The unlawful sacking of a 12 year old grade 7 student of the Royal Institute Nugegoda Branch by its Director of Administration Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne, has now triggered the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to summon officials of the Ministry of Education, National Child Protection Bureau and the Mirihana Police Women/Child Abuse Protection Unit for ignoring a complaint made by the student’s parent to each of their respective offices on the 25th of January 2019.
The Grade 7 student has been deprived of an education since the Royal Institute Nugegoda Branch unlawfully terminated the student on the 25th of January 2019.
Based on a complaint filed by the parent bearing number HRC/2989/18 to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, it summoned its meeting with the three respective bodies for a meeting which is to be held on the 22nd of March 2019 at their 6th floor office at 14, R.A.De Mel Mawatha Colombo 4.
The parent seeking relief has also officially filed complaints at the Police Commission, President’s Office and also the Child Court at Battaramulla.
The Child Court at Battaramulla in its bid to hear the complaint bearing number 5376/P has summoned officials of the Royal Institute, the parent and the child to a meeting with the presiding Judge on the 19th of March 2019.
The unethical practice employed by the Royal Institute also deprived the student who was eagerly waiting to go on his school class trip on the 27th of February 2019. The student had also paid the class trip fee which was Rs 3,700. However the Royal Institute, who had sent a letter by registered post to the parent on the 25th of February 2019 stating that the child’s education has been terminated, ejected the student from his class at the commencement of school on the 26th of February 2019 and had him sit in the school office the entire day.
The school refunded the Rs 3,700 to the child and stated that he won’t be going on the school trip with his class mates the following day.
This entire saga began in September 2018 when Royal Institute much against a letter issued to the parents in 2014 went on to increase the school fees by exorbitant proportions.
Many parents found it difficult to meet the hiked up fees when school commenced for the new academic year in September 2010, despite the school stating that fees would be increased bi-annually only by 12%. The school in fact increased the school fees annually.
On the 10th of October 2018 the Royal Institute who had acquired the services of Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne as the School’s Group Administration Director, brought in a special group of security personnel and forcibly incarcerated several students into two classrooms for non-payment of school fees. They were all deprived of an education that day. They were also made to sweat in the heat whilst being detained, as even the classroom fans were not turned on.
Many parents filed cases at the Mirihana Police Station on that day and also phoned the Police hotline number 119.
It was later discovered that the Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne’s brother Amith Gunaratne is the current ASP IR Director at the Mirihana police Station.
However in this particular case involving this particular 12 year old Grade 7 student, it is evident that the parent who was the leader of the parent body at Royal Institute’s Nugegoda Branch has been made a victim here.
Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne’s ploy of terminating the child was the best way he could keep the parent quiet.
The said parent and the child, whose names have been withheld by Colombo Telegraph for ethical reasons, have officially complained about their predicament to every possible government body seeking relief.
However it is quite evident that the Retired Major General wields his muscle with almost all government institutions leaving the parent and his 12 year old child with no respite.
This is a classic example of how Sri Lanka is failing as a country to provide its citizens even its very own basic human rights.
It proves that it does matter who you know in higher up places, if in the event you need to get anything done within the government circles.
Earlier the Ministry of Education sent in a letter to the Royal Institute dated 9th of March 2019, highlighting the International Children’s Rights Convention. It also went to provide references from the 1939 Education Ordinance Act, 185 Authority. The letter further provides guidelines referring to the compulsory education that needs to be provided to a child aged 5 to 16. It also reiterated that if in the event a child is to be deprived of an education, the School must obtain the consent of the Provincial Educational Director prior to doing so. The letter further demanded explanations from Royal Institute on the subject matter of this case.
A parent of the student body at Royal Institute speaking on condition of anonymity said “As parents we fear for this child’s parent besides feeling very sad as to how the Royal Institute has decided to treat this 12 year old child. The Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne has been a ruthless man during the war and it is no wonder why the country is even being probed by the International Human Rights Commission for war crimes committed during the final stages of the war. But I want to put this on record that we fear for the life of this parent. The Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne can easily harm him or even his life could be in danger. With his brother’s help at the Mirihana Police they could even plant drugs on him and have him arrested and sent to jail”. (By Janaka Ranaweera)