10 December, 2018

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No Pre-Eminent Place For JDCSI: Alumni Of Jaffna College Demand Diversification Of Board Membership

Fifty alumni of Jaffna College living all over the world have signed a statement requesting the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds, members of the Board of Directors, teachers and non-academic staff, parents, alumni and well-wishers of the College to support their struggle to bring about far-reaching reforms in the constitution (click here to view the constitution) of the Board in order to ensure democracy, transparency and accountability in the governance and administration of their almamater.

In the meantime, the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds based in Boston, USA have decided to continue the 20% budget reduction for Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College for the sixth consecutive quarter. In their communication (click here to view the letter) to the Chairperson of the Board of Directors dated 2 April 2018, the Trustees state they have decided to review their relations with the Boards of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College over the past several years.

Reports from Jaffna indicate that the Board has decided to lease (parts of) the properties of the Jaffna College Institute of Technology in order to meet the deficit caused by the fund cuts. It is expected that a section of the premises of the Jaffna College Institute of Technology will house an international school that will be run by a South India-based group.

Our sources also say that the Board in Sri Lanka has approached some lawyers in Boston to explore the possibilities of filing a lawsuit against the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds and that the money earned by leasing the properties might be used for the litigation in Boston, Massachusetts. Alumni members we spoke to expressed concern over these developments. The Board’s decision to lease out properties as a way of solving the financial crisis, instead of making the changes required by the Trustees, has created suspicion among the alumni about the commitment of the Board to protecting Jaffna College and its properties for the future generations.

A document (click here to view the document) uploaded on the official website of Jaffna College gives some key figures about the finances of the College for the year 2016. According to this document, the Trustees have allocated Rs. 50.7 million for the various institutions that come under Jaffna College such as Jaffna College High School, Jaffna College Institute of Technology, Jaffna College Institute of Technology. These three institutions received a share of 70%, 19% and 7% of the grant allocated by the Trustees respectively for the year 2016. 4% of the grant has been allocated for other purposes which the document does not specify.

The income and expenditure graph indicates that the total income of Jaffna College for the year 2016 was nearly Rs. 78 million. This means that the school has made an income of around Rs. 27.3 million from sources other than the grants allocated by the Trustees. But still the deficit for the year 2016 was around Rs. 12 million. The document does not state how the Board met the deficit for the year 2016.

Another graph indicates that the fixed deposits of the College declined from Rs. 14.5 million in 2014 to Rs. 8.1 million in 2015 and Rs. 6.1 million in 2016. Likewise, the net worth of the College went down from nearly Rs. 221 million in 2014 to nearly Rs. 205 million in 2015. It further dropped to nearly Rs. 193 million in 2016. The fall in fixed deposits and net worth happened during a period before the 20% fund-cut was imposed by the Trustees.

While highlighting the continuing malpractices at Jaffna College and the Board’s failure to introduce the reforms that the Trustees prescribed, the signatories of the alumni statement emphasize that Jaffna College and its Board should be governed by a brand-new constitution that will ensure the Diocesan Council of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI) and its Bishop have no pre-eminent role in the affairs of the Board and the College and that the College is run as a truly multi-denominational Protestant institution.

The alumni who endorsed the statement also insist that the recently introduced constitutional clause that makes provision for the Bishop of the JDCSI to be the Chairperson of the Board by virtue of office be scrapped forthwith and substituted with a new clause that ensures a more democratic process is followed annually in the election of the Chairperson of the Board.

The statement also stresses that the new constitution should guarantee adequate representation of the teachers and non-academic staff of Jaffna College, parents/guardians of the students, the alumni, educationists and activists from the North and rest of Sri Lanka with proven records in human rights, child rights and social justice activisms

Please click here to read the alumni statement in full.

To view the minutes of the Board meeting of 7 September 2013 mentioned in the statement click here.

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Latest comments

  • 12
    3

    There is a destructive pattern in Jaffna, which the society seems unable to confront. Our twin institutions that held out high hopes for education, Jaffna College and Jaffna University seem doomed because of a common societal disease – personal aggrandisement in the total absence of quality or merit. True of our politics yesterday and today. You could safely ignore those who blame the Sinhalese for our ills; they come in only marginally, if at all, as catalysts for our own destructiveness.

    The Jaffna University Council has been reconstituted. A key man left out is Prof. V. Tharmaratnam, an eminent old boy of Jaffna College. He was about the last man in Jaffna who held that human reason at its most rigorous should be applied in tackling our routine problems, and those who make decisions should be able to explain with reason, when asked by anyone. All should be answerable to reason – what is a university without it? On questions of justice and fair play Prof. Tharmaratnam was very demanding and was willing to listen to those with a grievance anytime. There were at least three questions on fair play which Tharmaratnam had been fighting long in the Council. By removing him these cases would be sorted out according to the whims of the Deans’ Mafia. I reliably learn that a group of locally powerful academics had prevailed on the Vice Chancellor to write to the UGC Chairman not to retain Tharmaratnam as he is an obstacle to the smooth functioning of the Council. The prospects for the University of Jaffna loom even darker. Our politicians had best stop complaining to the UN, when they are the problem.

    • 4
      2

      RH

      You are absolutely right in your perception and exposition. For decades on end we have been that. When there is no issue, we create the problem. When there is one we compound it.

    • 3
      5

      Rajan Hoole ~ “There is a destructive pattern in Jaffna, which the society seems unable to confront…………”.
      This ‘destructive pattern’ in various forms is endemic all over. In this case Jaffna College is in focus. Why dilute the heat by drawing the whole of Jaffna in?
      .
      Rajan Hoole then goes through his usual tirade against Jaffna University. This time he implies that the JU Council has (or had?) only one non-Mafia gangster and that this crusader was from Jaffna College.

  • 7
    2

    Jaffna is like the Israel of old.
    The temple kills their true teachers and prophets.
    Signs of impending Doom.

    • 2
      0

      EK
      The Israel of old was not a fraction as bad as the Israel of now.
      The real signs of DOOM are in the USA.

    • 2
      0

      Eliza kanmany

      “Jaffna is like the Israel of old.”

      In what ways?
      Are you suggesting Jaffna has the potential to produce a Jesus, a Karl Marx, a Einstein, a Milton Friedman, a Simon Kuznets, ……………………………… all at the same time?

  • 4
    2

    I heard, Hindu Tamils are used as Moles. So , right now the problerm is how to break into Tamil hindus by Evangelists. Otherwise, that little money gives to two schools are a big problem to Amricean Missionaires who only wants to convert. Schools should have strong constitutions which says this is our way of doing things. IT should not be the way how boston lawyers want.

  • 5
    1

    This is all about christianization of the North and building the largest Tele-evangelist Tower in yapanaya.

  • 1
    0

    I hear the same voices here. 31% of minorities are equal or superior to 60% of the Majority of the Majority, wiomen empowerment, Evanegelists when they lose an argumnt with buddhists saying DO WE HAVE ANY RIGHTS HERE, Women should be able to buy liquor and should be able to work in PUBs, Sexu al freedom for youth, Beach partied with Drugs Marihuana legalization, Beer is cheaper than Sweet beverages. Tele Evangelists saying buy our products we givt it cheaper. They even want to buy Puttalama Saltern and Banks. the list is very long. So, North and East expect those.

  • 1
    0

    “Reports from Jaffna indicate that the Board has decided to lease (parts of) the properties of the Jaffna College Institute of Technology in order to meet the deficit caused by the fund cuts.”

    Board of Jaffna College? They have also doubled the fees of Jaffna College during the last two years.

  • 0
    1

    Colombo Telegraph,

    “The fall in fixed deposits and net worth happened during a period before the 20% fund-cut was imposed by the Trustees.”

    Absolutely correct! The presentation for 2016 shows that during the three years before the cut started there was a large deficit and that most of the fixed deposits were withdrawn. The Trustees cannot be blamed for the economic problems of Jaffna College. The reason for the deficit is unknown.

  • 0
    0

    Colombo Telegraph,

    “the minutes of the Board meeting of 7 September 2013”

    Thank you for who ever leaked the minutes to Colombo Telegraph. To my best knowledge minutes of Board meetings have never been during the last years shared with anybody despite requests from various stake holders. As is seen in the minutes the Trustees have in a letter in early 2013 doubted whether the Manager of Jaffna College is using powers that he in reality does not have.

    The Board of Directors decides on most things not the Manager. According to the Constitution of Jaffna College the Board, for instance, appoints teachers. The school, of course, until very recently refused to provide a valid amended Constitution.

    The minutes also confirm that there were arrears of about 13-14 million rupees or 100,000 US$ in early 2013. The 20% cut in funding started only in 2017. Once again we can see that the economy of Jaffna College was bad several years before the Trustees took strong action. It should be noted that in 2013 the Trustees have offered an advance to the school to pay the arrears. It appears that the Board of Directors had problems with the request of an independent audit of school accounts that was one of conditions of the advance.

    Stake holders should demand to know what the school funds have been used for. School buildings are literally collapsing.

    Jaffna College is a fine example of total lack of transparency and nepotism.

  • 1
    0

    Confidentiality, dear Gabriel, or extending it : confidentiality, collective responsibility, standing up with grit for the old school tie.
    .
    We have similar problems in the South. Flagrant flouting of regulations, then using bad drafting and resorting to bare faced lying. I’m talking once more about Protestant Christian Schools: no accountability what ever: I’m waiting, patiently, for December 2019, to see if they will try to prepare more honestly for what has to be done some time before April Fool’s Day, 2020. Will they dare, after I wrote three articles after the last round of cheating?
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/comment-page-1/#comments
    .
    That’s the last article; you could work backwards.
    .
    No response from those whom I’ve accused. No denial even suggested. They would never have tried the rigging at Mt Lavinia, although that school, too, has to suffer the results since it’s the same Board.
    .
    You have a huge advantage: those Trustees in Boston are Congregationalists – some of the best sort of Christians: I see that it’s Jim Softy who’s saying things about conversion. Little point engaging HIM in discussion!
    .
    The Trustees are playing straight! See the list of 21 persons they’ve copied correspondence to.
    .
    Good luck to you in Jaffna. After all your suffering, you still have honest benefactors still sending you 80% of the contributions. I’m glad.

    • 0
      0

      Sinhala_Man,
      .
      “Flagrant flouting of regulations, then using bad drafting and resorting to bare faced lying. I’m talking once more about Protestant Christian Schools: no accountability what ever: I’m waiting, patiently, for December 2019, to see if they will try to prepare more honestly for what has to be done some time before April Fool’s Day, 2020.”
      .
      Thank you for your interest in the North.
      .
      Why is 01/04/2020 important?
      .
      Should not various authorities control these private schools? They are approved private schools and sometimes or perhaps always approved charities. Who is supposed to supervise private schools and charities?

  • 3
    0

    When I read this article and the Comments, what I understans whether, If at all, this school and the girls college should exist. We know even before the Independence American Missionary church and the corresponsidng schools were operating in the North. Now, the writer talks about the worth of the school and how it has gone down, the college is running ina deficit, fixed depostis are going down, the buildings are almost falling down, the managementn or the funding people are reluctant for a Audit. all of thse says, the school, college are all self -fnding the money is used for christianiation of the North, demonization of the existing Tamil – Hindu culture etc. I say, this is severe in the south every where becuse of the Democracy without racial or religious undertones. I think, Hindu Tamils should progress in that. Get rid of Evngelists. Take over the School management to HIndus. forget their democracy. Democracy is for our people within our system.

  • 4
    0

    I think the funding for these educational institutions are used for church activity and for conversion. Some one should write about how strong the conversion is. I heard, christians are busy in Mulathivy area, probably Kilinochchi too.

    • 2
      0

      What a shame. JC is going from bad to worse. It is not a real college or school..Does this school has audit or accounts book keeping ?

  • 1
    2

    Jim,
    Are you insane to say “Get rid of Evngelists, Take over the School management to HIndus. forget their democracy. Democracy is for our people within our system.”??
    From which hell hole do you think the Hindu’s are going to find funds to run these institutions? Are the Sinhala Buddhist going to fund them??
    Your talk the talk while we Sinhalese Buddhists are surviving based on the debt from the West. As long as we Buddhist don’t take care of our poor, Evangelists will take advantage. Have you ever seen our monks street protesting for poor living conditions, jobs, healthcare, education etc. etc. of the poor Buddhists? Instead why do they rally and destroy property of other racial minorities? Is that what Lord Buddha taught us??

  • 4
    0

    I heard that the Principal & family live in a palace, students in the hostels sleep on wooden planks, classes , black boards, students tables & chairs are in bad shape. Where does all these money go ?

    • 0
      0

      JC Sunil,
      .
      “Where does all these money go ?”
      .
      Excellent question. The articles and comments that I have read on CT suggest that there is wide spread concern about where the money of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College is going. It looks like since 2013 the Trustees for Jaffna College have been requesting independent audits. Unfortunately the results of any such audit remain unknown since nobody has made them public.

  • 6
    1

    Thanks Colombo Telegraph for continuing to update us on the developments at Jaffna College, one of Jaffna’s foremost educational institutions. Let’s hope the Trustees will pay heed to what the alumni suggest in their statement as solutions to the crisis that Jaffna College has been facing due to the immoral and irresponsible leadership of Bishop Thiagarajah. The size of the JDCSI has shrunk considerably since the consecration of Bishop Thiagarajah and it is no longer representative of the parishes and parishioners of the older JDCSI before 2006. Therefore, it can no longer hold a pre-eminent place in the affairs of Jaffna College.

    • 2
      0

      The whole system is like the “mafia” under the Bishop & his stooges

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