24 September, 2020

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RTI Commission Calls Visakha To Release Grade One Admission Information

The Right to Information Commission on Monday (16th) released information of admission of school children to Grade One of Vishaka Vidyalaya in 2014 along with directions and instructions issued by the Ministry of Education in regard to the said admissions. The appeal was filed by the parents after the Ministry had rejected their information request. The information was released by the Principal of Vishaka Vidyalaya when she was required to appear before the Commission.

In its Order uploaded on the website, the Commission has pointed out that the Ministry Secretary’s directions to admit particular children to Grade One is an exercise of ‘discretionary powers in office by public functionaries and is therefore of public interest.’ In any case, the name lists of children admitted to other schools in the country had already been released by the Education Ministry in other instances when appeals had been filed before the Commission and there was no reason to treat this request in a special manner.      

The Commission Order issued by Mahinda Gammanpila (Chair) and Commission members Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, Selvy Thiruchandran and SG Punchihewa also stated that it was the Commission’s statutory duty to give effect to the principle of maximum disclosure. The preamble to the RTI Act emphasizes transparency and accountability in public authorities by giving effect to the right of access to information. Therefore the right to information can be refused only when specific exceptions are cited and if the public interest is not seen.

The Ministry Secretary had not named any ground under Section 5 (1) of the Act to deny the information, either before the Commission or in other letters issued by him. He had just sent a letter refusing to release the information to the parents after the Commission had noticed him to appear. By doing so, he had seriously breached the law and procedure of the RTI Act, the Commission said.

Several reports commenting on the Commission Order in the mainstream Sinhala and English media this week, including the Lankadeepa and the Daily Mirror pointed out that the Education Ministry’s attempts to evade the RTI Act should be taken seriously by the Government as it ‘boasts about’ the progressive RTI Act. In Friday’s editorial, the Daily Mirror pointed out that the Commission Order might also help to tackle one of Sri Lanka’s most serious social problems over large scale “donations” demanded by schools for admission of children which are seen by many as ‘glorified bribes.’

The release of information in these instances may inspire other parents also to get written information from the school as to how and for what purpose these donations are used. ‘If education authorities, school authorities and parents work proactively to turn the promise into a reality, then a major reduction in corruption and fraud that have ravaged society and led to the plunder of billions of rupees from public funds may be seen,’ the editorial said.    

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Latest comments

  • 17
    1

    This fraud of a principal collects ‘ donations ‘ with Waruni Jayaweera the corrupt Secretary of the school development society. They force bribes specially from professionals. The OGA, SSD, Varuni Jayaweera and this corrupt principal are all a part of this large scale scam. Being the principal of Visakha Vidyalaya is as powerful as being a cabinet minister. All these ‘ glorified principals ‘ are the same. You can go back twenty years and audit their wealth. Their scale of corruption is in par with politicians. They should mark the centenary celebrations by imprisoning this corrupt principal Sandamali Aviruppola.

    • 17
      1

      Susan Pulimood must be turning in her grave. All her hard work is being used by the current principals to enrich themselves, not improve education.
      This is why we HAVE to get educators from abroad to teach our so-called “teachers”. When teachers are corrupt, the nation is even more corrupt. Look at the medical students these teachers produce!

      • 7
        0

        Dear old codger,

        You’ve said that ” When teachers are corrupt, the nation is even more corrupt.”

        I agree absolutely.

        *

        As you are well aware, we almost always agree.

        *

        However, in this instance, I don’t agree with the solution proposed by you. When you suggest that we should get teachers from abroad, (even if that be to teach our teachers), we are merely pushing the problem to another level. Dishonesty cannot really be solved in this fashion.

        *

        We’ve all got to realise that our entire society must be cleansed, and that must start with every individual recognising just how bad things have got. We just can’t have a policeman standing behind every guy whom we fear to be potentially dishonest; and how do we know that we can trust any of the policemen?

        *

        As is usually the case with me now, I then have to say that I don’t know what the solution should be. I know that what you’re saying here is just not going to be possible. On the other hand, it is good for us to startle people into realising just how bad things have got.

        • 5
          0

          “Teachers are corrupt etc………” starts at Royal College, is n’t it, where PM, RK, Mahendran studied! The whole country is corrupt, with Royalists running the government and institutes. Even a spec of shit in milk makes the whole pot shitty.

        • 3
          0

          Dear Sinhala_Man, Every good soul is in the same predicament as yours. What is the answer?
          *
          I am no more wise than old codger is or you are. But, there must be a way to go about it. We SHOULD endeavour to find it & get there!
          *
          Every milestone of human progress followed a successful lateral perspective.
          *
          We ought to bring about an attitudinal change in the minds of the average man. It has to be handled with care, dedication and sacrifice.
          *
          Tamils have no power to influence the minds of the Sinhalese. That has to be a role for a passionate and caring Sinhalese individual. Expect Tamils to offer unstinting support.

        • 2
          0

          Dear S.M,
          As a teacher yourself, you may not be aware of the state of education (and everything else).
          Read the article on Page one of last week’s Sunday Times Plus about the specialist doctor Christopher Uragoda ( a Sinhala Buddhist despite his name). In his nineties now, he mentions one of his teachers was the famous Dr. Abraham Kovoor, an Indian from Kerala. I too met Dr.Kovoor towards the end of his life when he was leading the Rationalist Association.
          Another example: In the 40,s the principal of Zahira College Gampola was Rev. Koshie, a Christian priest, again from Kerala.
          I don’t think I need to mention Mrs Pulimood and Mrs Motwani.
          Our local culture tends to degrade slowly into mumbo-jumbo , driven by powerful forces whose nature you can guess, and who are above criticism. Suffice it to say that just one individual has caused a major crisis in commercial agriculture with his expertise on herbicides.
          This situation will get worse unless it is kept in check by people who are not under the influence of these forces.
          I think you will agree that there is a vast difference between the products of those teachers and the present lot.
          Students simply are not trained to think. Just read all the authoritative articles on astrology , Feng-shui and other hokum in national newspapers. What would a child think, on reading this rubbish? I believe this is worse than pornography.
          Only good teachers can counter this sort of insidious regression. That sort of teacher is available only outside this country.

          • 2
            0

            Thanks, “old codger”, I’ve just read the article about Dr Uragoda. Those were great people. But I suggest that what we see is a change in the emphasis we place on certain basic values.

            *

            Yes, I’ve been a teacher, with a huge amount of knowledge but unable to inspire. I’ve already outlived my father by fifteen years. His actual knowledge may have been less (I knew him for only fourteen years) but he inspired, and he was so very versatile. Yes, so many schools were led by foreigners. He taught for twelve years in Tangalle, and the Principal was Mr Samuel from Kerala. I met Mr Samuel twice – once at the farewell that he was given around 1958, and again when he visited the country around 1968.

            *
            I remember his hearing aid: something that Dr Rajan Hoole also remembers. His mother had been a teacher in Christ Church, Tangalle, after I’d been born in the hills. And then, on Deepavali Day, that was three days ago, there was this nice Muslim man who turned up in a group of 38 in my hill station. When he phoned to say that a group of his neighbourhood in Kurunegala was arriving to stay in the resort up my road, I was happy enough.

            Let me continue after respecting the 300 word limit . . .

          • 1
            0

            Continuing . . .

            What gave me great joy was discovering that Shafick’s party consisted of those who lived down two roads, and was not the pan-Muslim group that I expected. The three Sinhalese families who accompanied the Muslim group made up a good third of the party. I made many comments on it during the happy five hours that I spent with them, but I wasn’t going to be such a wet blanket as to compile statistics on it.

            *
            How does this tie up with Mr Samuel, though? I was surprised to learn that Shafick himself was from Tangalle, and his late mother had been in the habit of talking about the wonderful Principal whom they had as students of the school that is still fairly good, as Tangalle M.M.V.

            *
            I had a long, long, chat with Shafick’s uncle, a man of exactly my age who had left Ceylon’s education system because of “Banda’s 24 hour Policy” and qualified as a medical doctor in Illinois, USA.. I didn’t let that bit of “History” pass without fine tuning it, but what was refreshing was that these were people one could chat with in a civilised way. This man had practised a few years as a doctor, then turned in to an Accountant and a Management guy who had worked many years in British-run Hong Kong.

            *
            Even that “Keble/ Hayman/ Pulimood / Samuel generation of Principals tended, I think, to hark back to a more glorious period of Small of Richmond (who returned to live in Galle, and I met him).

            *
            The Ceylonese may have played second fiddle, but my mother was very proud of HER grandfather, whom I never met:

            http://richmondcollege.org/past_headmasters.html

            The man described here as Headmaster, and serving according to this from 1876 — 1916. But my mother used to say he served for 49 years. Both accounts were right: I could work it out for you, but who’d be interested?

            Unreal’s call for an “attitudinal change” is what I’d go for. We are open enough to foreign experiences: we just don’t learn from them. And I do believe that many of our Sinhalese villagers are decent enough folk – but gullible – in the extreme.

        • 3
          0

          Sinhala_Man,

          “I then have to say that I don’t know what the solution should be.”

          Maybe we can revive promises of good governance, law and order and the rest that have not yet been achieved.

          • 0
            0

            Dear Lone Wolf,

            Yes, I agree. We live our brief lives as individuals. Let us contribute what little we can, and then move on, but trying to ensure that the growing generations are accorded a chance to improve conditions here.

            *

            If we could have good governance, as you say, and impartial law and order, then that would be achievement enough.

  • 13
    0

    The Right to Information Commission,

    RE: RTI Commission Calls Visakha To Release Grade One Admission Information

    Well done. Bravo!. A correct step in the right direction. Everybody need to know they these are transparent, and they need to do the right action, and be able to defend that action.

    Please expand this transparency into other areas as well…..

  • 3
    9

    RTI is different. Principales or the institution leaders should have freedom to run the school the way they want. How about Sri lanka promoting Racism by having Tamils only schools, Muslims Only schhools christians only schools and having so many international schools to destroy the culture and to promote promiscuity among rich, famous and the elite.

    • 10
      1

      These are state-run schools; that means run by the state finances contributed by the tax payers. These are not the principals’ private property. They should be transparent, accountable and answerable. Re racism, will there be no racism if you have Sinhalese/Buddhist only school?

      • 5
        1

        Robert Fernando – How right you are. Racism in this country is based on the contribution by the respective groups.The Buddhist priests bear 80% of the responsibility and the Tamil and Muslim leaders 10% each.The Buddhist priests had been upto this through many millinia.

      • 4
        2

        Robert Fernando
        “Re racism, will there be no racism if you have Sinhalese/Buddhist only school”

        Racism stated with the Para-Sinhalayo, after they arrived by illegal boats, hora-oru. kalla-thoni, against the Native Veddah Aethho. Just read Deepawamsa and Mahawamsa,. The Sinhala-“Buddhism” expanded on it, courtesy of the monks, and still continues, by expanding the racism to the Para-Tamils, Para-Muslims and others, in the Land.

    • 6
      2

      Jimsofty, you are sick in mind.Why not mention Sinhala only schools?
      International schools enjoy patronage mainly because of the corruption of the principals of the Govt schools and also because of the perversion introduced into the Universities as Ragging. Presently ragging goes on through one year.It is a politically backed stunt.

      If all graduates have to repay the state for their education, then all this nonsense will stop.The payment should be based on the cost to the faculty and the duration of the graduands stay at the University.

      • 2
        2

        sathsidu ganasara

        “Jimsofty, you are sick in mind.”

        You are taking him too seriously. He does not have control over his hands or fingers, he suffers from alien hand syndrome or Dr Strangelove hand.

        Both his hands and fingers have sort of mind of their own.

        He has been a Beach boy since he was about 10 years old, was abused by his father, uncles, grandfather, next door neighbour, cousins, ……….. eventually he ended up selling sex to foreigners. He retired when he found he couldn’t go on with his creaking knees and twisted head.

        • 1
          1

          stupid vedda,
          You are a low life! Why this personal attacks on other posters with whom you don’t agree?
          Give a rebuttal than being a child!

    • 1
      1

      Jim
      You need to give up your Buddhist fanaticism. Even our Buddhist monks don’t care about Buddhism.

    • 0
      1

      Jimbo,
      90% of Govt. schools force the students to sing Buddhist Gathas in the morning. Are Govt. schools Buddhist schools by default?

      • 1
        0

        Romani,

        “90% of Govt. schools force the students to sing Buddhist Gathas in the morning. Are Govt. schools Buddhist schools by default?”

        Guess what the children in government schools do in Jaffna District?

    • 0
      0

      Dumb Jimmy,
      Why you live in Canada if you want to protect our culture?

    • 0
      1

      What about the para demalayas ,the Sakkiliy stinking demalayas who crept into schools in the south. Most of them were not only kept out of Jaffna schools but not allowed in the temples because of their low caste. Now they are polluting everything in the south.

  • 1
    0

    first ban Tamils only, muslims only, christians only schools. Then comes and question govt schools. Otherwise it is reverse discrimination.

    • 2
      0

      Jm
      That’s why I want separation of religion and gov. No preference should be given to any religion and public schools should not be involved in religious activities.
      If the gov is promoting private education those institutions should be allowed freedom.

      • 1
        0

        “No preference should be given to any religion and public schools should not be involved in religious activities.”
        Religion also should not be a compulsory O Level subject.
        I agree with you entirely. But who is going to bell the cat? I don’t think any of our present leading lot are suicidal.

  • 1
    1

    The Right to Information Commission,

    There are so many terrorist breeding Madrasas and Arabic schools mushrooming all over the Sri Lanka.

    *How many Muslims are in Sri Lanka (some say it’s 4 million + , 3 million of them are illegal immigrants with fraudulent Sri Lankan birth certificates )???
    *How much money Muslims politician and Muslim organizations received from terrorist breeding Gulf countries to MUSLIMIZE Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lanka???
    *What is the net-worth of Badudeen, Sali, Hakim, etc???
    *Which Muslim businessmen have made millions of dollars by smuggling drugs with sugar, cutting down millions of trees in Wilpattuwa, etc ???
    *How many SL Muslims have joined 1S1S???

    • 1
      1

      Johnny,
      “What is the net-worth of Badudeen, Sali, Hakim, etc???”

      Not anywhere near Podi Hamuduruwo, Diyawadana Nilame, Kataragama Nilame, Kalutara Bodhi Hamuduruwo, Dambulla Hamuduruwo, etc. I have never seen any of the above travelling in a Maruti. Not even a gold-plated Maruti.
      “How many SL Muslims have joined 1S1S???
      How many Sinhala terrorists were killed by rival Sinhala terrorists in 1989?????
      “How many Muslims are in Sri Lanka (some say it’s 4 million + , 3 million of them are illegal immigrants with fraudulent Sri Lankan birth certificates )”
      Have you checked the National Archives to see where your ancestors came from? Did THEY have birth certificates? Marriage certificates?????

    • 1
      0

      Johnny,
      “How many SL Muslims have joined 1S1S???”
      None. Zero.
      Never heard of 1S1S. There IS something called ISIS . Don’t you know there is a difference? Are you really dumb or pretending to be dumb?????

  • 0
    0

    John the dumb ass h…
    Cutting down millions of trees in wilpattu.

    Be realistic john if you say 100s of trees then we can beleive. There is a limit to lying.

  • 0
    0

    Right to Information Commission,

    “By doing so, he had seriously breached the law and procedure of the RTI Act, the Commission said. “

    Have you decided to initiate action against the Secretary of Ministry of Education?

  • 0
    0

    See how these events taken place.This principal came with the blessings of the former CJ Sarath Silva in 2009 after brief hearing at S/C. when she came to Visaka the OGA was led by a old girl who committed a financial fraud in commercial high court and high court as well.Then Varunee joined after one year of present principal’s arrival. gradually the honest and good members of SDS have got off due to manner of principal’s behavior, she never tolerate the behaviors of genuine Parents and old girls. Specially she got the well blessings of previous regime.She had to admit the list students from Shiranthy’s CARLTON Montessori.

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