21 October, 2017

Jaffna College Trustees Firm In Their Demands As Alumni Seek Stronger Intervention

Rt. Rev. Daniel Thiagarajah, the Chair of the Boards of Directors of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College and the Bishop of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India has sent a letter to the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds in Boston, USA as his response to the letter sent by the latter on the 5th of January 2017, Colombo Telegraph learns.

Even though the letter sent by the Bishop is not available, Colombo Telegraph is in possession of the response sent by the Rev. Richard Huleatt, the Chairperson of the Trustees on the 26th of February 2017 to the Bishop’s letter. It can be understood from this brief response that the Bishop on the 12thof February had responded to the letter sent by the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds in Boston, USA on the 5th of January 2017. Like the first letter sent to the Bishop, the Trustees have copied their response dated 26 February to 19 others including the Chief Minister and Minister of Education of the Northern Province and selected alumni of the two schools all over the world.

The Trustees in their response to the Bishop’s letter state that though they appreciate the Bishop’s perspective on the events that the Bishop describes in his letter, they cannot consider it as a response to the specific matters requested in the letter sent by the Trustees in January. The Trustees’ letter also states they continue to look forward to receiving an appropriate response from the Bishop before the March 15, 2017 deadline.

The Trustees in January decided to cut 5% of the funds allocated to Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College for the first quarter of the year 2017 citing various irregularities and malpractices in the general and financial administration of the two schools in the recent past. 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 had insisted 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]”.

It should be noted that the Board of Directors of Jaffna College did not meet between the 5th of January 2017 and the 12th of February 2017. The alumni of Jaffna College express their anger that the Bishop responded to the letter sent by the Trustees without calling for a meeting of the Board of Directors. They note that this has prevented the Alumni Representative to the Board from presenting the alumni’s views on the Trustees’ letter to the Board. Many consider the Bishop’s decision to send a response to a letter that should have been discussed formally at a meeting of the Board of Directors an undemocratic act revealing the authoritarianism ubiquitous in the administration of the two schools.

The Bishop told Sunday Times in January that he would release his lawyers’ response to the Trustees’ letter to the public after it was drafted. But no such response has been released to the public or the media so far though a response has been mailed to the Trustees. Sunday Times reported that among the Bishop’s council was Attorney-at-law and Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran. While Mrs. Savithri Sumanthiran, wife of Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran, is on the Board of Directors of Uduvil Girls’ College, Ms. Vijula Arulanantham, a close legal associate of Mr Sumanthiran, serves on the Boards of both Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College, in the former as its Vice Chairperson.

In the meantime, the Executive Committees of the alumni of associations of Jaffna College in Vaddukoddai, Colombo, Toronto, London, Melbourne and Sydney have unanimously welcomed and endorsed the letter sent by the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees to the Chairperson of the Board of Directors on the 5th of January 2017 demanding far-reaching reforms in the administration of their alma mater.

In addition to the reforms prescribed in the letter sent by the Trustees on the 5th of January, the alumni association of Sydney has requested the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds to demand the Board of Directors to adopt a conflict of interest policy for the officers, faculty and employees of Jaffna College that bars the latter from using the school as a venue for their private businesses such as catering, photography and construction work. Our sources tell us that some who are employed at Jaffna College as teachers and administrators are engaged in these businesses inside the school causing serious conflicts of interests.

The alumni note with disappointment and disgust that the Board of Directors of the school which include personalities well-respected in Christian circles in Colombo and Jaffna like Ms. Vijula Arulanatham (Attorney-at-law) and Dr. C.V. Selliah (Retired Principal of Uduvil Girls’ College) are indifferent to these malpractices and let powerful individuals to turn this prestigious institution into a breeding ground for corruption.

The Alumni Association of Sydney has also requested the Trustees to influence the Board of Directors to release to the public the current constitution of the Board of Directors and all relevant legal documents related to the moveable and immoveable assets of the College including buildings and lands.

In our last report on the developments at Jaffna College, we mentioned the appointment of a Deputy Principal to Jaffna College which surprised many members of the alumni as it was not discussed at the previous meeting of the Board of Directors. Now we learn that on the 23rd of January this appointment was confirmed via local newspapers in Jaffna. Initially this appointment was announced to the teachers of Jaffna College and some members of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India as part of the Bishop’s birthday celebrations on the 9th of November 2016.

In addition to this announcement, two new cars were ‘received’ by the Principals of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College from the Bishop, his wife and his brother. All three of them are members of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College. We could not confirm whether these cars were gifts by the Bishop and his family or the two schools should pay for these cars. Some wonder why the Principal of Jaffna College needs a new car as the school already has a HiACE vehicle for the Principal’s use.

At a separate function held on the same day, TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran declared open the newly built diocesan auditorium at Vaddukoddai. The name of the auditorium, SHILOH, besides its Biblical connections, is incidentally Mr. Sumanthiran’s daughter’s name too.

At a meeting of the alumni association held at Vaddukoddai in January, the Principal of Jaffna College finally accepted that the constitution of the Board of Directors was in fact changed and a copy of the amended constitution would be released to the Alumni Representative soon. When the alumni sought his clarification on this matter last year he was reported to be evasive in his response. While this statement by the Principal in January seems to resolve the mystery surrounding the constitution, it raises serious questions about the truthfulness of the statement made by Board members Dr. C.V. Selliah and Mrs. Suganthy Vairasinghe at the Annual General Meeting of the Jaffna College Alumni Association held in Colombo last year that no amendment to the previous constitution had been made. Old students of the school wonder whether the amendments were made without their knowledge or these two individuals hid this information from the alumni deliberately with a hidden agenda.

All these developments show that there is lack of democracy, transparency and accountability in the manner in which the Board of Directors of Jaffna College conduct their affairs. The alumni all over the world have lost faith in the current Board of Directors and are seeking stronger intervention from the Trustees to prevent further erosion of the values for which Jaffna College was founded in the nineteenth-century by American missionaries. The Trustees seem to be their only hope at present. With only a week left for the March 15 deadline for the Board of Directors, well-wishers of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College are keenly awaiting the next move by the Trustees to set things right at these two illustrious institutions.

Related Posts:

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

Cut on the Funds to Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College

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Latest comments

  • 13
    0

    How long is Sumanthiran going to be friends with this Bishop whose corruption the world knows so well? Sumanthiran’s electoral defeat will one day happen because of this man. The Bishop is trying all he can to please Sumanthiran so that Sumanthiran would not forsake him. That is why he has named his church auditorium after Sumanthiran’s daughter’s name. Without Sumanthiran’s influence as a politician and popular lawyer, the Bishop cannot defend himself and hide his corruption.

    Being indifferent to the corruption at Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls College for which this Bishop, his family and his followers are responsible, Sumanthiran, his wife and his legal colleague Vijula prove beyond doubt that they are not different from Colombo’s English speaking elite who have no concern for the education of the children of farmers and oppressed caste men and women in rural Jaffna.

    Would Sumanthiran, his wife and Vijula Arulanantham condone such corruption in Colombo’s elite schools like St. Thomas, Methodist, Royal, Bishop’s and where their children and the children of their relatives and friend are studying? Their involvement in the affairs of Jaffna College and Uduvil show they are arrogant, pompous and selfish. Shame.

    • 8
      1

      Dear Prashanth,

      We often look across the valley at the mountain that has been lit up, and imagine that it must be wonderful there. It is the same with Colombo’s “elite schools like S. Thomas . . . [Ladies’ College] etc. There are things that I know from personal experience; this article was written by me:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-whited-thomian-sepulchres-the-pharisees-who-cheat/

      You will find my real name and photograph there.

      At this moment there are displayed 34 Comments on this article. Scroll down about 26 articles and you will find a comment posted by me using my real name last night because “Northerner” had imagined that I had “succeeded” in what I had set out to do. There have been no tangible results.

      The school in Mt Lavinia is one of the three S. Thomas’ schools that I have studied in, and my five sisters were at Ladies’. More or less the same story with my children and grandchildren. Yes, it is true that Mt Lavinia is not bad and nobody will try the sort of pranks there that they have tried on the three “Branch Schools”. However the Kollupitiya (aka Colpetty) School is one that must be considered elite, and if you look at the comments on that school (do some searching in the third article to which the link is in yesterday’s comment), you will see that things have been pretty bad. I know the school fairly well, but I was never a student there.

      I know the entire schools system in this country (and even some abroad) as well as anybody, having been a teacher all my life. This includes the least endowed “Estate Schools” in Uva – let’s say Galapitakanda Tamil M.V. where I have seen a teacher trying to teach 90 students in a class.

      Any younger readers looking at this? You’ve got a lot to do, to save our country – North or South – or Colombo.

  • 4
    0

    The one who has been appointed as deputy principal is a well-known thug. He pelts stones at the houses of fellow teachers. He even threatens the Bishop to have his way. The Bishop used him and his thuggish friends during the Church split to assault and attack the pastors and churches of the rebel group that broke away from the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India when Rev. Thiagarajah got himself secretly consecrated as the 4th Bishop of JDCSI in Chennai without facing the Bishop election as per the rules of the Church. Now the Bishop has no option other than letting him do what he wants.

    This deputy principal also assaulted the retired Principal of a school and a minor employee. Both left Jaffna College immediately. The Board took no action against him.

    Is Vijula Arulanantham unaware of these things? Or is she pretending like a cat that closes its eyes and thinks that the world is dark? If she is honest and sincere as many in Colombo’s liberal circles think she is, she should demand the Bishop to remove the thug from the deputy principal’s position. As long as this thug has power no change can happen at Jaffna College. Even the Principal is scared of this thug.

    • 4
      3

      maran,

      “The one who has been appointed as deputy principal is a well-known thug.”

      He was vice principal before and is an old boy of the school. 50+ and becoming obese. His brother and the wife of the brother also work for the school but I hear that they are not qualified. The deputy is a member of CSI but the brother is catholic.

      “He pelts stones at the houses of fellow teachers. He even threatens the Bishop to have his way. The Bishop used him and his thuggish friends during the Church split to assault and attack the pastors and churches of the rebel group that broke away from the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India when Rev. Thiagarajah got himself secretly consecrated as the 4th Bishop of JDCSI in Chennai without facing the Bishop election as per the rules of the Church. Now the Bishop has no option other than letting him do what he wants.”

      The deputy has degrees from Jaffna university but his manners are primitive. I have heard that he comes from a poor background.

      “This deputy principal also assaulted the retired Principal of a school and a minor employee. Both left Jaffna College immediately. The Board took no action against him.”

      I have heard a lot like this before. No action taken by anybody. Because of fear?

      This deputy principal is in charge of the male boarders and the discipline of the older boys. He is single, handsome, educated, wealthy and hangs around with the boarder boys a lot. Am I the only one to be suspicious about his sexual desires?

  • 9
    0

    More than the details of the internal politics of these schools, certain impressions speak louder. People don’t send their children to these schools anymore because of academic excellence. Tutories have taken over that aspect, as private schools try to save money on teachers, while government schools indifferently accept those who are posted. But people still value cultural and character traits, which the founding missionaries represented and believe these mission schools continue to impart; values that would give their children a head start in life. One of these values is gratitude.

    Sherine Mills was principal at Uduvil well into the year 2016. One of her achievements was building up the school choir to a high standard. At a parents’ day function in November 2016, where the Bishop presided on the stage (a high profile role he avoided when Sherine was around) , the children gave a musical performance – for which much credit should go to Sherine. Though it was just a few months after she left, the audience do not recall one word of thanks to Sherine from either the Bishop or the current principal.

    The Bishop announced cash offers of a thousand rupees each, in addition to a thousand given by a bank, to every student who passed the grade five scholarship. He promised cash to the teachers as well and even more if they do better the next time.

    We never looked upon our teachers as mercenary. We expected them to help weaker students with no thought of cash rewards.

    It did not look right at all, it was unpleasant to say the least. In such schools we were taught to put old quarrels behind us and be uniformly courteous in our dealings; and to be grateful to our principals and teachers whatever their foibles.

    • 1
      0

      I remember that at S. Thomas’ Mt Lavinia, in the 1980s, when Lyn Illangakone was the Warden, he felt generous and promised to pay the teachers a sum of money for every period that they actually taught.

      The boys got to know, and they loved it! As the teacher approached the class they used to say, “Good Morning, Sir. Welcome. Please teach us and earn your two rupees.”

      I think that this really used to happen – on a regular basis!

    • 0
      0

      Dear Uduvil fan,
      “The Bishop announced cash offers of a thousand rupees each, in addition to a thousand given by a bank, to every student who passed the grade five scholarship. He promised cash to the teachers as well and even more if they do better the next time.”
      Bishop announced that he offers that his own money. But it was taken from the College by the Bishop.

  • 5
    1

    The Grade 5 exam today is a curse on the children of the country.
    Principals of good schools should discourage their children from participating in that destructive exercise. But instead they are encouraging that mad contest.
    Even excellence at the G.C.E. O-L has little value to it.
    The G.C.E. A-L serves a purpose, but not too well. That needs repairing at national level.

    The schools, above all, should concentrate on educating the children in social values, good and responsible social conduct.

    Uncouth discussion of school affairs in public does no good to anyone.
    It is a task for the school and local communities, desirably free of state intervention.

    • 0
      0

      sekara,

      “Uncouth discussion of school affairs in public does no good to anyone. It is a task for the school and local communities, desirably free of state intervention.”

      The state has nothing to do with these private schools. The old US missionary money help in a trust pays most of the bills of the schools. As mentioned in the letter it is the duty of the trustees to keep an eye on the money they send to Jaffna.

      Mere discussion will not help when things are as bad as they are.

    • 3
      0

      sekara,

      Have you noticed the similarities between UoJ and JC/UGC?

      At UoJ there was and maybe still is an expectation that a Yankee Lone Ranger rides in to shoot the bad guys.

      At JC/UGC there is an expectation that the US Marines arrive to neutralize the enemy. Even the powerful diaspora alumni appears to only be calling for Yankee help instead of locally doing something. Just read the letters they have sent to the Yankees. Not a single word about the alumni doing something. The Yankees are mailing CCs to people who have nothing to do with private schools.

      At UoJ the staff and student unions finally became active but I suspect that it will be temporary.

      At the JC/UGC the staff is involved in the alleged wrongdoings, is afraid of abuse or doesn’t understand or care about what is going on. The only way I can understand the staff at these private schools is that they have a sinister motive to work or that they are not competent enough to find work elsewhere. Why would competent honest young teachers seek employment at JC/UGC when they can enter government service?

      The sad fact is that during a long time JC/UGC with Trustee money were to some extent empowering the oppressed in their areas. Some of these have been empowered enough to now oppress others.

      On a larger scale there is again the expectation of foreigners (UN etc etc) coming to save us and the diaspora to come and invest.

      • 3
        0

        There are and there aren’t similarities.
        Washing dirty linen in fora where people with little knowledge of the way organizaions function indulge in irresponsible comment is not good at all.

        I do not know of confidentiality issues in JC/UCG. In any event, the matter should desirably have been resolved between the donors and the trustees of the beneficiaries.
        Failing that, there is an educated Christian community associated with the schools that could have discussed matters in the appropriate fora.
        Going to Court as a last resort is one thing; and going to CT is quite another.
        I am no Christian, but in the interest of the community, I prefer the legal to the media route.

        CT has been abused more than used for public benefit– far more in relation to the university than the school.
        There are vested interests and sick minds at work in the media, the electronic media in particular, that purposely divert attention from rational discussion of the issues at hand.
        Mine was a well meaning comment. As adding further will do no good, I stop here.

        • 4
          0

          sekara,

          “I do not know of confidentiality issues in JC/UCG.”

          Transparency would clear many doubts.

          “In any event, the matter should desirably have been resolved between the donors and the trustees of the beneficiaries.”

          This has been tried but without success since the problems continue.

          “Failing that, there is an educated Christian community associated with the schools that could have discussed matters in the appropriate fora.”

          There are educated Hindus and Christians that have discussed the problems during many years without any result. Some 90% of the alumni and parents are Hindu.

          “Going to Court as a last resort is one thing; and going to CT is quite another.”

          Court is very slow and expensive. Evidence is needed.

          “I prefer the legal to the media route.”

          The revolution must be organized somewhere. The only place is on line because the stakeholders are spread globally.

          “CT has been abused more than used for public benefit– far more in relation to the university than the school.”

          Without our beloved Mafiograph people would know much less than now. I admit that there are too many personal attacks and the readers have to choose what they believe.

          Another similarity between the CSI schools and UoJ is the expectation that a new VC or new bishop can do miracles.

  • 7
    0

    CT,

    I wish to thank you for your recent articles revealing what is going on at the VC election at UoJ and Uduvil Girls College and Jaffna College.

    Does the rest of the country not have similar problems?

    Thank you.

  • 5
    0

    The Trustees,

    “The Trustees in their response to the Bishop’s letter state that though they appreciate the Bishop’s perspective on the events that the Bishop describes in his letter, they cannot consider it as a response to the specific matters requested in the letter sent by the Trustees in January. The Trustees’ letter also states they continue to look forward to receiving an appropriate response from the Bishop before the March 15, 2017 deadline.”

    I really hope that we will have more information after 15/03/2017.

    “The Trustees in January decided to cut 5% of the funds allocated to Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College for the first quarter of the year 2017 citing various irregularities and malpractices in the general and financial administration of the two schools in the recent past.”

    Was it not a 20% cut? Where did the 5% cut come from and why? The only way to get answers and change is to hit the cash flow!

  • 2
    0

    Sad to see that this school has gone to the hands of some unprincipled dishonest people. the trustees should act fast and safeguard the school. Bishop Thiagarajah’s brother got money from innocent people to build condominiums for them and then did not give the owners the deeds for those condominiums. There is a report about in Sunday Observer. He was accused of child abuse too. He might succeed Bishop Thiagarajah as the fifth bishop of Diocese and control Jaffna college and uduvil. The alumni, parents and the trustees should not let this happen.

    Another person destroying Jaffna college is Jeyarajah. He was the treasurer when Thiagarajah was appointed as Bishop. But he sided with the ACM church and refused to submit the financial documents to Bishop Thiagarajah. But three years ago, he gave all the documents to Thiagarajah. After that his wife was made a Vice Principal of Jaffna College and daughter got a teaching job. He is trying to do campaign in favor of Thiagarajah among the parents and alumni.
    Some of these families benefited much from Jaffna college. Their lifestyle is full of luxuries. Trustees should take note of these people and release the school from them.

    Principal Selliah was an honest man. But his daughter Selvi Chelliah (former Uduvil Principal) and some of her relatives are working hard to cover up Thiagarajah’s corruption. Principal Selliah’s body must be turning in its grave now.

    Bishop Kulendran’s grandchildren are doing the same bringing dishonor to their much-respected grandfather. Bishop Thiagarajah’s is zero compared to Kulendran’s conduct as church leader. His body must be turning in its grave too.

    Now Sumanthiran family has joined this group.

  • 2
    0

    The Alumni Association of Sydney,

    “The Alumni Association of Sydney has also requested the Trustees to influence the Board of Directors to release to the public the current constitution of the Board of Directors and all relevant legal documents related to the moveable and immoveable assets of the College including buildings and lands.”

    The schools are registered with the Ministry of Education and receive most of their funds from foreign sources. They are thus covered by the RTI Act.

    In addition to influencing the Trustees you should make RTI requests for the documents you want to see.

    The minutes of the meetings of the school boards should also be available using the RTI Act.

    I am former student but no longer SL citizen so that cannot make RTI request.

    • 1
      0

      It’ll be interesting to hear from you whether the Director (Mr Salahudeen), Private School Branch (4th Floor), of the Ministry of Education, Isurupaya, Battaramulla, actually responds to such a request.

      I don’t think that he will. The poor man hasn’t got sufficient staff to accede to such a request.

      • 1
        0

        Sinhala_Man,

        “7. Minutes of all meetings of the Board of Directors made available publicly.

        9. Copies of bylaws (amended, if needed, to provide for term limits) and governing documents,
        as currently in effect.”

        These should in my opinion be requested from the schools not from the Ministry of Education. The principals must be the information officers.

        “I don’t think that he will. The poor man hasn’t got sufficient staff to accede to such a request.”

        The RTI Act does not mention lack of staff as a valid reason to reject a request but it can be used for a short delay in disclosing the information. One very valid reason would be that the Ministry of Education does not have the minutes and latest governing documents.

        Are you willing to make two RTI requests if I pay for the costs? You live far a way from the danger zone and have no relatives and friends at the schools. Even better is if we can convince alumni abroad to make the requests.

        • 2
          0

          Dear Realistic Approach,

          I’d like to help you, but having been in the Education Department myself (mostly as a teacher, later just visiting schools as an Adviser – so even in that set up I didn’t rise very high); having that experience as I say, I don’t think that I’m going to even make the attempt.

          You are still at the point of seeking information; I gave them proof of irregularity:

          xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/15607092/…/name/Illegal_Appointment_of_Principal.pdf

          Yet, all that then Director/Private schools, Mrs Priyanthi Kuruppu (now in Brisbane, Australia) did was to send it to the Provincial Director for Uva, in Badulla, S.M. Jayatilleke. He did not know English to start with, and handed it all over to another guy who didn’t know English, by-passing the present Provincial Director (Piyadasa Ratnayake) who does know English pretty well. At that time “SaMu” (that’s what he was known as – Samarakone Mudiyanselage – abbreviated – a sure sign that he’s a “Hela-Sinhala Scholar” – like WJM LokuBandara, for Minister of Education and former Speaker ); SaMu as I said was seeking an extension BEYOND the age of sixty (many try this saying that they are so knowledgeable that they are indispensable). He was trying to stave off Piyadasa Ratnayake.

          I can’t remember the name of the guy who was asked to inquire. Anyway, he summoned Marc Billimoria who just showed his First Class in History from Pune University. Also, when it became apparent that Marc couldn’t really use Sinhala effectively, the poor guy must have been over-awed by this guy from an obviously different social world.

          A more telling example will follow.

          • 1
            0

            Sinhala_Man,

            “I’d like to help you, but having been in the Education Department myself (mostly as a teacher, later just visiting schools as an Adviser – so even in that set up I didn’t rise very high); having that experience as I say, I don’t think that I’m going to even make the attempt.”

            I repeat that the relevant information (minutes and governing documents) is something that the schools not the Private Branch has. Let us wait and see what if anything the bishop has sent to the Trustees despite the fact that there have not been Board meetings.

            • 1
              0

              “Let us wait and see what if anything the bishop has sent to the Trustees despite the fact that there have not been Board meetings.”

              When? This report says he sent something on the 12th of February. Did he send anything else after the 12th of February?

            • 1
              0

              Thanks, Realistic Approach.

              You have understood correctly. This is too complex and localised for outsiders to handle.

  • 0
    1

    Honorable Sumanthiran,

    “At a separate function held on the same day, TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran declared open the newly built diocesan auditorium at Vaddukoddai.”

    Any truth in the rumours that you paid for the auditorium?

    Unfortunately I am no longer a voter and cannot make RTI request due to foreign citizen ship to ask about where you spent your MP funds intended to please the voters.

  • 0
    0

    The alumni,

    “The alumni all over the world have lost faith in the current Board of Directors and are seeking stronger intervention from the Trustees to prevent further erosion of the values for which Jaffna College was founded in the nineteenth-century by American missionaries. The Trustees seem to be their only hope at present. With only a week left for the March 15 deadline for the Board of Directors, well-wishers of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College are keenly awaiting the next move by the Trustees to set things right at these two illustrious institutions.”

    The trustees can demand action and use cuts in funding as a threat.

    The alumni should use the RTI to obtain information and demand action.

    Is the police station still next to the school, the Bishops house and the principals bungalow?

    • 0
      0

      Asha,

      “Is the police station still next to the school, the Bishops house and the principals bungalow?”

      It is still in the former sports club that the police occupied next to the college years ago. The stone throwing and other interesting things happen on the other sides of the college where the bishop, principal, deputy principal, staff residencies and hostels are.

  • 4
    0

    While on the fate of the two schools, it is unproductive to focus too much on Bishop Thiagarajah. The problems predate him by several decades. The important question is, are the Trustees committed to spending the time and effort needed to bring back the old glory? Are the OBAs spread between the Arctic and Antipodes committed to manning the breach? Why have they failed all this time to put things right?

    One answer given by an old boy is, “from the 1980s we produced lots of mediocre people, incapable of providing leadership.” It is partly to do with the nature of the people who have passed through their portals, who made use of the connections of these institutions and gave back very little. The Church sent many for prestigious medical degrees in Vellore. But the Church’s once proud medical mission is dying.

    It is partly emigration and lack of a committed base locally that precipitated the school’s problems and the Bishop’s commanding position on the board. It was a reality Bishop Ambalavanar had to face. He was an able and tough administrator, who calculatedly took the Church into the nationalist camp. Once mixed with this brand of politics, morals were severely threatened. One or more clergy built their empire through charitable work in wartime and the connections it brought. The rhetoric of Liberation Theology was placed at the service of the Tigers.

    The clergy in general became servile and at the end of Ambalavanar’s term, the Church and its institutions were gasping for breath. Thiagarajah came in at a time when the Church faced a painful crisis in finding a successor to Bishop Jebanesan. Jebanesan tried to distance the Church from the extreme nationalism with which it had become associated and repair its strained relations with other Protestant denominations.

  • 4
    0

    This day and age should Bishops be running schools in a secular country ??? Is there a reason for religious structures inside an educational institute ???

    It does not matter if the Americans are funding it .. we can always stop it and bring it under Government control or administer it through local funding.

  • 2
    0

    Selvi Selliah is a power hungry woman. She was the Principal of Uduvil Girls’ College till she was 68 or 69 years old. When the Bishop terminated Shiranee Mills in 2009 Selvi Selliah rushed to Uduvil to become the Principal again. The students showed her black flags.

    She goes from Colombo to Vaddukoddai for all the important church functions. And the Bishop honors her by giving her gifts in public. She was present at the Bishop’s birthday celebrations too. She has no self-respect. A stooge who licks the Bishop’s boots for fame and power.

    Vijula Arulanantham is another stooge. People are saying that the Bishop gave one of the prestigious Vellore medical scholarships to Vijula’s relative. Her loyalty has roots in this shady deal.

    Now the prestigious Vellore medical scholarships are given to non-CSI members. People are saying that the leadership of the Church gets bribe from non-CSI members and then awards these scholarships to them.

    Can’t the Trustees dissolve the Board of Directors? Once Jaffna College Board of Directors had eminent persons. Now the Bishop has filled it up with spineless nobodies and his yes men and yes women. Who needs these insignificant nobodies who do not have an opinion of their own?

    • 2
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      Arul,

      “Who needs these insignificant nobodies who do not have an opinion of their own?”

      The bishop.

    • 3
      0

      A very credible answer from “Realistic Approach”.

      Applies absolutely to Anglican schools in the South as well. The Catholics, with their much larger numbers, are running their schools much better.

      For that matter even the Methodists and the Baptists show more commitment. I wonder whether you know what their schools are?

  • 2
    0

    If Sumanthiran is involved there has to be selfishness, corruption and Arrogance, his identity traits. Isn’t it clearly seen when he says forcibly disappeared around 20_40.000 is the responsibility Suresh and not Msithiri. Such a rogue he is. Even his victory was created by Ranil. Everybody knows.

  • 6
    0

    If part of the present problems of these schools is the use of a doctored constitution, challenging it in court, to correct it, is merely the first step. If the alumni have constructive ideas about how to recreate the old glory of these schools and make them alive to current needs, and if there is commitment to bring these ideas to fruition, no indication of that has been forthcoming in these responses.

    Without that commitment, attacks on Thiagarajah, Selvi and Sumanthiran are not going to achieve anything. Those like the Trustees looking at things from afar would have little interest in personalities, and could easily conclude that there is little choice between the present team and their critics. Those looking for change must show superior commitment and a superior vision.

    The public must be warned about what is going wrong, but they must also be given the hope and means to work for change. Enough has been said about personalities and if this column is simply about that, it would not attract an influential readership.

    The Trustees may for example offer to use their influence to bring about a new board. Do they have a credible body to talk to about this? Whom would they like appointed to a new board, and what difference would it make? These are questions that need answers from committed persons.

  • 3
    0

    Trustees, alumni and parents,

    Some kind of an audit has lately been done at the schools by what is probably again Ernest&Young from Colombo. If the bishop does not send the audit report to the trustees something negative has been detected. The schools should be able to show where the annual 85 million they receive from the trustees has gone.

    After discussions with friends and parents of Uduvil girls I want to give some advice.

    A 5% cut is not enough to compel the bishop to do anything. 20% will work. He cannot run the schools without money.

    Use the Right to Information Act to request documentation from the schools. Even if you receive nothing the requests will make the bishop and his supporters anxious. If the schools refuse to disclose information they will have to face bad PR and court cases. It does not cost anything to try.

    Who has paid for the new CSI auditorium? Who has paid for the new cars? The schools have no money. Jaffna College requests funds from alumni for very basic things and very small amounts on their home page.

    The bishop is getting nervous. He has given cars to the principals. According to my sources about 20 members or more of the staff of the schools have been sent to India during the last months by the bishop for meetings, training etc. He has publicly called for the reverends of CSI to reconcile with him in the CSÍ newspaper. He is loosing his power and trying to buy support. The money for all of this must come from somewhere.

    It would be nice to see Uduvil girls in action like last year. Can Jaffna College parents arrange similar events?

    • 3
      0

      Realist,
      The Bishop may be nervous and losing power. Is that really good news? Power is going to fall into someone’s hands. Do we have any idea who that would be. Just because you are angry with someone and want him removed from the pedestal, the result does not guarantee any good. What follows after may be worse.

      As a general rule in politics, change has to be prepared for, you need a realistic alternative with an attractive vision. Without that Mahinda Rajapaksa would still be in power.

      Remember that the campaign to place Thiagarajah in power nearly fifteen years ago, spoke about the un-attractiveness of the alternative and little about Thiagarajah himself.

      • 4
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        Northerner,

        Thank you for your comments. Are you a former student also? My feeling is that you know and care more about the CSI and the bishop than I do. I am interested in the schools and the students not the church or bishop but they are of course connected.

        The trustees have demanded changes in the boards and the administration of the schools. How and by whom the changes would be implemented is not known. Like you I would like to know who are the alternatives to the current directors and leading staff.

        The trustees unfortunately have no “boots on the ground” in Vaddukoddai and Uduvil. Most of the educated alumni have left and only write letters to support the trustees.

        The schools have been receiving a lot of money (85-90 million?) annually without adequate strings for a long time. I don’t have the details but it looks like the money has been arriving pretty much regardless of decreasing numbers of students (JC now only 1200 down from 2000!! UGC statistics are unknown.) and sinking quality of staff. There has maybe been no incentive for the staff to work since the salaries are paid anyway. The trustees are obliged to send money to the schools or other Christian educational projects in Jaffna District.

        The war explains a lot but in my opinion the situation only became worse after the war.

        I don’t expect any positive constructive reply from the bishop and the boards next week.

        • 4
          0

          Thank you Realist,
          Now we have come to a statement of the problem and I hope this discussion moves forward with others joining in. I was in no way defensive of the Bishop. But it is only fair to say that he is also a prisoner of a system that has been getting out of control for some time, at great cost to the students. He became bishop at a time when the clergy base had been considerably weakened – clergy too were taking to wings in significant numbers, especially those who could function in English.

          Let us hope this discussion would lead to greater commitment among the alumni. That is the only hope.

          • 4
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            Northerner,

            The trustees have publicly demanded action since Solomon became principal of Jaffna College some 3-4 years ago. There was a big audit at that time by Ernest&Young and the Master Plan was created. The results of the audit and the Master Plan were to my best knowledge never published. This was totally wrong in my opinion. In order to develop the schools the existing problems should have been discussed with the alumni, parents and staff. The Master Plan should have been written together. I have never heard about a Master Plan for UGC.

            I suspect that there was a deal: the bishop agreed to the Master Plan and the trustees promised to be silent on the negative findings of the bid audit.

            Now the trustees are reminding of the Master Plan and the fact that financial audit reports have not been provided since 2015. How can the alumni, parents and staff help the trustees and participate in school administration as members of the boards if they don’t have all the information?

            Another problem for the participation of staff, parents and alumni is the alleged abuseand bullying at Jaffna College. Protesting UGC girls were apparently abused verbally and physically. Many stake holders near the schools will think twice when deciding on if they want to w0rk for change or not faced with the potential threat of violence.

            The local alumni and parents should provide information for the trustees and diaspora alumni. It is possible that the trustees and far away alumni have never heard about the new Right to Information Act.

            • 7
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              Realist,
              I am glad we are getting further. Your reply shows that the OBAs and OGAs are too weak to even contemplate action, as if we are still living under Prabhakaran, Gotabhaya or Douglas.

              Getting over this requires initiative. I am also surprised at the sluggishness of the responses to this story. By comparison Panini Edirisinghe stirred up a hornets’ nest when he began exposing in the CT the unconstitutional fixing, partly by the Bishop of Colombo, in appointments to the St. Thomas’ College Board of Governors.

              Jaffna College is not second to STC. It has an older and more honourable heritage. Its alumni in the Youth Congress stirred up the independence movement in this country in the 1930s. It was a leader in questioning colonialism.

              Why are we fallen so low?

              • 7
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                Northerner,

                “Your reply shows that the OBAs and OGAs are too weak to even contemplate action, as if we are still living under Prabhakaran, Gotabhaya or Douglas.”

                Actually I think that there is more action than before which does not mean that enough has been done.

                During the last months we have seen the parents and girls of UGC protesting. The Vaddu alumni has met Solomon and the JC Board alumni rep has made some questions. Maybe this is nothing new and only the reporting is new.

                The threats and even abuse of JC staff and the trustees shows that there is a need to silence them.

                “Getting over this requires initiative.”

                Yes!

                “I am also surprised at the sluggishness of the responses to this story.”

                So am I. Maybe people are waiting for the 15/03 deadline.

                One reason for the passive parents is fear of reprisals of the their children. Many parents pay reduced or no fee and this is decided by the principals.

                “By comparison Panini Edirisinghe stirred up a hornets’ nest when he began exposing in the CT the unconstitutional fixing, partly by the Bishop of Colombo, in appointments to the St. Thomas’ College Board of Governors.”

                I did not really follow what he did. The appointment of the deputy principal at JC might be irregular but alumni and trustees should find the details and act.

              • 10
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                Dear Northerner,

                I may have stirred a hornet’s nest, and it did result in many comments from alumni, many of whose real identities (e.g. Plato) are not known to me. Yes, many were happy that I had raised the issue, but “the authorities” have not responded in any way – and they have got away with it.

                This was the third article, and they were able to call a halt to comments at one point. Start exploring the “problem” from the end!

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

                It is true that the stake-holders of schools fear “reprisals” of all sorts, but I think that I must state this. Although the schools have a Tamil medium, they are in the South. It may be that the stake-holders prefer to have dictatorial Christian clergy breaking lots of rules rather than having extreme Buddhist types running the schools. This applies even to the majority of teachers – lots of them non-English speaking Buddhists who had studied in State schools. To ratiocinate all this to you, I may have to hire a learned sociologist!

                Applying that principle to schools in the North, it may be that many stake-holders prefer to have culturally neutered Christians running their schools rather than Hindu Fundamentalists – whatever they may be called.

                It may be that I could say more later.

                • 5
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                  You touch on an issue that should receive greater attention. What is important for a school that intends giving its students the best is that it should be be headed by a scholar. All these schools have been headed by clergy in the past, but they were scholars. A prominent instance that comes to mind is Father Peter Pillai of St. Joseph’s and we could find several more examples. That kind of inspiration is irreplaceable.

                  When we have clergy heading schools at present it is because scholars among the lay are not coming forward. Some of the present principals are very active and keep their students busy, but whether they inspire scholarship is a separate matter.

                  • 6
                    0

                    Dear Northerner,

                    Yes, I think that your misgivings are well founded. If we were to think of the “Administration” as the officially empowered Heads of the schools, the Deputy Heads, and the Boards of Governors of these private schools, then there is a pattern that is emerging. What I am saying may apply more to the S. Thomas’ schools than to the others, which I know less about.

                    These are Anglican schools that we are talking about. The Heads and the Chairmen of the Boards are all clerics, whose basic good intentions when they set out must all have been good. However, the training that they have all received centres upon Christian Evangelism, and more specifically what comes from Calvinism. All have had their formation at the Serampore University affiliated Theological College at Pilimatalawa. The sole exception that I know of is the Headmaster at Gurutalawa, who had earlier been a Roman Catholic priest.

                    On the Boards there are Bankers and Accountants and others who have succeeded in business. Then there are what you have yesterday called, below, the legal mafia. All people who have been successful with money. We need all that, but there has to be a healthy mix. What is lacking is those who have solid backgrounds in the Liberal Arts and in the Pure Sciences. We do need people who have kept up with the latest thinking in Education, Psychology and objective Philosophy if we are to run schools that provide an all round education. Search as I might, I cannot find anywhere accurate information on even the composition of the Boards, quite apart from the the skills and background of the Members. There are things that I know because of my experience and background, but parents and teachers (to say nothing of the children, obviously) know nothing of how they are controlled. So much is shrouded in mystery.

                    Many have tried to make out that I’m concerned with personalities. No. My main complaint was, and is, a lack of transparency, and a simple adherence to regulations. As you say, how can we fight it out in Courts of Law when there is ambiguity in even the wording of the Regulations, which again concerns a lack of scholarship?

                    • 6
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                      Sinhala_Man,

                      Thank you for your interest in the North. The problems you have pointed out in the South are similar to ours but you in the South have not reached our level of physical abuse, intimidation and throwing stones.

                      “The Heads and the Chairmen of the Boards are all clerics, whose basic good intentions when they set out must all have been good. However, the training that they have all received centres upon Christian Evangelism, and more specifically what comes from Calvinism. All have had their formation at the Serampore University affiliated Theological College at Pilimatalawa.”

                      “On the Boards there are Bankers and Accountants and others who have succeeded in business.”

                      UGC and JC are different from the South but not very much. I think that the directors of the boards have been listed on CT. Some are on the home page of JC.

                      Except for the multi-role bishop/manager/chairman the principals, deputy principal of JC and vice principals and even teachers of JC and UGC have degrees that look good at least in theory. You can see some on the home page of JC. I think that the Jaffna VC has ordered an inquiry into the suspicious quality of the Masters in Education that many at JC have. Many of the degrees are open university or external degrees.

                      I wish UGC would publish as much as JC. JC started the home page when Rev Solomon took over.

                    • 2
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                      Dear Lone Wolf,

                      There are all these references to Deputy Heads in your schools. Are they qualified to succeed as Head? The Education Department will insist on them being “graduates of a recognised University”, and that they should have at least ten years of teaching experience.

                      Currently all 4 S. Thomas’ schools have Anglican priests. All of them have something like the B. Th (Serampore Univ. – which is located in a suburb of Calcutta. Some have more than that, but let us have to accept that qualification as sufficient. Teaching experience can be of any subject, at any level. Eksith Fernando, appointed to Mt Lavinia in 1999 did not have any teaching experience at all, and was thrown out by the Supreme Court. Actually, Eksith is still living and is said to be a nice man. I have not met him. The Department of Education took strong objection to Brig. Ariyaratne at Trinity. And they had an absolute crook Bishop of Kurunegala in Shantha Francis – the man who drew his mother-in-law’s pension for five years after she died. Please explore that yourselves! I don’t know everything! Currently they have an Englishman who was first Principal of Colombo International School, then of The British School in Colombo.

                      The Church will insist on the appointee being a Protestant Christian. There is a certain hostility towards Roman Catholics.

                      As for Board of Governors Members, no qualification is stipulated. Lone Wolf, I leave it to you to explore the links given by me and report to the country what you find out from the Internet. I was accused of getting too personal. May be. So, please do the searching yourself, and tell your (mainly Northern) readers what you make of the position in the South of Ceylon.

                      “Ceylon” – it is high time we took seriously the issues that matter, and relax when talking!

                      Anyway, Mt Lavinia has always had a Deputy Head called the Sub-Warden. Gurutalawa has tried to have a Deputy although they are numerically the smallest. At a BoG interview for two Headmasters for the Uva schools, the then Manager (when he found my appointment being blocked by my now good friend – that friendship is now genuine, wonders never cease – Merril Aluwiahare) whether I would like to be the Deputy to “Disaster Mendis” who was going to be appointed.

                      I said, “I’d do anything to help”.

                      Aluwihare: “Do you know what the Deputy’s salary will be?”

                      I shot back: “No, and I don’t want to know!”

                    • 4
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                      Sinhala_Man,

                      “My main complaint was, and is, a lack of transparency, and a simple adherence to regulations.”

                      In addition to the lack of transparency and good governance JC and UGC suffer from regulations that are unknown. Look at one of the demands from the trustees:

                      “9. Copies of bylaws (amended, if needed, to provide for term limits) and governing documents,
                      as currently in effect.”

                      The more I study the demands of the trustees the more sense they make.

                    • 4
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                      Dear Lone Wolf,

                      I found, yesterday, at long last, that this site gives your the current members of the Board of Governors of the 4 S. Thomas’ schools. The Ordinance of 1930 says that 80% of them have to be “Church of Ceylon”:

                      http://stcmount.edu.lk/bog/

                      Members of the Board of Governors of S. Thomas’ College as at 01st March 2017 are follows:-

                      Rt Revd Dhiloraj R. Canagasabey (Chairman)
                      Lord Bishop of Colombo and Visitor to the College
                      Mr R. N. Asirwatham (Hony. Secretary)
                      Mr. R Renganathan (Manager and Treasurer)
                      Mr. Kavinda Dias Abeysinghe
                      Mrs Nirmali Wickremasinghe
                      Mr. Senaka De Fonseka
                      Mr. Mithra Edirisinha
                      Mr. Ray Abeywardane
                      Dr. Arittha Wickramanayake
                      Mr. Rajindra Jayasinghe
                      Mr. Milinda Hettiarachchi
                      Mr. Channa Asela De Silva
                      Mr. Prabhath Jayasundara

                      This is the Ordinance:

                      http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/04_STC_Board_of_Governors_Ordinance.pdf

                      It can be changed only by an Act of Parliament.

                      The Rules framed by the BoG themselves, stipulate 15 Members – i.e. 3 can be Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims or Jews! I once suggested that the Bishop co-opt my Belgian-Jewish neighbour.

                      There are only 13 Members (Last Supper like!) listed above. Shall explain vacancies later.

                    • 3
                      0

                      Dear Lone Wolf,

                      Ah, yes, the vacancies – for anybody up there who is interested. One is because there is nobody representing the Universities. It had been Prof. Amal Kumarage who is dead serious about his work and is kept on the hop all the time. He resigned about a year ago having said that the BoG functioned rather like a club.

                      The other vacancy results from the death in November 2016 (four months ago) of Prof. Dayasiri Fernando.

                      What this means is, indeed, that there are only two who have done actual teaching (but that is not too bad, all things considered, is it?) : Mrs Nirmali Wickremasinghe (the first woman on the Board, by the way) – the retired Principal of Ladies’ College, and Mr. Channa Asela De Silva, who had been a very committed teacher in the school up to two years ago, but had decided to focus on Private Tutoring – in Chemistry.

                      Let me hope that exposing the very real cheating that took place has ensured that there will be no repetition. We can never be certain as to the effects of some of the things that we do.

        • 1
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          “Who are the alternatives to the current Board and leading teachers?” – A great question. There are well-respected, trustworthy intellectuals in Jaffna and other parts of Sri Lanka. And fortunately (this is mainly because the constitution of the Board says that the directors have to be Christian) many of them are Christian too. And some are old students of Jaffna College too! These intellectuals, and a group clergy and active church workers from the American Ceylon Mission, Methodist Church and Anglican Church can form the core group of the Board of Directors. Then you can think about other stakeholders like alumni, parents, students, larger public, etc.

          As for leading teachers, the new Principal should come from the outside. I can even think of some names. But I do not want to reveal them here.

          There are capable people to run the school. If an opportunity is given to them they will definitely rectify the problems that plague the school now.

          The current Deputy should have NO place in the administration. Nobody can work with him. He will NEVER allow anyone to do good things.

          • 0
            0

            Selvakumar,

            “The current Deputy should have NO place in the administration.”

            Yes but how to get rid of Mr Anton Chandrakumar Francis?

            • 1
              0

              To handle the current Deputy.

              He could be easily handled if there is a group of strong, honest Directors who in no way are obligated to him. The problem is the current Bishop got these his and his team’s infamous services (attacking the churches and pastors of the breakaway group) when he consolidated his position in Jaffna after becoming the 4th of Bishop of JDCSI. The Bishop had told someone “I am unable to take action against him because whenever I receive complaints I am reminded of how he welcomed me to Vaddukoddai in 2006 when many were against me”

              There was a rumor that the Bishop even owed money to ACF. People including the current Bishop are scared because ACF has a group of teachers inside the schools and some Vaddukoddaites who are known for thuggery!

              So the new Directors should tell him he can be a teacher at JC if he wants or he can even continue as Deputy but with specified responsibilities. If he tries to impose his authority over others as he does now he should be shown the door. For this to happen the Board should be liberated from the Bishop.

  • 1
    0

    Former students of Jaffna College,

    Is this new auditorium SHILOH not what was earlier known as the Levi Spaulding Home for boys?

    Where are the boys?

    If the building belongs to Jaffna College why is there a CSI auditorium? If the building belongs to the CSI why were the boys there?

    • 1
      0

      Yes – The building that housed Levi Spaulding Home has been made an auditorium. Levi Spaulding Home was one of the boys homes run by the JDCSI. The students used to attend Jaffna College.

      But people say all of the buildings on the other side of the road (except maybe the Cathedral church) including the Bishop’s house once belonged to Jaffna College and American Ceylon Mission. One is not sure about the legal status of those buildings today. The President of Jaffna College used to live in what is today known as the Bishop’s House.

      • 1
        0

        Arul,

        “One is not sure about the legal status of those buildings today.”

        Same seems to apply for the other resources they have like money and staff.

    • 0
      0

      Realistic Approach,

      “Where are the boys?”

      Since there are less students we can maybe assume that there are less boarders also. Thus no need for the Spaulding home?

      The boarders were often sponsored by alumni and due to the problems this kind of alumni financing might be less than before.

  • 3
    0

    While it is important to understand that these problems have a long history, it is only in the recent past (say within the past 10 years so especially after the crisis in the Church and the lack of importance given to quality under the previous Principal’s tenure), a new group of alumni – Christians and Hindus- has emerged to challenge the authorities. Rev A. A. Paul, Principal of Jaffna College tried to rectify the situation, especially staff recruitment. But he did not receive much support from his Vice Principal. Also, the alumni were misled about Paul’s efforts by an alumnus based in Vaddukoddai who is no more. The third Bishop of JDCSI, to his part, also made decisions with little regard to the Principal’s autonomy. Rev Paul fell ill and passed away in 2003 when he was the Principal with his efforts receiving little success.

    There was no participatory approach in the administration of Rev. Paul’s successor. The Principal became the center of the institution, and the Principal rather than the school became ‘prominent’ during his tenure for unworthy reasons. He did not give much importance to education. There was lack of quality in most things that he initiated. In other words, there was a lot of ‘show’ rather than improvement in concrete terms. He promoted people like the current Deputy Principal partly out of fear and partly in the hope of getting an extension for himself citing that the current Deputy needed time to mature into a leader. To his credit, he tried to maintain his autonomy and resisted Thiagarajah’s attempts to bring the school totally under his control. He had some or full control over recruitment but he lacked the vision to recruit appropriate teachers. He also maintained cordial relations with the Trustees.

    • 0
      0

      Selvakumar,

      “He had some or full control over recruitment but he lacked the vision to recruit appropriate teachers.”

      Did he not install his wife as Head of English or similar despite her being unqualified? She had to leave JC when he retired due to a complaint to the bishop by another qualified teacher of English.

      As to the man himself. External university degree, some kind of “rapid” masters from UK he received at the last moment with 50+ years of age to qualify as principal and finally an on line “doctorate” for life experience or similar from a university accredited in Papua New Guinea. Now this “Dr.” leads the only international school in Jaffna.

      • 2
        0

        Vaddu Thanga,

        You are right that she was made the Head of English. Though she did not have proper/formal qualifications, if you speak to her students many of them would say she was one of the best English teachers JC had in the recent past.

        She has a good grasp of the language. She speaks the language fluently. English must be her first language (the language she would have spoken at home from her childhood days). She also worked as the Secretary to the Principal (when the late Mr Rajan Kadirgamar and Bishop Jebanesan were the Principals of the school) for many years before becoming an English teacher at JC. She trained English plays too when she was a teacher. Although one could contest her appointment as English teacher and Head of English, she did her job so well. Had someone else been appointed as Head of English, that person would not have been as good as she. She taught English in the primary school for several years before she started teaching English in the senior school. All in all, it was not at all a bad appointment or promotion in retrospect. If I remember correctly, she was the Head of English for only two years.

        I don’t think she left the school because of some complaint (I have not heard about the complaint). She just did not want to continue as a teacher after her husband’s retirement.

        • 2
          0

          Selvakumar,

          “You are right that she was made the Head of English. Though she did not have proper/formal qualifications, if you speak to her students many of them would say she was one of the best English teachers JC had in the recent past.”

          Nepotism can give good results. A daughter or wife of a reverend with weak A levels can be a better teacher than a person with a masters degree. Academic degrees alone make nobody a good teacher.

          • 0
            0

            Agree with you completely. Just because it worked in this case, it should not become the practice. The current Deputy Principal and the ex-Principal brought the former’s friend’s sister (friend is also a teacher) as an English teacher (not sure why the ex-Principal agreed to this appointment. out of fear?). The result in this case apparently is a disaster!

          • 2
            0

            Agree with you completely. Just because it worked in this case, it should not become the practice. The current Deputy Principal and the ex-Principal brought the former’s friend’s sister (friend is also a teacher) as an English teacher (not sure why the ex-Principal agreed to this appointment. out of fear?). The result in this case, apparently, is a disaster! So advertising the positions and recruiting qualified and skillful candidates with the help of a selection panel that comprises qualified persons with a far-reaching vision is a must.

            By the way, the standard recruitment practice at Jaffna College for the past decade or so at Jaffna College has been you first recruit the person (nepotism is the basis here) and then decide what subject that person would teach. There are management graduates teaching in the primary school and one with a diploma in Agriculture is teaching science in grade 6-11 classes. Another person with a BSc degree in Food Science is teaching English and Geography. Another with an IT degree is teaching Maths and English. Another with no knowledge of English is teaching English.

            Primary School is replete with teachers who have not undergone any training in primary education. At govt schools, all primary teachers have gone through a training. JC used to recruit candidates with good A/L results and then send them for training in various subjects at the govt-run teachers’ training colleges. These candidates proved themselves good teachers.

            • 4
              0

              Dear Selvakumar,

              I liked this one:

              ” Another with no knowledge of English is teaching English.”

              You really are part of Sri Lanka!

              I’m now too old to do any real work. But you know, it has been held at S. Thomas’, by some Old Boys who wanted to manipulate things that I knew no English; and even today, at STC, Bandarawela they don’t think that I should be allowed to help in little ways in a voluntary capacity.

              I did have to know a little English to win the Leigh Smith Prize for English at Peradeniya University in 1985.

              Now do something for S. Thomas’, please!

              https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-whited-thomian-sepulchres-the-pharisees-who-cheat/

          • 3
            0

            There is one issue that is missing here. Many JC teachers – past and present, Hindus and Christians – want their children to be recruited as teachers once they retire. They seem to think that teaching positions at JC are hereditary. If you take the list of teachers and count how many of their parents or wives or children or siblings are teaching now or taught in the past at JC you will find many. Add this to the wives and children of pastors, the number will go up. Nepotism is rampant at JC. But it is not just the Christians but Hindus at Vaddukoddai and other areas are also contributing to it.

      • 1
        0

        As to the man himself – yes, his administration was not good. It was all show and no quality. The school did not recruit good teachers for a long period of time. Even some of the appointments made in the 1980s and 1990s were not great. During the war years many saw him as the best choice from within after the demise of Rev Paul. Some even tried to promote him as the Principal in 2000 itself. But Bishop Jebanesan and Former Vice Principal Mr Rajasingam and others on the Board preferred Rev Paul for his intellect, simplicity and honesty.

        With a Deputy like Vasuki Rajasingam, Rev Solomon would have been a better leader than his predecessor. But as of now the Board of Directors and his present deputy do not allow him to do anything. They have made him their slave. As Realist has posted here, he may not even know what the Bishop and the Deputy are doing behind the scene. But that is not an excuse. He is too loyal to a group of employers who do not deserve any respect or loyalty. He should either assert his independence and be with the Trustees and the alumni or quit his job. Occupying the chair of the Principal and allowing others to damage the school is unacceptable.

  • 3
    0

    Continued..

    In 2014, a new dispensation took over with Rev Solomon as Principal and Vasuki Rajasingam as one of the Vice Principals. The atmosphere in the school was so unconducive and hostile that Ms Rajasingam resigned from her position in a few days. Afterwards Bishop Thiagarajah took full control over Jaffna College. Rev Solomon, though a person with a clean image, lacks the leadership qualities to assert his independence. He has no say over recruitment. Most appointments are done through secret negotiations and underhand deals between the Bishop and the Deputy Principal. The Bishop changed the constitution pruning the Principal’s powers and allowing greater control for himself over the school.

    The issue now is while the Board of Directors have full control over the administration of the school, the Trustees have complete autonomy regarding the funds. It is in a way good because the alumni and parents can appeal to the Trustees to prevail upon the Board of Directors to implement the reforms necessary to restore quality at Jaffna College. But given his track record in the church and the governance of the schools, it is too much to expect that the Bishop will implement the reforms put forward by the Trustees. The alumni and parents and students need to come up with an alternative in collaboration with the Trustees. What is that alternative is the million dollar question today.

    • 2
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      Selvakumar,

      “Rev Solomon, though a person with a clean image, lacks the leadership qualities to assert his independence.”

      I share your opinion. In addition I have been told that Solomon does not know or understand all that is going on.

      “Most appointments are done through secret negotiations and underhand deals between the Bishop and the Deputy Principal.”

      With the bad reputation the school has does it receive qualified applicants? Maybe one reason for the unqualified members of staff is that there is nobody else to choose?

      “The Bishop changed the constitution pruning the Principal’s powers and allowing greater control for himself over the school.”

      Can he do that?

      “The issue now is while the Board of Directors have full control over the administration of the school, the Trustees have complete autonomy regarding the funds. It is in a way good because the alumni and parents can appeal to the Trustees to prevail upon the Board of Directors to implement the reforms necessary to restore quality at Jaffna College. But given his track record in the church and the governance of the schools, it is too much to expect that the Bishop will implement the reforms put forward by the Trustees. The alumni and parents and students need to come up with an alternative in collaboration with the Trustees.”

      Exactly!!

  • 3
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    Selvakumar,
    Your comments and conversations with other alumni give much food for thought. One factor identified is that the Bishop who is a hopeless administrator with no vision, but fully engrossed in his survival, is solidly entrenched. The reason for the last is that he could go to courts at the drop of a pin and win, because of the legal mafia backing him – having at least three formidable members. One of them would cost at least Rs. seven lakhs to retain. His very un-gentlemanly insult of Uduvil principal Sherine Mills in court was widely talked about with great indignation by many people, but it ended there. Many feel powerless. But cannot this weakness be overcome?

    Jaffna College is an important part of Jaffna’s heritage. It cannot be allowed to become a football kicked around by mediocre persons with no vision. It requires a few committed persons who would stand up and fight. Many who had been part of the institution are marking time in Canada and Australia – by that I mean they have no interest beyond their immediate families. Cannot some of them be persuaded to go back and do something worthwhile?

    Jaffna University has reached a point of decay where it will do very little to uphold an intellectual culture in Jaffna. People should be reminded what Jaffna College was and what it could become.

    • 4
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      Northerner,

      “Cannot some of them be persuaded to go back and do something worthwhile?”

      Vasuki Rajasingam was willing, chosen and appointed to work at Jaffna College as Vice Principal. Her English husband had already been teaching English once a week at JC. Their daughters were admitted to the college. Then something went wrong. Among the reasons I have been given for her and her husband leaving Jaffna College in early 2014 after only some days is the fact that she asked to see the fresh audit report of Ernest&Young and was told that she cannot have it.

      “One of them would cost at least Rs. seven lakhs to retain.”

      I don’t want to see new court cases unless they are criminal cases (fraud, intimidation, child abuse) where the state prosecutes free of charge. Does the bishop, church or schools have money to retain expensive legal help? The information on the homepage of JC shows them bankrupt.

      “But cannot this weakness be overcome?”

      I believe that the demands in the first trustee letter are from the Master Plan prepared in 2014 by Ernest&Young after the findings of the audit. All though the Plan and Audit report have not been published it is clear from the demands that the Trustees are concerned about cash flowing out from the schools. They are also worried about the Boards being anything but independent. Thus the demands of financial monthly audits and the independent reps of alumni, staff and parents.

      The bishop, the previous principal of JC, the deputy principal and some others were during years before the audit of 2014 accused by the alumni of taking trustee money intended for the school. If the audit cleared them why did the accused not publish it? That is what any normal person would do!

      Once again: for real change we need parents, alumni and trustees working together. I hope that there is more co-operation than what has been published here. Mere CCs to alumni is not enough. A cut of 5% also is not enough. The schools depend on trustee money and that must be used to the maximum.

      • 7
        0

        Vasuki Rajasingam was not even given an appointment letter. The Bishop refused to give her the place allocated for staff (which is now used as a guest house) although the Principal was very willing to let her stay there with her family. She also faced threats from the stone-throwing Vice Principal and did not want to be in the house that the Bishop wanted her to be in as it was right next to the stone-pelter’s house.

        The stone-pelter and his henchmen even sent her a letter asking her not to accept any administrative position at Jaffna College.

        There is a minor error in this report as Lone Wolf has pointed out. The Trustees actually cut 20% of the funds allocated to Jaffna College.

        I agree that mass protests by parents and alumni are a must to change the situation. The Trustees should inform the people of Jaffna, parents, alumni and other stake holders that they have no trust in the Board of Directors and ask the alumni and parents to constitute a new Board of Directors that will implement all of the reforms mentioned in their letter. I am not sure if this alternative will be legally valid. But it seems to be the only way-out. Once an alternative is proposed, the Bishop and others would be scared to go for legal action as it will create serious repercussions in the community.

        • 7
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          Dear Shanmugam,

          Yes, I think that you should try something like what you suggest.

          You are rightly not counting on the teachers – they are unlikely to have the courage to see this process through. If students start protesting, it could spoil your case.

          Yes, strong public opinion will probably deter the Bishop from fighting a difficult legal case. I hope you know that the S. Thomas’ Board of Governors actually lost SC APPEAL NO. 55/99 in Nov 1999. Today you have to pay a lot to download a copy of that landmark judgement.

          Let me check on my HDD: only 112 kb rtf (that’s called Rich Text Format, I think.)

          EKSITH FERNANDO
          v.
          MANAWADU AND OTHERS

          (ST. THOMAS’ COLLEGE CASES)

          Note that the alumni did not succeed. Ananda Manawadu is a non-Thomian who was a parent at that time. He told me that it was not really a victory that he enjoyed.

          My contact details are scattered among certain responses that I have made when challenged about the contents of my three articles. In more than one place. I feel that the problems at JC and UGC are as genuine as those at S. Thomas’ that I have highlighted. This EKSITH case was different.

          I will be happy to send you the the judgement.

        • 1
          0

          Shanmugam,

          “She also faced threats from the stone-throwing Vice Principal and did not want to be in the house that the Bishop wanted her to be in as it was right next to the stone-pelter’s house. The stone-pelter and his henchmen even sent her a letter asking her not to accept any administrative position at Jaffna College.”

          Did she inform the trustees of this and send a copy of the letter?

          The deputy principal is mentioned as being one of the chief villains especially by the alumni who have repeatedly taken up his role.

          A quote from “Jaffna College Prize Giving 2016”:

          “I should not forget the tireless service given by the non-academic staff and the minor employees under the supervision of Mr A.C. Francis, Vice Principal who always works behind the scenes.”

          If we can name others why not name the new deputy principal Mr Anton Chandrakumar Francis?

        • 1
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          Shanmugam,

          “Once an alternative is proposed, the Bishop and others would be scared to go for legal action as it will create serious repercussions in the community.”

          I doubt if he cares about the community. There are at least two things that limit his potential for legal action:

          1) lack of money.

          2) A court case and media attention would expose what he has done and criminal cases would follow.

          I expect a deal with the bishop.

          The problem is what will the others using the schools and the trustee money for their own purposes do. They don’t have to listen to the bishop.

          • 5
            0

            Deal with the Bishop is not a good idea.

            Few years ago when Bishop and Ms Vijula attended Trustees meeting, Trustees were quite impressed with what the duo said. Trustees saw some hope in them and thought they would be sincere and introduce good changes. But what happened after a couple of years tells you that the Trustees are thoroughly disillusioned. Otherwise they would not have written a lengthy letter which includes reforms. Coming to an agreement with the Bishop will be a waste of time. The Bishop is too obligated to too many in the Church because he relied on too many people’s support to assert his position in the Church. Now all of them want rewards. Even if the Bishop wants to change for the better the others who helped him are not going to let him change. He has to give them gifts.

            Rev Antony filed a case against Rev Jeyanesan in the 2000s which helped Bishop to drag Bishop elections indefinitely and eventually cleared the way for him to become Bishop. When Solomon became Principal, one of the first things Bishop did was to give a teaching job to Rev Antony’s wife at JC. This is just one example.

            Few days after Vasuki Rajasingham left JC, the staff quarters that she occupied during her stay was given as accommodation for Rev Antony’s relatives who came from some distant place to attend his daughter’s puberty ceremony. See how the resources of the school are used for the private events of JDCSI clergy.

            So if Trustees talk to Bishop he would promise x, y, and z within a year or two but will not have done any of them by the end of that period. Then the Trustees will have to write to him again demanding changes.

            • 0
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              Ratnasingham,

              “So if Trustees talk to Bishop he would promise x, y, and z within a year or two but will not have done any of them by the end of that period. Then the Trustees will have to write to him again demanding changes.”

              I agree with you but at the same time what is the alternative? The trustees have the right and duty to make sure that the money they send for Uduvil and Jaffna College is used only for the schools and in an acceptable way. They have no right to demand that the bishop resigns and this he would definitely resist.

              The way I understand the demands of the trustees is that they are willing to let the bishop and even others to continue for the time being. However they want to control what goes in the schools using an Audit Committee, a Nominating and Governance Committee and a faculty hiring committee supported by external financial audits. These as you say were already promised once when the bishop promised to implement the Master Plan in 2014.

              I have read the latest Jaffna College Prize Giving booklets and all of them contain promises of implementing the Master Plan, hiring a human resources director, an administrator for the Master Plan etc. Promises that have not been kept. In the latest report even the Board is said to be behind this. If this is true then the question is who is against it and manages to block it?

              It is very important to obtain copies of the minutes of the Board meetings. This should be possible using a RTI Act request addressed to the school. I assume that Solomon is the information officer.

              The power of the trustees is based on the fact that the schools cannot survive without the money from the trustees. The trustees cannot make RTI requests so that this task is for the alumni and parents.

              • 4
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                On the different committees proposed

                1. Having these different committees is great. But Bishop would not let them work. If you read Trustees’ letter you will see the letter does not demand that members from the same family should not be on the Board. Instead it says, disclose the relationships. The Bishop would disclose the relationships. He will say his brother and wife were elected by JDCSI Council and Trustees have no right to interfere in appointments made by JDCSI. No JDCSI member will demand changes in the way elections are done in Diocesan Council.

                2. He will form a nomination committee and come up with a plan to have eminent professionals and educationists on the Board and will appoint JDCSI members who are ‘educationists’ or justify the current ones. Rubavathanan who is on the Board is a lecturer at one of the universities. He will say Chelvi Selliah (retired Principal, Uduvil), Suganthy Vairasinghe (retired teacher, JC), Nagaiah (current treasurer and retired principal), Indra Thavanayagam (current secretary and teacher at a neighboring school) are educationists. He will argue Vijula Arulanantham is an eminent professional. One of the JDCSI clergy or members may become the parents’ representative. Trustees’ letter says inner circle, not JDCSI. He will argue that they are not part of his inner circle or even dismiss that idea.

                3. Will any of the proposals by the Trustees put an end to Mr. Chandrakumar’s authoritarianism? He is going to be at JC for another 12 years or so definitely as its Deputy Principal blocking changes and intimidating new comers.

                4. The Bishop may come up with some reforms that would in theory (at the word-level) satisfy the demands by the Trustees. But, in reality, they will not mean anything.

                • 1
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                  Ratnasingham,

                  Where do the directors of the Boards come from? JDCSI Council decides?

                  Who are the directors? Can you list them?

                  What are they supposed to do?

                  I agree with you but have less information than you do.

                  Mrs Indra Thavanayagam is vice principal of Victoria College.

                  What is your alternative?

                  • 1
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                    The constitution (not confirmed as yet as the amended one – it was posted here in the last report) says 6 members should be from JDCSI appointed by the Diocesan Council. One alumni rep (any religion), one staff rep (elected by staff – but must be a Protestant Christian and an alumnus) and the remaining members (should be protestant Christians, not necessarily JDCSI) are appointed by the Board. As all the members of the current Board except 2 are from JDCSI, it is not sure which JDCSI members on the current Board representatives of JDCSI. Here is the list:

                    JDCSI members:
                    1. Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel Thiagarajah (Bishop – Chairperson)
                    2. Dr (Mrs) Thayalini Thiagarajah (his wife – in charge of Holistic health clinic run by the Church)
                    3. Rev. Dr Gunalan Thiagarajah (his brother – pastor of the JDCSI)
                    4. Rev. Pathmathayalan (pastor – JDCSI Colombo)
                    5. Mr. Nagiah (Treasurer – Rtd. Principal from Navaly)
                    6. Mrs. Indra Thavanayagam (Secretary – Vice Principal, Victoria College)
                    7. Mr. Rubavathanan (Lecturer – Uva-Wellasa University)
                    8. Dr C V Selliah (Rtd Principal, UGC)
                    9. Mrs. Suganthy Vairasinghe (Rtd. Teacher, JC)
                    10. Mr. Muthuratnananthan (Staff Rep – Rtd General Manager, Electricity Board, Northern Region)

                    Non-JDCSI members
                    1. K. Sugash (Alumni Rep – Hindu)
                    2. Ms. Vijula Arulanantham (Anglican – Vice Chairperson)

                    These are the names I can remember

                    • 1
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                      Sugirthan,

                      Thank you for the list and information. It would be interesting to have the names of the Uduvil Board also.

                      The list has many professionals and some whose competence I have no idea of. The main problem is that they apparently are not independent being appointed by the JDCSI and the Board itself except for the alumni rep. How is the alumni rep chosen when the alumni is spread globally?

                      Two of the directors are lawyers and it is difficult to understand why they would possibly knowingly participate in irregular or even illegal decisions. I still don’t know who decides or is supposed to decide on staff appointments and how the school funds are used.

                      I have heard that the schools have recently leased (not bought) two vehicles. Likewise I have heard that some staff members of JC were sent to India for training and a large group to the recent CSI meeting. Then we have the appointment of Anton Chandrakumar Francis as deputy principal. All appointments btw should be approved of by the Ministry of Education.

                      Are these kind of decisions for the Boards, principals, managers or the chairman or is it a fact that nobody really knows? I sure don’t know and badly want to study the minutes and governing documents.

                      Somebody wrote here that JC has no money at the moment. If this is true there should be an explanation for how the Trustee money and the admission and annual fees have been spent in less than three months of 2017. New admissions are at 58,000 and annual fees maybe about 2500. Even with reduced fees for many the fees became millions of rupees (maybe 5-6 million or more) in the beginning of the year. Was part of this used to lease a car and send staff to India to a CSI meeting? If similar cash transactions were made in 2015 and 2016 they should be found in the audits that have been demanded by the Trustees. One finding of the 2014 JC audit was that there had been far too many payments in cash without proper book keeping.

                      Who are the JC staff members doing construction and catering?

                      I hope that CT keeps us posted about what the Trustees and other stake holders do. The cut should continue.

                    • 1
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                      Sugirthan,

                      Are all these directors of the Jaffna College Board? I wish to add Rev. Solomon who is the principal and also the secretary of JDCSI.

  • 3
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    Real Estate?
    I have been following this discussion, but one key aspect of it has been missed. To the lack of vision in the management of church institutions, including Jaffna College and Uduvil, must also be added the medical missions, and the mismanagement of finances. The properties and assets acquired over 200 years are being treated as real estate to make up for mismanagement. The February salaries of clergy and diocesan workers were paid in the first week of March after obtaining a loan, at what cost one does not know. A house in Jaffna town donated by an Ariaratnam is now being used by Dan TV. Several properties are up for sale, like where the diocesan press was, have been sold, or have been assigned to others on terms that are not transparent.

    The medical missions have been run down although they were thriving up to the 1970s. There is no good reason for this. Private medical costs are exorbitant with specialists charging Rs. 1000 or more to see one patient a minute. Private institutions like North Central Hospital are milking patients. They have imported equipment and patients who go there are made to pay for tests they don’t need.

    There is a need for mission hospitals that charge moderately for the best treatment and even give almost free treatment to the very poor.

    The Church is closely connected with the Vellore Mission. Could not a branch of that mission have been set up in Jaffna? Perhaps the split in the Church created difficulties. But the mission serves a common purpose and other denominations could have been co-opted as stakeholders. I understand MacLeod Hospital in Inuvil is also going to be parcelled out. All this stinks of high level corruption. Sumanthiran and other lawyers too must answer

    • 2
      0

      It is important that the properties of the Church should also be protected from the leadership or the first family. It was said that DAN TV was used for Sumanthiran’s campaign after the land was donated by the JDCSI. Remember DAN TV was the only media invited to the secret installation service held at the cathedral church at Vaddukoddai for Mrs. Jebamohan as Principal of Uduvil.

    • 2
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      Batticotta Watcher,

      “The properties and assets acquired over 200 years are being treated as real estate to make up for mismanagement.”

      There is no other way to finance the church. The small and not very wealthy congregation is unable to collect enough money for the bishop, other staff and maintenance of the church buildings.

      The main problem is that the church might sell assets and steal money that belongs to the schools.

      “The February salaries of clergy and diocesan workers were paid in the first week of March after obtaining a loan, at what cost one does not know.”

      This happens after the costs of repairing the building where the auditorium now is. In addition there are the reports of many members of the staff being sent to India recently and the claim that new cars have been given to the principals.

      One of my embedded moles has told me the bishop has ordered valuable trees to be cut down and sold them.

      A quote from the “Prize Giving 2016” of Jaffna College: “In the future we intend appointing a person with sound qualifications in financial management or accountancy”.

      • 1
        0

        You sound as though the Bishop and his cohorts greater realists than yourself. Is it our realism to watch this daylight robbery and this wanton destruction and merely wring our hands?

        There are for example thriving mission hospitals in South India. I am sure there are people here who know a lot more about them. Can we not find the means to revive and save our own? Should we just watch them become victims of realists who see no way out than to cut trees and parcel off real estate to keep themselves afloat a little while longer?

        While we have our hospitals that could be revived to provide a decent service, we would not be forgiven if we simply hand over the monopoly to the money-minting private hospitals that are coming up.

        • 1
          0

          Batticotta Watcher,

          “You sound as though the Bishop and his cohorts greater realists than yourself. Is it our realism to watch this daylight robbery and this wanton destruction and merely wring our hands?”

          You have misunderstood me because I was not clear enough. Please read my earlier comments.

          I know something about the schools and not very much about the church and the hospitals except that they exist. I am sure that you know more than I do.

          Hindu temples are registered by the Department of Hindu Affairs and thus Right to Information can be used to obtain information. If churches are registered by a department or ministry they also should disclose information based on RTI.

          There are alternative and cheaper hospitals in the area like Green Memorial (still JDCSI?) and Moolai Co-op Hospital but their resources are very limited.

  • 3
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    Sinhala Man
    “The Rules framed by the BoG themselves, stipulate 15 Members – i.e. 3 can be Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims or Jews! I once suggested that the Bishop co-opt my Belgian-Jewish neighbour.”

    Any chance for an atheist or agnostic (to give one the benefit of the doubt)? There are more of them in this island than Jews, who are perhaps outnumbered by Bahais.

    • 2
      0

      “No, no! No way! Those who don’t believe in God are evil!!”

      That seems to be the Sri Lankan way of looking at religion. Actually, I’m much too open about such things. When interviewed for Sub-Warden, Mt Lavinia in 1990, I was asked by Bishop Jabez Gnanaprgasam ( a really saintly man) whether I was a baptised and confirmed Anglican. I said yes, but that I wanted them to know that I was an agnostic when it came to the existence of God.

      Many years later, when I related this to Warden, Dr David Ponniah, he could hardly believe that I could have been so naive. “You mean you said that and actually expected them to select you?”, he asked. David and I were in the same class in school for some time. A decent guy, but we weren’t close friends.

      The Belgian, Jacques Huyghebaert is a quite remarkable man. He rescued the Gurutalawa school starting Feb, 6th, 2007, when there were only 154 students. That’s a story that will require 300X30 words to relate.

      SJ, the reality is that most educated Protestants are agnostics; it’s just not discussed, unless it be by a man like Aluwihare, who I’m sure was genuinely shocked by my candour. But he now recognises a few other worthwhile qualities in me.

      The problem is that some evangelicals believe literally in the Bible. “What to do?”

  • 0
    0

    Bahais believe in god. but no fun.
    Fun is when evangelicals get a foothold there.

    Religious institutions are members only clubs with rules for admission.
    David P is decent and a liberal at heart, and you should have talked to someone like him before declaring your hand.

  • 0
    0

    We need not get lost in some aspects of this argument. The founders of the school came as missionaries and what they founded had implicit in it Christian beliefs, a commitment to prayer and religious worship, not compulsory for non-Christians, and also a secular aspect. They believed that the spread of a modern secular education to all and sundry was the appropriate witness to their faith.

    In choosing people for positions in such institutions, it is unprofitable and unnecessary to conduct an inquisition into their beliefs, but we need a commitment made in good faith that they would uphold the founding traditions and would do nothing to undermine them. Our criticisms of the present management are primarily to do with their undermining the foundations of the institutions by throwing ethics to the winds in the quest of sheer survival.

    • 2
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      Dear Northerner,

      You have analysed the position well. Yes, I’m liable to go over the top sometimes. I think that even in my comments on what happens in the Jaffna Peninisula I’ve been fortunate that no one has asked me not to talk about what I don’t really know about.

      I was taught by some of the last missionaries; I think that they genuinely wished us well, and made no attempt to impose their ways of thinking on us. It is difficult to now even understand such noble motivation. I’m sure that some among locals also have such firm commitments.

      There is some sense in saying that politics and religion should not be discussed, unless there’s dead seriousness and understanding among the discussants. As you say, all that should be in the background, and we must get on with doing what we must bearing in mind that others are emotionally attached to certain beliefs – and that applies to me as well. We may believe ourselves to be rational, while actually being driven by our emotions. As I have already noted those who were shocked at my honest and earnest effort to be open about my own doubts were those to whom their faith meant a great deal.

      Yes, at that fateful meeting, I did make the point that I would keep such doubts to myself, and practice the religion, even if I felt it to be merely going through the motions. I guess we all have moments of doubt. That’s the point: the disciple Thomas was one such!

      But having done all that mea culpa stuff, I still feel that we have to insist on all aspects of life in our school being pursued with due regard for ethics and morality. What you say about survival could be taken a few steps forward. After some time, these clerics whom we now have reservations about imagine that they are justified in ignoring the norms that prevail. Anyway, having granted all that let me be less lugubrious as I fill in some other spaces left blank since preceded by a question mark.

      • 2
        0

        “I think that even in my comments on what happens in the Jaffna Peniniula I’ve been fortunate that no one has asked me not to talk about what I don’t really know about.”

        That is because such ‘authorities’ themselves do not know what the are talking bout

        • 0
          0

          On second thought:
          No one has asked you ‘not to talk about what you don’t really know about’
          either because such ‘authorities’ themselves do not know what the are talking about
          or
          because what you say pleases them.

        • 0
          0

          Hopefully you are telling yourselves that not all who speak a different language in “the South” are indifferent to how Tamil speakers are faring in this “Unitary State” of ours.

          SJ, I have already seen your good humoured response to my personal criticism of what you’ve been doing on the Jaffna Uni. Council. You are an outstanding man; it is also great that you are able to handle quite searing criticism in the way you do.

          But the criticism remains.

          Thanks for so much else. Have taught David P? Actually, after school days, I caught up with him only after he became Warden of the Mt Lavinia school. Jacques Huyghebaert and I were rescuing the branch school at Gurutalawa.

          “They” try to doctor that story, play his role down so as to claim that it was others who achieved that, although “JacquesHuyghebaert M.A.” is now listed as “Acting Headmaster, 2007” on a wooden panel in the “Foster Hall”. He never had such a designation, and actually worked two years full-time as “Finance Manager” of the school visiting it daily with his daughter who was schooling there. Not a cent did he take as remuneration. Even the petrol for his “Toyota Rav 4” at his expense.

          I had written an article which the school put on the Internet. The title was:

          “Jacques Huyghebaert – the Triumph of a Humble Man”

          They’ve removed that. But also gone are some things which calumniated him. By now I’ve spent two hours exploring this website:

          http://www.stcg62group.org/index.htm

          That’s a labyrinth. And when they realise that I’ve got at something embarrassing, they remove it. Each time you go there, beware. Until you learn how to silence it, the entire neighbourhood is disturbed by the College Song in “midi-format”.

          How THIS ever got put on the Internet, I don’t know. They just can’t remove it; it is dynamite, but no longer relevant.

          xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/15607092/…/name/Illegal_Appointment_of_Principal.pdf

          Google Jacques’ name. Many things written by him on other subjects appear, example:

          http://www.vlcr.cz/english/

          He knows about 15 languages, fluent in 7.

          • 0
            0

            Your criticism is based on a set of assumptions which I do not accept and there are many things that I cannot dislose for breach of code of conduct.

            You have a right to your opinion and I to mine; kindly tell me when I do something dishonest, I will thankfully correct myself.

            I did not teach David P he was only a year junior.
            I taught his sister Banu.

            I wonder if I will have time right now for the information that you have– believe me or not I am working much harder than when I was employed.

  • 1
    0

    “Please send us a letter by March 15, 2017, reporting in detail about the requirements on
    Appendix A that each Board has taken by that date, and the measures that each Board will
    complete by June 30.”

    Have the Boards had a meeting to discuss and write a report to the trustees? The dead line is tomorrow.

    I thank CT for reporting on the schools and expect them to continue.

    • 1
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      No such meeting has taken place so far. No change at JC will happen without the crisis becoming deeper. Perhaps the Trustees should completely cut the funds. The teachers are saying no money at school. The administration is asking the teachers to cash the salary checks soon. Some who tried to cash the checks failed as there was no balance in the bank accounts. Is the school suffering because of the reduction imposed in January? Or does the school anyway need more money and what is provided by the Trustees is not enough? Or is someone swindling part of the money allocated to the school?

      What will happen if the Trustees say

      “We cannot fund the school until the following interim reforms are implemented?

      1. The Diocesan Council can nominate 5 or 6 members as stated in the constitution followed now
      2. The Trustees in consultation with the alumni and parents will nominate 5-6 members
      3. The alumni representative will be elected by the alumni
      4. Staff representative will be elected by the staff
      3. The Chair of the Board should be elected every year from the members – if Chair for 2017 is from group 1, the Chair position should be given to someone in group 2 in 2018.”

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        Anojan,

        You certainly paint a very grim picture. It also suggests that the Trustees have very few options. In the old days Jaffna College had a large supporting community. This was also reflected in the composition of the board as contributors to this debate have pointed out. For many Hindus and Christians from other denominations, Jaffna College was the first step to a degree in an Indian university or London University.

        This community support was reflected in the resistance to government takeover of Jaffna College in the early 1970s. Among those who prominently opposed the takeover were Orator Subramaniam and N. Sabaratnam, old boys who became principals of leading Hindu schools.

        The reality today is that after the breakup of the CSI, the talent and professional base the church could draw from is very limited. As to why that happened has been hinted at in these responses. Even if the Trustees read out the riot act, there is little that is practically possible, unless they bring in a number of capable persons from America, India or elsewhere.

        As for a possible first step, I was told that when one section (the larger one) wanted to split from the CSI and form the ACM, Bishop Jebanesan pleaded with them not to, but to stay within and fight it out. Perhaps they should re-join the CSI collectively (which presents no doctrinal issues). That would give the institutions a larger talent base. They should then work for ways of enlarging the support base of the institutions, drawing in the first instance from other Christian denominations.

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          Northerner,

          Thank you for your comment.

          “Even if the Trustees read out the riot act, there is little that is practically possible, unless they bring in a number of capable persons from America, India or elsewhere. As for a possible first step, I was told that when one section (the larger one) wanted to split from the CSI and form the ACM, Bishop Jebanesan pleaded with them not to, but to stay within and fight it out. Perhaps they should re-join the CSI collectively (which presents no doctrinal issues). That would give the institutions a larger talent base. They should then work for ways of enlarging the support base of the institutions, drawing in the first instance from other Christian denominations.”

          You are correct about the drying talent pool and all the rest. Is not the main problem regarding the talent pool the fact that directors of the boards except the alumni rep have to be (Protestant?) Christians? Have I misunderstood the rules?

          How many professional (Protestant?) Christians are able and willing to spend their time on two rural schools in Jaffna? How many of them live in the area? What do the “Colombo directors” know about the area?

          I have thought about bringing in a Trustee or more than one to supervise the schools. An easier and cheaper alternative might be to externalize cash management of the schools. This would not help with recruitment and other problems so that resident Trustees would be better.

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          Northerner, Thank you for all your comments and suggestions.

          The rebels’ choice for the Bishop’s position twelve years ago was terrible. Sadly, CACM does not have membership in the National Christian Council of SL. The BoD constitution says all Protestant Christian members of the Board should have membership in a church that has membership in NCCSL. Due to some rule followed by NCCSL only Churches that have been operating for the past 20 years can become members of NCCSL. People say Sumanthiran, as VP of Methodist Church, was instrumental in introducing this rule and he did it during/after the church split with the intention of blocking CACM out.

          One has to be careful in identifying Hindus and non-JDCSI Christians. There are many Hindus in Jaffna who are willing to collaborate with the JDCSI leadership. Similarly some priests of non-CSI churches also have good links with the Bishop. Rev. Nesakumar of the Anglican Church is a good example. CSI website has pictures of him attending the various events of the church.

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            Thank you Anojan,

            The facts you mention are poor instances of Christian leadership during the war years, and also how unhelpful NCCSL has been. Many who should have provided that leadership had migrated.

            It must also be said that many fine Christian leaders remained during the war, both in the mainline and particularly in the evangelical churches, in the face of enormous hardship.

            The non-CSI clergyman you mention features in real estate controversies and pecuniary deals doing the rounds. He was once a great favourite of the Colombo hierarchy. The priorities in Colombo church politics seem to have run their own course, unhelpful to people here. Contrary to what you say of Colombo attitudes, local clergy in other Protestant denominations are friendly to the CACM, while somewhat distant from the CSI.

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        Dear Anojan, beware!

        You have said: “4. Staff representative will be elected by the staff”.

        Today is the ” Ides of March”. In 1964 we had to do Julius Caesar for O.Level English Literature; I guess you know that Julius was murdered on the Ides of March – in some year B.C.

        The cheating for the 3 Thomian Branch Schools was on the Ides in 2015, at 2.00 p.m. – a year ago to the dot was THIS:

        The Gurutalawa Headmaster conducted a proper, elaborate, secret ballot, and selected two messengers to send the results to the “election” at Colpetty. He did it a month early, and went off to Hawaii for some workshop.

        At Bandarawela, on Thursday, the 10th of March, at a routine ten minute Meeting of the Upper School staff only, the Headmaster asked that a teacher volunteer to be one “messenger boy” to carry the name of an un-named person to carry the message to Colpetty. All refused, but he found a quisling later. To that he added “the Secretary” to the school as the other messenger. All the minute details of that operation appear in comments on the three CT articles that I posted.

        At Kollupupitiya itself, the process is reportedly the same. Old Boy-Parents speak about it in some detail in the comments on my articles. Bishop Dhilo Canagasabey’s sister-in-law was one of the “messengers”.

        Bandarawela and Kollupitiya colluded. The Gurutalawa representatives who had come with the names and votes received by three “candidates” looked foolish, and BoG Secretary, Rajan Asirwatham, who was conducting proceedings, recorded a quite different person elected (backed only by the “Reverend Heads” of Bandarawela and Kollupitiya).

        I once more have cordial chats with the Bandarawela Headmaster. He is ex-officio President of the OBA, I’m a Vice President. He now says that the Secret Ballot had to be conducted at Colpetty in the presence of Rajan A.! Methinks the messengers could have got very rich, accepting bribes, if that were the case.

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

        Those are the all important Rules. Six pages to be opened by Adobe, but only the first page matters. Study it. How did ambiguity creep in: deliberate or poor Thomian English?

        It’s the details that matter – and surely the cheating is clear. The Staff Representative was elected by two cheating Headmasters. The third can maintain a clear conscience.

        So, that’s what COULD happen at Jaffna College as well..

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        Anojan,

        “No such meeting has taken place so far.”

        I also have no knowledge of meetings of the Boards. This means that what ever information the bishop possibly has sent is not what the Trustees demanded.

        “No change at JC will happen without the crisis becoming deeper.”

        Yes and don’t forget Uduvil.

        “Perhaps the Trustees should completely cut the funds.”

        Might be better to reduce more instead of cutting 100%.

        “The teachers are saying no money at school. The administration is asking the teachers to cash the salary checks soon. Some who tried to cash the checks failed as there was no balance in the bank accounts. Is the school suffering because of the reduction imposed in January? Or does the school anyway need more money and what is provided by the Trustees is not enough? Or is someone swindling part of the money allocated to the school?”

        The money from the Trustees is not supposed to be enough and the cut is meant to hurt.

        The Trustees wired $70,247 for Jaffna College. This is about 10,537,000 rupees for the first quarter. In addition to the Trustee money there are admission and annual fees.

        “What will happen if the Trustees say “We cannot fund the school until the following interim reforms are implemented?”

        Can the reforms be decided on and implemented according to valid governing documents?

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          Can the reforms be decided on and implemented according to valid governing documents?

          If the Trustees tell the Board of Directors they will continue the funding only if reforms like the ones mentioned above are implemented, what will happen? The current Board of Directors will have no option other than amending the constitution to include these provisions. The Trustees need to explain to the larger community why they want these provisions to be included in the amended constitution and why 5-6 members should be appointed by the Trustees.

          The reasons:
          1. Many have lost faith in the current BoD dominated by the JDCSI
          2. To maintain pluralism (include more Hindus, Christians from other denominations)
          3. To maintain quality

          People will understand it. There will be pressure on the Board from the community to adopt these changes.

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    Sinhala_Man,

    “It’s the details that matter – and surely the cheating is clear. The Staff Representative was elected by two cheating Headmasters. The third can maintain a clear conscience.”

    I have now read what you have written on CT. What more can we do than all you have tried so far? Fund a court case?

    “Those are the all important Rules.”

    At least “your” rules are available and cannot be modified without the parliament. In Jaffna we don’t know the rules.

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    Dear Uduvil fan

    “The Bishop announced cash offers of a thousand rupees each, in addition to a thousand given by a bank, to every student who passed the grade five scholarship. He promised cash to the teachers as well and even more if they do better the next time. “
    That money was taken from the College by Bishop.

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    Anojan, Realist and other contributors,

    It has been a good and healthy debate. Many contributors wrote constructively. Unpleasant things the public ought to know, to guard against their recurrence, have also been aired.

    On the issues you raised, we are agreed that the board must be pluralistic. I think that is how it was in the 1950s. A prominent old boy (a Hindu) still in public life, used to joke that the deterioration of the institutions began when the royal families took over from the missionaries. He had of course a high regard for Boss Selliah, as a manager completely dedicated to the school.

    The royal families seem to have fallen victim to reverse missionary migration – carrying as it were the missionary flame from here to the de-Christianised West. The loss of the talent pool is not just within the CSI, but within the Christian community in the north in general. There are of course lots of new Christians from the poorer classes who are finding it hard to get their children into good schools.

    Jaffna College and other mission institutions have no future as exclusively for Christians.. That was never the intention. But they are statutorily Christian institutions, and to remain so they must find a core of committed Christians to offer quality leadership. If able Christians here or abroad cannot man the gap, they are finished as Christian institutions, and the fault will rest entirely with the Christian community.

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      Northerner,

      Thank you for your contribution.

      “If able Christians here or abroad cannot man the gap, they are finished as Christian institutions, and the fault will rest entirely with the Christian community.”

      Yes indeed. The Trustees are legally bound in the USA to pull the plug if mismanagement and other serious wrongdoings continue. Unfortunately the people with the power at JDCSI, Uduvil and JC only see their short term goals.

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    Realist Approach,

    Apparently, most Board members keep quiet during the meetings. The ones who speak often are the Bishop, Vijula and Dr (Mrs) Thiagarajah.

    Appointments are done without any public notifications like advertisements. In January an old boy of the school was recruited to teach English at JC. Apparently he does not have proper qualifications in the field. He is a Philosophy graduate from Madras Christian College. Not sure if he followed his courses in English medium. Since he does not have formal qualifications in English, the right thing to do is to send him to one of the teachers’ training colleges where teachers undergo a training program in teaching English as a Second Language. He may have some potential. But the Board will not do it. Or they will send him for a two-weeks training in India or the British Council. The training college may not be great. But that is the best option available. It is also very rigorous.

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      Peace,

      “Appointments are done without any public notifications like advertisements.”

      That is what I suspected but I still don’t know who appoints and especially who is supposed to choose and appoint. The Board?

      “In January an old boy of the school was recruited to teach English at JC. Apparently he does not have proper qualifications in the field.”

      Another English teacher! How many English teachers does JC have and need? How many of them are qualified?

      “Or they will send him for a two-weeks training in India”

      That is the or one of the training trips I wrote earlier about. Expensive and not good enough. I see this training more as a bribe.

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        How appointments are made…

        Old students (both Hindus and Christians), members of the Church and others looking for jobs approach the Board of Directors, pastors, the Bishop, his family, teachers and administrators of JC. Instead of the school, these individuals are the ones who initiate recruitment! They or their relatives or friends will approach one or more of the above. And then the Board members and administrators would either say “no vacancy” or if the candidate is close to them or will be useful for their personal gains they will be recruited. Noel Vimalendran did most appointments on his own (most are bad). For some reason, the Board let him recruit most of people he wanted. Now things are decided by the Bishop (possibly with the consent of Vijula).

        The above English teacher’s brother is very close to the Bishop. He was once the secretary of the alumni parent body. Then his son was (unfairly) accused of killing an old student of St. Patrick’s at the big match 2014. Some JC old students were drunk and killed this old Patrician. Brother’s son was spotted among the group that attacked the Patrician but people say he was just there. The Bishop tried to sort this matter out with the help of the military high command in Jaffna (the Bishop is very close to the military too). The brother needed the Bishop’s help to release his son. English teacher’s Brother and his wife are working at Jaffna College Technical Institute. Apparently, the Bishop is suppressing the Director of the Technical Institute and promoting the English teacher’s brother in the Technical Institute by giving him more powers. It is quite possible that the one who is working in the Technical Institute would have been instrumental in this this recruitment.

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        Wife of the Patrician who died at the Big Match was appointed as a librarian at JC. I think it was sort of a compensation + an attempt to negotiate with her to get her to withdraw the case. She did not withdraw the case.

        When Mrs. Jeyamohan was appointed as a teacher, one of the Vice Principals Victor Jeyakumar argued she should be taken because there was nobody to represent the Araly region on the staff of JC!!! Apparently the school buys construction materials from her father’s shop. Mr. Jeyarajan also worked heard for this appointment.

        Rev Arnold’s daughter is a teacher at JC. Mr. Jeyarajan’s brother’s sister is a teacher at Uduvil. She was seen in one of the videos threatening the students and old students who were protesting the removal of Mrs Mills. She too got the job after the transfer documents by Jeyarajan, although her father has been with Bishop Thiagarajah from the beginning of the church split. Her father is no more (murdered – but that has nothing to do with the church or school politics)

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          Peace,

          “Brother’s son was spotted among the group that attacked the Patrician but people say he was just there.”

          If this is a case of what is called a riot or illegal assembly in the Penal Code then just being there is enough reason to be punished.

          “The Bishop tried to sort this matter out with the help of the military high command in Jaffna (the Bishop is very close to the military too).”

          What does the military have to do with a criminal case? You are saying that the Bishop attempted to influence the police or judge thru the military?

          “Is a librarian at JC. I think it was sort of a compensation + an attempt to negotiate with her to get her to withdraw the case. She did not withdraw the case.”

          When the husband has been killed the widow cannot withdraw a court case. Maybe you mean to withdraw a demand for compensation?

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    The Realist Approach,

    The following teachers were recruited without advertisements or interviews after Solomon became the Principal. Remember the problem precedes Solomon’s appointment as Principal and Bishop Thiagarajah’s consecration as Bishop in 2006.

    1. Mrs S. Prasanna (member of the CSI church from the Vanni -some say a great teacher – some say not so good)
    2. Mr. F.K. Shelton (an old boy whose support the Bishop needed at the time played a major role in the appointment)
    3. Miss. J.A. Mithiraranjan (mother retired teacher – appointment was made after her retirement – parents are still members of CACM)
    4. Mrs. D. Daniel (The wife of CACM priest who moved to the JDCSI recently. Appointment made after the switch)
    5. Mrs. E.M. Antony (The wife of the priest who lodged a complaint against the Bishop Thiagarajah’s rival candidate Rev Jeyanesan)
    6. Mrs. D.T. Jeyarajan (Father, mother both teachers and retired and continue to work at JC post-retirement. Father was Treasurer when the church split occurred. Switched to JDCSI in 2014. Afterwards this appointment was made)
    7. Mrs. S. Jeyamohan
    8. Mr. R. Rajendra

    Others whose parents were teachers/employees (the appointments were reportedly given because of their parents’ connection to JC). These appointments were made long time ago.

    1. Mrs K. Theiventhiram
    2. Mrs T. Thavasekar
    3. Mrs. Y. Kokulavasan
    4. Miss. S.M. Sountharathasan
    5. Mrs. T. Ramesan

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      Sathasivampillai,

      For what ever reason JC Prize Giving report 2016 mentions only one new appointment. Jeniffer Rochelle Devasagayam B.Sc. from Colombo University. Teaching English despite a degree in science and was sent to India. Former student of JC.

      As you may have guessed both parents belong to JC staff and JDCSI Vaddu congregation.

      She is qualified but not as an English teacher.

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        About the 8 appointments mentioned above..

        1, 2, 4 and 5 were appointed before the Prize Day of 2014. If they were appointed as permanent teachers, their names should appear in the 2014 Prize Day report.

        6 was appointed in mid/late 2014, after the Prize Day of 2014. 3 and 7 were appointed in January 2015. These three names should appear in the Prize Day report of 2015.

        8 was appointed in January 2017. He was a teacher at JC till 2008/9. Then went abroad. Came back and worked in Colombo for a few years. Now back as teacher. His name should appear in the forthcoming report.

        Many said Miss. J.R Devasagayam was appointed as a Temporary teacher. Her mother who was teaching in the Primary School (she worked as a clerk for several years. Suddenly she became a teacher in the 2000s) fell ill (sad) – she can’t work anymore. The daughter was recruited as a substitute or that’s what they said earlier. Since the report mentions her name, hers must be a permanent appointment too. Perhaps she is teaching English now. Yes, you are right – her degree was in Science. Her father is a clerk at JC. And the family are members of the JDCSI Vaddukoddai.

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          Sathasivampillai,

          “1, 2, 4 and 5 were appointed before the Prize Day of 2014. If they were appointed as permanent teachers, their names should appear in the 2014 Prize Day report.”

          Prize Giving Report 2014:

          New Appointments from 01/04/2014

          James Joseph Mary
          Vigneswaran Navaneethan
          Kirubalini Jeyakumar
          Shelton Francis Kulendran
          Chittra Prasanna
          Nushantha Ehamparam

          Nothing about their background.

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            Chittra Prasanna and Shelton Francis Kulendran are 1 and 2 in the previous comments. Both were appointed in early 2014.

            James Joseph Mary (he had been teaching at JC for many years) and Kirubalini Jeyakumar were teaching at JC even before Solomon’s appointment as Principal. Maybe they were there as temporary staff and were made permanent by Mr Noel Vimalendran in 2013 a few months before his retirement?

            It was rumoured Kirubalini’s mother is a close friend Dr (Mrs) Thayalini Thiagarajah. She has a diploma in Agriculture and a BA external degree. She teaches science to 6-11 classes (not qualified to teach Science though).

            Lushantha Ehamparam got a government job and left JC. She was a good music teacher. The school did not need a third music teacher. But she was far better and talented than the other two.

            Vigneswaran Navaneethan is apparently good and was appointed by Mr. N. A. Vimalendran. He teaches Geography at JC.

            Since the names of 4 and 5 do not appear in the report, it is possible they were not made permanent in 2014. Should check their status at JC at present. The 2017 staff list however has their names. Or the report did not mention their names because they are wives of JDCSI pastors and the Bishop did not want to give prominence to them as it would attract unnecessary attention.

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              Sathasivampillai,

              There are many teachers with university degrees (42) and even Masters degrees (4) at JC. Total academic staff was 56 last year. It is difficult for outsiders like parents to know which degrees are external/open university and which are not. My guess is that the majority of the degrees are external/open university.

              Many are teaching wrong subjects.

              It is surprising that the results especially Grade 5 are still reasonable. Must be the reason many parents pay 58,000 for admission. Many of the government primary schools have very bad results.

              Main question remains: what can be done to recruit better staff?

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                Realist,

                A document released in 2017 says there are 60 academic staff at JC including the Principal and admins. Not sure if all of them are permanent staff.

                Yes, many are teaching wrong subjects.

                Even O/L results were good at JC in the recent past. Most students at JC and other schools rely on private tuition centers for their education. But JC has some good teachers in the primary school. Even though most of them have not undergone any training in primary education, they can teach well. And some people who get through Grade V exam leave JC afterwards. Some who get good grades in O/L also leave for urban schools.

                Concrete plan for recruitment:
                1. JC should first identify its needs (ex: how many teachers are needed teach Maths to 6-11 classes in Tamil medium) and set aside cadre positions accordingly.
                2. Whenever a vacancy occurs, the positions need to be advertised in the local newspapers and the school website.
                3. Applications should be shortlisted based on qualifications by a committee that comprises teachers with expertise in the subject and an officer from the Zonal Education Dept who handles that subject.
                4. Shortlisted candidates should be interviewed by a committee comprising Principal, subject head or a teacher at JC who teaches that subject, an officer from the Zonal Education Dept/Lecturer from the Training College or College of Education (in the case of AL subjects a university lecturer) and a member representing the Board.
                5. The Board should finalize the appointments based on the recommendations by this Committee.

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      Sathasivampillai,

      “5. Mrs. E.M. Antony”

      Any known qualification?

      Rev Antony has been assaulted twice by unknown men during the last 2-3 years and his wife left him after her appointment.

      • 1
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        Not sure if she has any formal qualifications. She is fluent in Sinhala. People say she was recruited to teach Sinhala in the Primary School. Heard about these assaults. Wonder whether the Church leadership is behind the family split.

        • 0
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          Sathasivampillai,

          “Heard about these assaults.”

          They are more interesting than the fact that the wife left. Who is behind the assaults? What is the motive?

          “Wonder whether the Church leadership is behind the family split.”

          The reason provided openly is womanizing.

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