31 October, 2020

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Jaffna School Closures: A Crisis Off The Radar

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof.  S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Population Loss and Tamil Schools

The loss of population in Jaffna is evident in the number of parliamentary representatives we have, dropping from 11 recently to seven now and perhaps ready to drop to six if the trend continues. What, however, is not recognized is the drop in school-going children, a trend matching the drop in number of MPs. When school-going children diminish numerically, schools need to be shut down. That in itself might not necessarily be a bad thing if it is rationally done. But it is not. The loss of MPs might have political implications and our attention is therefore focused on that. But the loss of school quality is a bigger disaster for the community.

St. Mathias Church Nursery in Thanniootru, Mulliavalai, is being shut down for lack of students. An appeal was made to me to pay personally the three teachers Rs. 5000 a month each – an impossible task for me, after 8 months of unemployment after returning to Sri Lanka on the promise of a red carpet welcome from the President through a special speech in parliament. The schools are seen as a place to give jobs rather than to educate children. Worse, with women willing to work at Rs. 5000 a month (a half of what I would need to pay a cook in Jaffna), teaching as a profession is diminished.

Nallur CMS TTC and CMS Practising School

Consider the Church Missionary Society’s Nallur CMS Practising School and the CMS Teachers’ Training College (TTC) down Chemmany Road. My father, Vicar of St. James’ Parish, was also the school’s and college’s Chaplain and Manager, while my mother was a Lecturer in Mathematics at the TTC. The Practising School was where committed Lecturers taught young people the craft of teaching, so they could continue in an honoured career as Trained Teachers. The School was the laboratory for the Teachers’ College. The school gave excellent education to those in the neighbourhood (like myself) because they employed the best teaching methods to pass out as trained teachers. The school has produced many lecturers, doctors, engineers and accountants. The Practising School was a thriving hub of several hundred students then. Not one teacher was a graduate, yet the quality of education was excellent.The Nationalized CMS Teachers’ Training College- Not used for Original Purpose

The School Fenced-off without Land: The Grounds for the Director of Education to Exercise?

Takeover

Then the government nationalized the two Church institutions, only to immediately shut down the much needed Teachers’ Training College. Both Lecturers and Teacher-students were moved – to Irupalai for women and Colombogam for men. The latter too was ultimately shut down. This was an incredible loss to the education system, which is continuing to show its effect in our schools.

A condition of the takeover was that the institutions should continue to be put to the same original use, and, if not, be returned to the Church. The TTC premises now function as the Department of Zonal Education. Under the law, they need to be returned to the Church because they are not used for their original purpose. The Church has not demanded the premises back because even if she ran the TTC from them, there are no church schools in which to employ the trained teachers coming out.

With the flight in population, the school has a severe drop in numbers. It has 95 students in the 11 grades up to O.Level and 23 teachers; a student:teacher ratio that would be the envy of a rich country! Reducing teachers is not an option in our vision of government as a job bank. Grade 1 had only 2 new students enrolling in January and 2 further admissions since. The school’s O.L. results that came out recently were a disaster. Out of the 10 students who sat, only 4 qualified for the A.L. The government resources needed to sustain this system are disproportionately large, yet with poor outcomes in the education of these students.

Rather ironically, the excess of teachers does not make for good education although most teachers are graduates. Students see some recent school products making Rs. 2000-2500 a day in Colombo’s building sector, which is a lot more than the Rs. 36,000 per month their graduate teachers make. Teacher salaries are this low because the market is flooded with unproductive graduates in fields no one likes to specialize in and are there to keep university lecturers in their jobs. There is no incentive to study.

Closing the School

The school is different from the TTC. If the government closed this former Church-run Practising School the way they are closing schools established by the state in Jaffna, the Church might ask for the premises back, with good ideas about what educational enterprise to launch from there. The land itself is extremely valuable.

So first, for the first time, a fence was put up between the two institutions just a few years ago. How the dividing line was decided on is anybody’s guess since the two institutions under the Church were seamlessly one. When I was a student, the school had full use of the grounds for play including the annual sports meet. The teacher-students only used a volleyball court (used by both men and women at different times) and a bar for pull-ups. In addition, plans are afoot to take some of even the little land on the school side of the fence for the Zonal Education Department and in exchange build some building for the school for conferences. With 4 students in Grade 1, the seminars will be empty in a beautiful hall.

Other schools that deserve to be closed remain open because folk of the locality insist on keeping them open or because education department officials like their continued fat budgets.

Inefficiency thrives and goes hand in hand with poor teaching.Zonal Education Office

Photo – The Nationalized CMS Teachers’ Training College: Not used for Original Purpose

Attitude to Work: the Agriculture Example

Our education system seems to be rooted in inefficiency where giving jobs is more important than funding jobs that involve real work. For example, in the year 2004, in a UGC discussion it turned out that at that time it took Rs. 250,000 a year to train an agriculture graduate and Rs. 200,000 a year to train a doctor. This was because of the large farms that go with an agriculture faculty.

Since the same pool of students from the A.L. vie for medical admission and do agriculture, dentistry or vet science only when denied medical admission, it was suggested that we were better off giving medical admission to all the agriculture students! But that, someone pointed out, the medical folk would object to, since it would depress their salaries. It was also felt that agriculture is important to national development. But most agriculture graduates are unemployed. Most graduates of the recent University of Jaffna batch, for example, are doing a master’s degree at Peradeniya, sustaining the university system as a place where unemployed people can delay the inevitable while lecturers earn lacs in fees. Others go for employment in other sectors.

It was clear that we do not need an expensive agriculture faculty at every university to meet national needs. Yet, it was politically impossible to prevent every university from dreaming of its own agriculture faculty. Keeping agriculture lecturers in employment seemed more important than sending agriculture students to read medicine at lower cost to the state and meeting a real need for more doctors.

A UGC colleague suggested that if our medics would object to taking in more students, then taking the Rs. 1 million we spend on each agriculture student and giving it to them to pay and study in India (which was within the admission rates then) seemed to make more sense. But that also was shot down as a political impossibility!

We stayed with the system although it was more rational to pursue one of the options proposed that would have led to greater satisfaction and increased opportunities for our students.

Restoring Respect for Teachers

That agriculture model is what we seem to be using with the Jaffna schools. Whether we like it or not, schools have to be closed. Such closings should be rational and not for the purpose of keeping the unemployed in seeming employment, retaining the fat budgets of Education Directors, or avoiding the return of Church lands.

Having excess staff is a bad idea since the lack of work for teachers leads to unfortunate attitudes to work. Instead it is better to retain the better teachers and pay them more than labourers. The work of a teacher must be made a respectable undertaking once again.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    Professor,

    This is one of the most depressing reads in a while. As if our Tamil brethren in the north didn’t have enough of hardship on their plates.

    If there are white knights out there reading this, time to get on your steeds.

    • 7
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      The Government sector is a mess in all sectors – Energy, Transport to Education – due to Politicization, over staffing, and the lack of a culture of MERITOCRACY.

      The Subject Ministers are largely fools and incompetent and lack expertise – so too their deputies and crony ‘advisers”. Meanwhile people and national economy is suffering.

      The Report on the countrywide Electricity blackouts tabled in Parliament says that lack of maintenance is cause of the disaster.

      Who will be held accountable for this pathetic state of the electricity infrastructure when there are so many engineers and staff at the ECB ?

      The chairman and the head engineers of ECB should be asked to RESIGN. They are paid huge salaries for gross incompetence.

      Yet the Electricity Board has tons of engineers and a mafia operating there and they should be got rid of.
      A comprehensive systemic review of education and electricity and energy sectors is needed and national plan and policy needs to be developed with CLEAN – solar energy- given priority.

      But rather the corrupt politicians, led by Ranil, Sira and Mahinda are dancing the jig. Woe to the people!

      • 2
        1

        Sure, sure we need proper teacher training and CLEAN SOLAR ENERGY in Lanka, [Edited out]

    • 0
      0

      Dear Prof. Hoole,

      I see that you end with the same thought as I had expressed in my own article on the most easily run Anglican schools in the country:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/belief-in-the-worth-of-teachers-at-s-thomas-colleges/

      I am about to write to Bishop Dhilo as suggested by you. My own article has obviously not caught the attention my friends “Spring Koha” and Dr.Rajasingham Narendran who know me only by my pseudonym.

      While it is heart-rending to read about the the dereliction in the North, it is maddening to see how the Church itself appears to be disdainful of teacher dignity in the S. Thomas’ schools. Let me hope that you observation about Bishop Dhilo proves correct.

      • 3
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        Sinhala_Man,

        I read the article you referred but was confused as to whether it was by you, because of some of the comments. Further, since it was largely about the St.Thomas Colleges, of which I know very little, I did not comment.

        The teachers in our schools generally are of very poor quality, because the profession itself does not attract the best because of poor salaries and syllabuses and teaching methods dictated by the Ministry of education, do not give the teacher much independence The provincial ministries too are vassals of the central ministry and are largely the refuge of mediocre careerists. As a result the teachers do not command respect from society or students.

        The burgeoning private tuition industry is also a curse that has disminished the relevance of schools and seriously eroded the commitment of teachers to the the classrooms they are assigned. Any good teacher, soon finds that establishing a private tutory on a part-time or full-time basis very lucrative.

        I am beginning to question the relevance of the so-called free education system today. Even the poor send their children to private tuition classes in almost all subjects. It is not only a necessary adjunct to poor teaching in schools, but has also because a matter of prestige. The number enrolling in International Schools, now found in all cities and towns is an indictment on State provided education.

        It is time the entire education system in this country is reviewed and calibrated to meet the needs of the times and social realities. In the 21st century, we live in, the concept of school-based education is coming into question, because of its irrelevance in terms of the IT revolution. One can be taught better and learn more within the home. The opportunities for social interaction are also becoming available outside schools and are better designed. I sometimes question why I was not born in more recent times, as I could have learned more,better, through my computer

        Dr. RN

        • 1
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          I agree with everything that you say, except that you didn’t comment on it because it was about S. Thomas’.

          For me, S. Thomas’ is just four out of 10,000 State Recognised schools. But for most Sri Lankans the snob element is very important – either in a pro- or anti- sense. “St. Thomas'” was first established at Mutwal. But unless you write “S. Thomas'” today, without the “t” which was arbitrarily dropped about fifty years ago, there’ll be people (like decent but crazy Dr Gnana Sankaralingam) who will tell you that you could never have studied at Mt Lavinia. It so happens that I know some of the obscure nuances of English; I follow the Oxford Dictionary in not putting a full stop after “Dr” because the last letter is given; but we don’t need that level of fastidiousness.

          To have better teachers we must first attract committed people – even if they don’t know the subject! They can learn the subject while teaching it, if they have the commitment and the perseverance, but for that they must be accorded dignity. That dignity can be given them at NO cost; my theme in the article is that even that is being denied them.

          So much can be learnt by the intelligent use of The Internet. WE have passed on to our young people (more true of the Sinhalese group than the Tamil group in this country) a culture which doesn’t understand the work ethic. They want instant results with no effort.

          That simple “village man” who has made the second comment, contradicting our regular friend “Peace Lover”, in faulty English, is right: the relevance of what I have discussed goes far beyond S. Thomas’. You will find that “Peace Lover” has later made very intelligent comments that reflect the fine values that he always espouses.

          “Peace Lover’s” earlier misgivings were whether we should go public with these problems. I understand those concerns; for almost fifty years, I have tried everything to show S. Thomas’ the mistakes that they are making; no, they WILL NOT get corrected. Bishop Dhilo naively meant well when he was elected five years ago. But he has been defeated by “the system”. I will be very surprised (and pleasantly so) if he corrects himself. He himself has begun to put “The Anglican Establishment” ahead of TRUTH.

          I’ve had a long phone argument with my pupil (only seven years younger than myself), Christo Gonawela, who made himself a candidate against my pleas. He came FIRST in the elections at Gurutalawa, because the poll was held BEFORE I visited the place. Rev. Nihal Fernando’s conduct of the election was flawless, but it may be because he knew that I would expose anything crooked, AND that it was possible to neutralise me by having it earlier than I expected. That he is still in Hawaii, and returns only on Monday, the 28th, is also true.

          Christo now refuses to give me an assurance that in the event of a re-poll he will insist on all the three schools re-conducting the polls – i.e. Gurutalawa again. You see, Christo had always insisted that a person of my blunt honesty could NEVER be elected, and that his own manipulation would succeed. He tried it, but a safer man was possibly preferred by the Bishop. He is my VERY intelligent, totally self-centred brother, whose formal education stopped at Grade 8; I’m five years younger and cannot understand WHY that was possible when my brilliant teacher-father was still around. He passed away in February 1963; Rajan Hoole and I had become class-mates just a month earlier and remembers.

          For almost everybody, it’s self interest first!

          These guys all fear me because I put TRUTH first; so please comment, as you see fit, since the issue is of universal significance. The Board Members are likely to look at this occasionally, but they have had an emergency meeting – (unusually) at 7.00 a.m. – on Wednesday the 23rd, at which they had decided NOT to entertain communcations from Chrishmal Warnasuriya, the third candidate. He’s a high profile lawyer who was listed second on the J.V.P. National List in August 2015. As for me, an obscure village teacher is a guy who can be ignored. Essentially my teaching has been in State Schools, although my Belgian-Jewish friend and I rescued the Gurutalawa school in 2007 by spending two full years in the school.

          I’ve looked for ways of giving you some idea of this man, Jacques Huyghebaert [(whose home is next to mine in Bandarawela, but who is currently on a two year assignment in Goma, Republic of Congo (that’s right, where the largest sub-species of gorillas are!)]; I can find only this:

          https://plus.google.com/+JacquesHuyghebaert/posts/Mp23N4Fj7At

          It will show you his photograph (I think – he’s in my Google circle), and quite a few “nice” photographs of Haldummulla. S. Thomas’ acknowledges his contribution only at times when it fits their agenda. They hide references to me ALL the time!

          Our concerns must be global, but we must act locally!

          • 1
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            Sinhala_man,

            You need a high magnification microscope to find ‘work ethic’ among Tamils in the north! It is one of the cultural attributes that has been lost at the altar of liberation. I donot think it is different in the east.

            Please inquire into the state of affairs at the Nuffield School for the Deaf and Blind in Kaithady, Jaffna. it is run by the Anglican Church and comes under Bishop Dilroj’s administration. The former Principal is in jail and a replacement has been appointed. From what I gather, there is much to be concerned.

            Dr.RN

            • 0
              0

              Dr RN,
              “I could have learned more,better, through my computer”

              sadly the access to information, programs and operating system will have to be paid for on a monthly basis. Adobe, AutoCAD etc have started it. its big brother is watching- all on cloud.
              So if you need privacy you need something like a typewriter or an old PC with no internet connection or it would crash.
              There are the vendors of information and brokers who make you pay for that illusive info.
              Going to a cinema is socialising unlike use of computer and Skype.

              PC is a terrible addiction unlike the books.
              The next stage is robots to bring down the cost and precision not IT for humans. china with 400 million unemployed is onto robots to compete the world.

              Banda was never interested in free education. the Buddhist monks wanted the take over of schools, churches and land because they were the best. similarly his wife did it to the beautiful productive estates. yet we have die hard socialist in sri lanka kissing banda family backside.
              No politician anywhere in the world is well meaning but its just Me Me and me.

              • 0
                0

                Good point. The gap is widening, between the “knows” and the “know-nots” – because the latter don’t know what is happening to them.

                Other point: Sir Tim, below, could have earned quadrillions, but didn’t. Mistake?

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee

  • 3
    0

    Excellent article. Thanks Prof. Hoole. Sri Lanka of course has a changing demographic profile with an aging population since fewer children are being born these days which is a good thing as Maternal Child health and family planning is widely practiced and environmental resources dwindling the world over.

    Declining youthful populations is a good thing. However the education system is a total mess and lacks any sort of quality. Govt. needs a through quality review of the education sector and needs to develop a policy in consultation with Provincial authorities to improve quality of education and to EDUCATE THE TEACHERS first!

    The NIE is full of idiots too and needs to be reformed to provide a better quality teacher training service.

  • 5
    0

    The argument that the dropping population in Jaffna being the reason for the closure of schools is palpably wrong. These schools were there when the population of Jaffna was 300 000 or much lower. How can they cease to be needed when the population is 600 000? Indeed, many of these schools were thriving in the nineteenth or the early twentieth century.

    The reason is that after the mission schools takeover and over the years the commitment to primary education has dropped greatly. This could be seen in the FUTA’s bizarre demand for Grade 1 admissions for their children. Earlier one could find quality primary education in one’s neighbourhood. Today the schools to be closed are being sent poor quality teachers or there is an insidious lack of commitment on the whole by the authorities.

    Take for example the large number of children, particularly of professional parents being ferried from places as distant as Inuvil to overcrowded Don Bosco School in Jaffna town. It needlessly increases traffic on the roads. Early this year in Thirunelvely, a mother bringing her child home from Don Bosco along Palaly Road in an auto at noon met with a bad accident (the child was then telling the father over a phone what he had learnt), the child died and the mother was badly injured. FUTA and well-to do parents in general should insist on a firm government commitment to quality primary education in every neighbourhood. There is no rationale for closing down schools in areas where there was found to be a need a hundred years ago. Otherwise instead of protecting neighbourhoods, we are inviting white collar slums.

  • 5
    2

    From what I read many schools are being being shut down across the island. Further, there appears to be a problem of children dropping out of the school system in the north. I have no idea of the extent.

    Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole has highlighted three issues, the drop in number of students, high teacher :student ratios and poor quality teachers.

    Considering the damage done to our education system by successive governments, isn’t it time to consider a role for the community in education? Teacher training schools and primary schools can be run by communities with some assistance from the government and benefactors. If buildings and lands are available they could be handed over to community organizations with viable project proposals to run these schools, on a lease-basis. Such an arrangement will reduce the initial investment required.

    Our government have bitten more than they can chew over the years and it is time it spat out some, for its own health and the well being of this country. This is one way also to make the self-perpetuating education bureaucracy slim, efficient and effective.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0
      0

      Dr RN,

      “Further, there appears to be a problem of children dropping out of the school system in the north. I have no idea of the extent.”

      According to the Jaffna District homepage 123 children were classified as dropouts in 2014.

      According to the NPC annual report on their homepage average school attendance rate in the province was 73 % in 2014.

      Unfortunately I don’t know how they have defined “dropouts” and “school attendance” and where these numbers come from.

  • 3
    2

    On the question of Agricultural Faculties and the cost of producing agriculture graduates, I have to question the logic as to why the money spent cannot be spent on producing more medical graduates.

    Though this may sound flippant to some, we are yet a primarily agriculture centered country and not a very sick country in human health terms. We are of course sick in many other ways!

    The agricultural practices, crops, irrigation methods, climate and soils are varied across the country. There is much to be done to make our agriculture more productive, less costly, environmentally friendly, less water consuming and safe. We no doubt need well trained graduates in agriculture. However, the question is whether we produce them to meet our requirements? Do we use our agriculture graduates effectively? How many of our agricultural graduates are capable of becoming farmers themselves? Why? What should we do to encourage them to take to farming?

    Sir. Nicholas Attygalle, a medical professional who later was the Vice Chancellor of what was then the University of Ceylon, is supposed to have remarked rather flippantly at a Senate meeting convened to approve the final examination pass list of Veterinary students, with reference to one student with narginal marks, ” Oh! pass him anyway, only a few dogs will die”! If this is the attitude to other fields of study except medicine and probably engineering, how can we improve the quality of education over all?

    Further, how was the cost of producing an agriculture graduate computed? Do our universities have large farms to maintain as mentioned?

    Dr.RN

    • 0
      0

      The reason why Agricultural graduates cost more has nothing to do with running farms. The Agricultural Faculties have consistently refused to increase their intake while the Engineering and Science Faculty have tripled it over the years but still receives a fixed ratio of the moneys allocated to the Universities. Veterinary, Dental and yAgricultural Faculties have the highest staff-student ratio. In any case Agricultural graduates rarely work in Agriculture, for example none are managing our Plantations. For some odd reason, they seem to have the highest ratio of Vice Chancellors.

    • 0
      0

      RN
      Attygalle had a wry sense of humor which did not reflect on his attitude to the quality of the degree.
      Many a graduate has passed by being pushed by up to 5% of the mark in a subject based on other compensating features. I do not think that even the best examiner could be precise to +/- 2%.
      Thus in many universities the benefit of the doubt is often given to the candidate as a collective decision when it is make or break.

      Similar light hearted comments have been made on medical graduates: “Remember, the guy could have passed getting only 40%. If your illness falls within the other 60% you have had it.”

      It is true of engineering, law and other professional fields. Some of the best professionals only scraped through to a pass. The class honours one gets in the first degree says something important, but not everything about professional potential.
      Much is learned on the job; and attitude to the profession is more important than academic prowess in the professions. Many learn on the job and make up for what was missed at college.

  • 1
    0

    Bishop Dhilo Canagasabey should ask for The Chemmany Road school back and start a religious educational institution or a monastery there. What better place than a place where the Rev. Canon. Somasunderam who is hailed as a parallel sanniyasi lived the rule of a monk behind the former vicarage next to it? The Ashram that was started at Maruthanamadam was not truly Christian but religiously very compromised and confused and mislead the people. Pilimatalawa is likewise.Both institutions only go to show that they have not transcended book knowledge in their experience of God or that they can defend the faith in its whole. How can these institutions be given charge of the salvation of Christians?

    The Anglican Church needs a monastery or Abbey. Many of its priests do not understand the creed and some refuse to believe it in full. The result- Anglicans in Sri Lanka do not know their own heritage and thus are not able to reap the great spiritual benefits thereof. Prof.Evelyn Underhill was an Anglican proving that mystical sensitivity is possible within the Anglican Theology. Then why not form an Abbey or Monastery for us behind St. James’?

    Anglicans very badly need an institution for learning practical spirituality.
    The government should return to the Church its buildings when they are forcibly kept open.
    The Church should be more actively involved in this matter.

    • 1
      0

      Anglican,

      An interesting and intriguing comment. Sanyasi, Monastery, mystical sensitivity!

      Please write an essay in this theme, to help me and others learn.

      Dr.RN

  • 0
    0

    While on tamil and schooling, here is an eye-opener, the plight of tamils who strayed away from their mother-land:

  • 2
    0

    Prof Hoole,
    Thank you for scratching the surface of the Northern (or should I say) Jaffna education system. I have dug a little deeper and the decay is visible. You dont need a microscope to look at the vermins. But you will need an astronaut suit and oxygen tanks to keep the infection away.
    But I am digging and trying to fumigate.

    Anyone want to join me? Bring your own shovel and Astronaut suit. Caution: start digging from the outside. If you get in and dig you will not last long.

    Ask the schools in the Vanni or the Islands as to how many teachers commute from Jaffna. (The solution for this is a quota system for deprived areas within the District to enter University and Colleges of Education.) Mention that and listen to the scream from the city folks and their Union. Oh they have access to the President’s office and Prime Minister’s Office.

    Stand in front of most of the school anywhere in the North and see who come out of the schools when the bell rings at 2:00pm in the first wave and second wave? Ask the Principals or teachers or students about corporal punishment in their class, by teachers. Ask the student with what do they get hit most – (a)hand, (b)stick (c)both. The Answer is (c). In every grade from 1 to 11 students get hit. 50% of them fail O/L and they are on the street with no employable skills, social skills etc.

    Am I frustrated? No. Am I helpless? Yes. Everyone talks about the problems and offer solutions, but very few DO anything about it. Get down in the trenches folks.
    There are a handful of Principals and a teachers who are excellent and I commend them. But there aren’t a critical mass to change the system around.

    • 2
      0

      Dr.Edirveerasingam,

      Thanks. The education system in Jaffna is indeed nauseating. Children are stunted and corrupted by a system, which
      Is operated in the name of education. It is the blinded blinding the youngsters who enrol with their eyes wide open. The system is a crime against our youth.

      You have described it well and there is nothing more to add.

      Dr.RN

    • 0
      0

      Sir,

      A detail survey report done in 2002-2004 was published by Save the Children in Sri Lanka. Please ask them for that available in their library. We studied the resources and problems of school children in vanni primary schools and Moneragala, and some areas in Kandy and Batticaloa and Peradeniya and compare with best school district, gampahaa. Dr. Hoole hired 25 or more graduate enumerators to study that and the human rights of bad distribution and utilization of resources. Lecturers from the University of Peradeniya also were involved. As a fresh graduate I participated in this survey we have learned a lot about statistical analysis. more than 5000 children were in the participation. The vanni report tels us a very bad and sadest story.

      Please ask Save the Children for the original report written by Mrs. Dr. Hoole. They also have a summary book by somebody not knowing survey we did. This do not show all the statistics annd other valuable comments collected by our teams.

    • 0
      0

      Ethirveerasingham,

      “Ask the schools in the Vanni or the Islands as to how many teachers commute from Jaffna.”

      I don’t know about the Vanni but in the Jaffna District the schools on the islands have clearly lower exam results.

      “The solution for this is a quota system for deprived areas within the District to enter University and Colleges of Education.”

      This might be part of the solution.

      What if there are no qualified applicants from the deprived areas or their academic results are much lower than the results of others? I know many pockets of poverty where nobody has reached A-levels and very few if any passed Grade 5 exam.

      Who can guarantee that they would return and stay in the deprived areas after finishing their higher education? Under existing regulation they would be transferred somewhere else all the time. Lack of good education is a major factor virtually forcing educated parents to move to Jaffna from the remote areas.

      Maybe the teachers and other professionals from the pockets of poverty and others willing to work and live there should be given a promise of no transfers, special housing loans and other perks to continue living in the problem areas.

      “Mention that and listen to the scream from the city folks and their Union. Oh they have access to the President’s office and Prime Minister’s Office.”

      In addition they have access to our local politicians and government servants.

  • 1
    0

    Educating our children is the gift of the Parents to their children and the gift of God . Destroying the future generations mind and health can be considered as human rights violation.

    In a democratic country the parents who does not send their children to school can be taken to court and charged for negligence. Same way A-Child can Charge the government for not providing adequate education .
    Where does the Srilankan government stands ?? Progressive Racists politicians suppressed the Tamil children’s education..
    The so called armed services let loose in the North and the East destroyed the young children either by harassing, killing , or even Raping.
    At one time the Tamils were proud of their education.
    Like the Former Bosnian Serb Leader Radovan Karadzic the Srilankan Racism Robbed everything from the Minority communities. Their Education , their well being, their lands and many more.

    The Racists Politicians and the Buddhists leaders should be punished for instigating and depriving the minorities since the independence.

    Hope the present government in the name of good governance will address this problem in the rural North ,East , West and the Central Prrovinces as soon as possible.
    Please do not play with the lives of future generation.
    Thank you Mr ,R.Hoole for highlighting this to all the caring Srilankans.

  • 0
    0

    Visahan,
    Another study was done in 1998 by Save the Children and a team of the NorthEast Ministry of Education, of which I was also a member. It was titled Education of Children in the Vanni War Zone. Another study, commissioned by the then Governor Gamini Fonseka and the Secretary of Education Mr. Divakalala, that I did of Education in the North-East in 1998 and is published in 1999. The latest that I facilitated is the NESR that is in http://www.edudept.np.gov.lk. It is a participatory review process.

    The problem is in the attempt to implement the recommendation. The recommendations require participatory democratic decision making implementation. The education system, like the country, is a feudal system. Devolving decision making power to a citizens Zonal board from the area is foreign to the officers. They are still in the colonial era and the centre in Colombo dictates and in turn the officers in the northern province dictates to the Zones and schools. Any attempt to decentralise decision making from Jaffna to the peripheri is met with resistance. The irony is that the same Tamils are screaming to devolve power to the Province and Sector Secretaries and Directors. I hope the new constitution ensures the intermediary Zeminthars are a thing of the past.

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      ethirveerasingham,

      “Devolving decision making power to a citizens Zonal board from the area is foreign to the officers.”

      Why not devolve power to a village or cluster of 2-3 villages? In any larger zone than 2-3 villages the weakest and poorest are bound to be forced out of decision making.

      Of course the existing hegemony won’t accept this.

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