognised or
            licensed under any written law or
            funded, wholly or partly, by the State
            or a public corporation or any statutory
            body established or created by a statute
            of a Provincial Council;

            The Trustees of Jaffna College Funds is a public charity and regulated by the Attorney General of Massachusetts. It must provide satisfactory reports in order to continue and this includes audited financial statements. The trustees can use trust funds to defend themselves in court.

            http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/public-charities-or-not-for-profits/

            The AG of MA is supposed to protect public interest.

            “These organizations operate solely for the benefit of the public, and the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for protecting the public’s interest in their activities.”

            Don’t know if this link works but the Trustees are known as:

            JAFFNA COLLEGE FUNDS, TRUSTEES OF
            AG Account Number: 004737 Federal Tax ID (FEIN): 04-6074663

            http://www.charities.ago.state.ma.us/charities/index.asp?charities_app_ctx=details&charities_sub_ctx=entry&origin=search&did=29282634&bod=1484820854

            There are 49 documents returned for the search JAFFNA COLLEGE FUNDS, TRUSTEES OF.

            My assumption is that the documents will NOT reveal the irregularities that exist in the CSI schools.

            Maybe this became too long?

          • 0
            0

            “If there is evidence of criminal offenses the police and courts should act.”

            Do you still say that in the light of all those acquittals – especially in the Raviraj case? Maithri may not be a thoroughly bad guy, but that statement of his about excusing War Heroes is unpardonable.

            The legal profession, on the whole, is more selfish than most of us. You surely don’t imagine that they’d act in controversial cases.

            • 1
              0

              Sinhala_Man,

              “Do you still say that in the light of all those acquittals – especially in the Raviraj case? Maithri may not be a thoroughly bad guy, but that statement of his about excusing War Heroes is unpardonable.”

              The verb I intentionally used was “should”.

              Like the EU/EC I see positive progress but admit that there is a lot more to be done. I have not forgotten the Daham cases. In Jaffna we have the Uduvil case where documented violence in front of police against minors apparently had no legal consequences.

              “The legal profession, on the whole, is more selfish than most of us. You surely don’t imagine that they’d act in controversial cases.”

              I agree with you. In Jaffna they make a decision NOT to defend accused etc in sensitive cases.

      • 0
        0

        Sinhala_Man,

        “The Ordinance says: “All assisted schools and unaided schools shall conform to the following requirements .”

        There are requirements for the principals but are there any requirements for vice-principals and teachers?

        Assuming that all appointments have been “rubber stamped” by the Private School Branch the Branch should have background information on members of the staff. This should in my opinion be public information according to my favorite Act the RTI Act.

        Please correct if I have misunderstood something.

        Thanks.

        • 0
          0

          No, they will not have details of teachers.

          They have asked each school to have a “Manager”, and deal with him/her. This is somebody from the Board of Management. S. Thomas’ has a Board of Governors. Currently the Manager of the Bandarwela School is Kavinda Dias-Abeysinghe, and Gurutalawa has Senaka de Fonseka. I don’t want to put down wrong names for the other two. I could easily check, but this is of no significance!

          What the Private School Branch will have are the number of students. The number of staff eligible for “benefits” would depend on that. “Benefits” – pensions from the Government after retirement. For some schools, the salaries of teachers.

          Owing to that Eksith Fernando Supreme Court case, the position of CEO of the school became something that importance was attached to. And then Trinity had Brigadier Ariyaratne. The Ordinance and the Ministry uses the term “Principal”, but schools use different terminology, whether to impress or confuse outsiders I don’t know. Warden, Headmaster, in the Thomian schools. Some of them are just anachronisms.

          What do you make of this? Bishop Dhilo is termed “Visitor to the School”?

          Pity poor Mr Salahudeen when faced with this sort terminolgy. So, he says, “Let each school appoint a Manager.”

          To provide a meaningful response to you: I guess you could submit a list of names of those you say are unqualified. They’re supposed to inquire in to even anonymous complants, but such actions may lead to a half-hearted inquiry, which may prevent a later complaint that is better supported from being taken seriously. That actually happened in the case of the Gurutalawa complaint referred to above.

          With all the publicity that the UGC school has already received, it may be sensible to send the info and follow up with a visit to the Office on a Wednesday.

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            Sinhala_Man,

            Thank you for your reply. I know that this is becoming redundant but please have patience with me.

            I had another look at the Private School Branch at:

            http://www.moe.gov.lk/english/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1261:private-schools-branch&catid=351&Itemid=803

            The functions of the Branch are:

            Teacher establishment affairs of the approved private schools
            Approving the appointments of teachers
            Approving the retirements
            Approving the foreign leave, study leave and medical leave
            Approving the extension of services
            Approving the suitable teacher cadre
            Providing necessary guidance and instructions for improving the quality of education in the approved private schools
            Monitoring the private schools and supervising when it is necessary
            Formulating necessary instructions, rules and regulations for the approved private schools (circulars, instruction letters)
            Coordinating with the external institutions for the development of private schools
            Inquire into the matters arising from the implementation of curriculum and give necessary instructions to solve them
            Taking necessary measures for the regularization of the international schools spread all over Sri Lanka

            Can we assume that all the private schools have been approved by the Branch?

            “No, they will not have details of teachers.”

            How can they approve teachers without having their details? Details would be necessary also for approving extensions of service.

            “They have asked each school to have a “Manager”, and deal with him/her.”

            I was already wondering from where the managers of the private schools came from.

            “Bishop Dhilo is termed “Visitor to the School”

            A visitor? Only that?

            “With all the publicity that the UGC school has already received, it may be sensible to send the info and follow up with a visit to the Office on a Wednesday.”

            One problem is that we don’t know what the parents, trustees and alumni have done already and what the Branch knows and has done. The parents should name the names and problems.

            The Branch is not listed as a CC of the letter of the trustees.

            I have so far found no contact of the UGC or JC parents.

            The dead line given by the trustees is fast approaching. I believe that internationally acceptable audits require time and auditors from Colombo.

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            Dear Lone Wolf,

            Visitor is archaic terminology:

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

            The two Keble schools at Kollupitiya and Bandarawela used to have classes from the Kindergarten to Standard 5, and they continue to use terminology that can be understood. In S. Thomas’Mt Lavinia we still delight in causing confusion to outsiders: so the O.Level class is the “Upper Sixth”, and wt don’t abbreviate “Saint” to the conventional “St”.

            A little bit of this may be all right, but we like to think of ourselves as the Eton of Sri Lanka. This is how it is at Eton:

            “The school has its own vocabulary. The timetable is called the abracadabra, a master is called a beak, a lesson is a div and cricketers are called dry bobs and play on a Mesopotamia, the term for a sports field used for football or cricket.”

            You’ll find the quote at the bottom of this blog:

            https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/jul/05/schools.publicschools

            That news story has a Mt Lavinia connection. Rev. Puddefoot was Warden of the Mt Lavinia school for two years. He possibly came here because after that censure no more professional progress was possible in England.

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    ” Bishop and his wife ardently campaigned for the electoral victory of Mr Sumanthiran……….”

    According to a Tamil Webpage a large sum of Church money was spent for the campaign works that include payment to a television channel.

    Now we know the answer why Church keeps its own kith and kin in the Board. If not how could they hide its misappropriation and irregularities.

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    How is this possible? I thought that only the Sinhala Buddhists are corrupt criminals. Very odd indeed. I think the culprits must be SBs in disguise.

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    CT,

    Thank you for spending time on this article.

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    Did any of you read the Bishop’s Charge?

    He sounds like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe!

    Blaming the original missionaries for the recent civil war and to cover up his own corruption and comparing his suffering to saint Paul.

    If he truly belives in what he is preaching, will he stop taking ALL the money from the American trust?

    What a piece of work he is. So sad for the people of Jaffna.

    You can read the full text here….
    http://www.csijaffnadiocese.org/?p=1343

    here are some highlights….

    ….. ” Sadly, we must acknowledge that the American Ceylon Mission’s approach to education sparked an aggressively competitive response by the Tamil Hindu community that led to Tamil educational superiority in Sri Lanka, which in turn fomented a source of grievance with the Buddhist/Sinhalese community that fuelled ethnic tensions.” …..

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      Deva,

      “If he truly belives in what he is preaching, will he stop taking ALL the money from the American trust?”

      I am not defending anybody but let us be pragmatic. If all the trustee money had disappeared the staff of the schools would have revolted because they would not have been paid their salaries.

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      Dear Deva,

      Many thanks for the full text of the Bishop’s Charge for the 64th Session of the Jaffna Diocesan Council of the Church of South India. I have skimmed through it all. The strategy is clear. He has a captive audience and he gives them such a great deal of scriptural (Pauline) quotations that the main point is lost. And that point is the question that you have posed:

      “Why doesn’t he stop taking ALL the money from the American trust?”

      Instead he goes in to Colonial History and reminds us of the need for Sinhalese-Tamil reconciliation. That is a real need. The past CAN indeed be analysed to say that missionary activity divided us between the North and South of the country, and cut us off from the the spiritual sustenance of the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. These guys are clever; so he has brought in Sinhalese representation in the form of ” Rev. Sanjeewa Weerarthna”. Yes, we do need Sinhalese and Tamils to work together.

      But the real issues raised by ” Serious Irregularities In Administration” are covered up on that score.

      Similar things have been happening in the South: The S. Thomas’ Schools are run by a Board of Governors, some of whom have to be elected. It is clearly stated that the Heads of the schools cannot manipulate the election of BoG members:

      “Where the Head of the School is also the President of the Old Boys’ Association,the Senior Vice President will serve on the electoral college in place of the President.”

      and

      “The election shall be by secret ballot”.

      http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/05_Rules_of_STC_Board_of_Governors.pdf

      The full Rules are there. Some ambiguities at 1.5.2 and 1.5.3. Just yesterday, the Headmaster of the Bandarawela school was justifying to me what he had done in getting his own nominee elected – quoting those sections, he said that any “secret ballot” had to be among the nominees of the Headmasters – the teachers need not be asked. At Mt Lavinia this cannot be done; in the Branch Schools it happened, and I think that I have personally written and talked too much. No response from the “authorities” to the issues raised.

      All this has been discussed on CT at great length. Then the discussion was stopped by CT with an email to the author, but a few have crept in later, unnoticed:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/

      Three articles in all, and more than 300 comments, so there’s too much for the average person to read, and you may have thought it irrelevant.

      Please see what you can make of it all in the light of your present experience.

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    “Concerned” told me, January 16, 2017 at 7:34 pm:

    “You may be a Northerner; you may be a Southerner – it does not matter. If you study the situation well and have a good grasp of the what is happening in these schools, that is enough to state in public where your sympathies lie.”

    And so I commented. However, only about two from the North commented on this S. Thomas’ story. I can’t possibly do more.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran is an excellent man, whom I’ve never met. He said, while on some other subject, that he felt like commenting on my articles, but didn’t because he doesn’t know enough about S. Thomas’. That’s a problem deliberately created by using an odd lingo when talking about our “Public School”. Recently I told a now-British school-mate that Eton and Harrow now call themselves “Independent Schools”. He refused to adopt the more comprehensible usage. I suffer every way!! Do you want more details? Worst was a Director/English at NIE who claimed to have brought “Sinhala-kama” in to the English set up. She hated me; I stagnated, although I never use the “kaduwa” on an adult; however, I tend to use only English when conversing in that language. That Director/English excused herself saying “code-mixing” is O.K. with a foreign language.

    I repeat what I have said before: I’ve never been outside Asia!

    Today was the 75th Founder’s Day of the B’wela school where my father helped Keble establish the school. I was born in it. I was sidelined, although supposedly a Vice-President. Usually somebody speaks about Keble – often after getting tips from me. I’ve never been allowed to speak about the man who was my Godfather, and lived on the other side of our 200 yard boundary. Today, they had not found anybody to speak. But they had brought in the VVIPs, including Philip Nesakumar from Jaffna (this comment directed at Northerners).

    There’s no way that Eealam will get separated from us. We’re in this together! Be concerned about injustices everywhere! There isn’t much more for me to tell you about Anglican schools than what I’ve already said in three articles. They didn’t want me because I know quite a bit, and talk even more! In government service there was automatic discrimination because they felt that I was privileged if I had been educated where I was.

    End result: I’m poor, and I have a daughter who continues to suffer much. She was locked up once as a suspected Tiger when heard speaking Tamil – a language I don’t know at all. Figure out the commitment I had to get her taught that language.

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      Sinhala_Man,

      I can see that you are upset today.

      “Be concerned about injustices everywhere!”

      Well said! It bothers me a great deal to read articles and comments that concentrate on one religion/language/ethnicity/whatever. We already have the BBS, the ESS(Eelam Siva Senai) and various Muslim groups that I cannot identify by any name. We should create a Win-win situation where everybody wins!

      “There isn’t much more for me to tell you about Anglican schools than what I’ve already said in three articles. They didn’t want me because I know quite a bit, and talk even more! In government service there was automatic discrimination because they felt that I was privileged if I had been educated where I was.”

      Most have understood to choose silence and enjoy of their lives never mind what injustices they see.

      “End result: I’m poor, and I have a daughter who continues to suffer much. She was locked up once as a suspected Tiger when heard speaking Tamil – a language I don’t know at all. Figure out the commitment I had to get her taught that language.”

      Instead of collecting money you have a clear conscious. Even your poverty is not as bad as it is for the really poor among us.

      I did not know that you have a daughter.

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      True, I’m not the poorest of the poor.

      My elder daughter, who speaks Tamil, was Head-girl at Hillwood, Kandy. Entered Colombo University very young. She’s reconciled herself to her now necessarily single state through religion – Anglicanism. She’s convinced that there’s a place called “Heaven”.

      The other, who was a Bank Manager, has two daughters; now in Malaysia, but will educate her children in Sri Lanka. They will manage with only the husband’s salary, ‘cos she feels she has to be a full-time teacher-mother. The kids speak only English now, but she wants to add Sinhala to their repertoire. I have to admit that learning Tamil doesn’t really bring advantages.

      Both were swimming captains at Hillwood, which is a Sinhalese School; Mowbray is the Tamil school very close by. There could be much more interaction between them. Most Christian schools in the South have both media – and now the craze for the English Medium.

      Incidentally, she’s not exposed the kids to T.V. We know of TWO young children who have not developed their speech owing to being plonked in front of a T.V., with nobody talking with the kids.

      Another worry I see with young adults who would be classified as English users is the inability to write. That’s owing to lifestyles, but also typing on mobile phones which prompt the next word seems to affect learning. People of our age benefit from the obsolescence of printed Dictionaries etc. But younger people may never acquire the discipline to put digital technology to good use.

      No, I’m not all that upset today. I’m used to this sort of thing. But I’m sad that my daughter doesn’t have a full life (she does have a job).

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