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.