26 February, 2020

Blog

Some Thomian Pharisees Are Adamant On The Need To Cheat

By Panini Edirisinhe

Panini Edirisinhe

The best known of the “Thomian Schools” is the one by the Sea at Mt Lavinia. It has three Branch Schools, now in the doldrums. All four are administered by a fifteen member Board of  Governors, headed by the Anglican Bishop of Colombo, Dhiloraj Canagasebey.

This Board has been established in terms of the S. Thomas’ College Ordinance. Only an Act of Parliament can amend it. The Ordinance bothers nobody. The Board of Governors has made some Rules for itself, and how it breaks those very “Rules” has been a huge controversy since 2012.

The Bishop appoints nine Members of the Board and thus has absolute control; five are elected by various stakeholders of the schools. There is no provision for parents to be on the Board, and teachers are allowed no say despite the provision.

Cheating at Branch School Teacher Representative Election

It is for the Branch School Teacher Representative Election that the Headmasters of Bandarawela and Kollupitiya, Rev. Christopher Balraj and Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo respectively, will send two tractable staff members with instructions on how to manipulate back to the Board the current pliant and ineffective member who is long past normal retiring age.

1.5.2 One person elected by an electoral college under the Chairmanship of the Hony. Secretary of the Board of Governors consisting of representatives of the Staff made up as follows:

 Two from the tutorial and administrative staffs of each of the Branch schools at Gurutalawa, Bandarawela and Kollupitiya

 1.5.3 The following conditions shall be applicable to the aforesaid elections referred to in 1.5.1 and 1.5.2.

(a) The election shall be by secret ballot

(b) The persons nominated for election shall be members of the respective Old Boys’ Associations.

(c) The members of the staffs of the four schools shall not be eligible for nomination or election.

(d) The candidates for election shall be members of the Church of Ceylon or of a Church in communion with that church.

How do these people get over the secret ballot part of it? Why, the six representatives from the two schools will vote by secret ballot before the Secretary of the Board, Rajan Asiriwatham. This is what Rev. Balraj has told me. All other teachers are going to be kept unaware of the fake election taking place. Who is to question Asirwatham and where?  Almost impossible – although he is a decent man.  The Board think it is their duty to cover up for each other, and it is cosy being Colombo-centric.

If you think this forecast of cheating is far-fetched please click here, and here, and here.

Gurutalawa has made efforts in 2008, 2012 and 2016, to hold honest elections and can be expected to follow suit in 2020. Ironically, that school has suffered more than any other owing to non-representation for many years. Please note that owing to Rule 1.5.3, the Staff Representative must be a Christian.

Clean Elections for Three Mt Lavinia School Representatives

This (below) is the entirety of what is said about the election of a Staff Representative from the Mt. Lavinia School.

1.5.1 One person elected by the tutorial and administrative Staff of S. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia.

There has been no cheating in these elections. In 2016, Mr Channa Asela de Silva, a “just retired” Old Boy teacher, was elected uncontested, because he was so popular. He was a fine English Medium Maths teacher and was able to earn his living as a Private Tutor. I have had an hour’s chat with him last week and am amazed to find that he is no longer on the Board. He has resigned and is teaching again at STC, Mt Lavinia. I can think of no action more affirmative of the importance of teachers than this.  The current Interim Teacher Representative, chosen by the teachers, is a Mr de Chickera.

From 1988 to 2012, the staff had chosen to have first Merrill Aluwihare and then Mohan Abeynaike as Staff Representative. There were contests on some occasions, but usually these were uncontested elections. The teachers were always in control of the choice.  The result is that the staff are united and derive satisfaction from the excellence of their school.

Mt Lavinia OBA Representation

Below (1.3)  is the entirety of what is said about the election of the OBA Representatives for the Mt Lavinia School.

1.3 Two representatives of the S. Thomas’ College Old Boys’ Association, Mt.Lavinia, elected from among its members.

I voted in 2016. There were six candidates. That election, for me, represented a perfect exercise of democracy. 

Branch School OBA Representation 

The Branch School OBA Representation is more complex, but despite the difficulties most of the time it has been clean.

More pertinent would be querying how one individual could represent three schools having little in common. When this system came into being these were schools that catered to different age groups so that an Old Boy had usually studied at two of the branch schools, and at Mt Lavinia. Questions as fundamental as this cannot even be discussed given the under-representation of the Branch Schools.

1.4 One Representative from the Old Boys’ Association of the Branch Schools at Gurutalawa, Bandarawela and Kollupitiya elected by those Associations from among their members in the following manner.

The Presidents and Secretaries of the Old Boys’ Associations of each of the Branch Schools will meet together as an Electoral College under the Chairmanship of the Hony. Secretary of the Board of Governors to elect a single member to represent the Old Boys’ Associations of the Branch Schools.
Where the Head of the School is also the President of the Old Boys’ Association, the Senior Vice President will serve on the electoral college in place of the President

Note that nothing is said here about the religious affiliation of the OBA Representative. Note also that the Head of the School (an employee) is not allowed to have a say in electing one of his supervisors.

Thomian Election Programme for  the 1st Quarter of 2020

That is the background. The five current elected members will cease to hold office at the end of March 2020. New BoG Members will be elected between the 1st of January and the 31st of March 2020. The election of four of the five will be clean. The OBAs of Bandarawela and Gututalawa have already decided at their Annual General Meetings in 2019 that the candidature of the nominee of the Kollupitiya Old Boys’ Union will be supported by them.

In 2016, the Kollupitiya Headmaster asked the sister-in-law of the Bishop, Mallika Fernando, and one other to pretend that they represented The Staff. The Bandarawela Headmaster, having failed to find more credible “volunteers” at a brief early morning gathering of Senior School Academic Staff, finally sent down a retired non-commissioned military man working in the school office, Steven Tambimuttu, and a teacher, Sunanda Ratnayake, to “do the needful” as the saying goes. Tambimuttu was later rewarded by the BoG by being appointed to the specially created position of Administrative Manager.  Will there be a repeat in 2020?  Four years ago, the teachers who were first asked refused to co-operate, despite the dangling of carrots, and the inspiring of divisions. Unfortunately, I do not think that there will be one teacher in the three schools who will be fool-hardy enough to publicly voice disenchantment.

So, I have once more decided, as being possibly the only person who has an overview of the issues, to appeal for public opinion to persuade the Bishop to be the guardian of the “Rules” by which the Governors operate.  Four years ago, this is is how I had presented my friendly request to the Bishop.  It failed then, and my August 2019 appeal to the Bishop has also been rejected. So a feeble old man will be manipulated once more to stifle fresh thinking.  The two Uva Schools will, in effect, be unrepresented on the Board for the next four years. The BoG itself could change its own Rules, provided that they conform to what is decreed in the S. Thomas’ College Ordinance of 1930.  The effect of the Ordinance is to stipulate 80% Anglican Membership of the BoG.

Fair play is necessary in all public matters and ensuring that public opinion revolts at the thought of cheating by these clerics is what is needed. The schools run with very few Christian children in them, and with no accountability by the Church. There is corruption everywhere in the country, and so it is in the Anglican Church. Ensuring that this Teacher Representation Election takes place bereft of fraud will be a significant step forward.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    1

    Cheating is not acceptable the Bishop of Colombo will have to reply this report and clarify his position if not the credibility of the church and the schools in question will be compromised.

    • 5
      3

      The school by the sea had a wonderful blend of students representing all faiths and ethnicities. Sadly , all that has been cast aside after the ‘radicalization’ of the school entry criteria in the last couple of decades . Christian ‘blessings’ are now mandatory before each sporting encounter , and a recent tour overseas by the cricket team included two chaplains !! So much for character building through sport .

      • 13
        4

        Nosey P
        STC is a Christian School
        If any body wants a secular education for their children.
        There are many International schools in Sri Lanka please send your boys to any one of them.

      • 13
        3

        St. Thomas’ was always an Anglican school started by Bishop Chapman. So there is nothing wrong for it to maintain that identity. Students of other religions went there knowing this very well. In 1960 there was an attempt to take it over by government which was stubbornly resisted by all past students irrespective of their religion. Had that been successful, it would have been converted to a Buddhist school and what you are complaining about Christian character would have been transformed into Buddhist character. Then you will never say anything. Look at Royal which was a nondescript government school with students from all religions, Buddhist less than 50%, has now been transformed virtually into a Buddhist school with all that you are complaining about STC taking place, contravening the founder’s vision.

        • 5
          0

          Agree totally with Dr. Sankaralingam. We need to resist being distracted from our traditional Anglican roots. I am sure that sons of Old boys of other religious backgrounds can still put their children in, provided their connections to the school are solid and proven. We absolutely DO NOT want to be made into a totally Buddhist school.

        • 8
          1

          Dr GS,
          that is why the writer further insist that entire country is infected by corruption. I believe what he says also going back to the election results of November s election. People cannt differentiate good from the bad today. So, bringing reforms to any institution has been a dream in this country. Not brains but the muscle is given a place over the years. That is the saddest truth of the ground reality.

    • 9
      0

      These bishops are all cheats. But when it is faith, look around. Their priests teach us the 10 commandments but lie and womanise and the bishop promotes them.
      Some years ago the courts ruled in the STC-EKSITH FERNANDO case that a principal ought to have 10 years’ teaching experience. Nonetheless at Anglican Church schools STC-Prep, STC-Guru, SJC etc. Principals/Headmasters without the 10 years have been properly appointed.

      How? The Bishops seem to have some accommodation with our rulers.

      • 7
        1

        One does not need to be a teacher to be able to administer a school in the modern age, something our Lordships of the Supreme Court, perhaps never having worked in a school in Sri Lanka, failed to understand in your mentioned judgement. However, one must have a modicum of common sense, administrative skill, ability to manage office politics (best learned in a corporate environment) and a lot of empathy towards the behaviour of children – these are the most important traits.

        Also, the current head of STC Prep has over 15 years teaching experience in the theological college. Nowhere in the judgement does it say the teaching needs to be in a secondary school – another unfortunate loose use of the criteria.

        That said, Casie Chetty at Prep School escaped this clause and did a lot of damage to the school in the intervening years.

  • 0
    0

    estopa perpetua

  • 15
    2

    One of the chief values imparted by the Christian mission schools was a strong repugnance of lying. It was always tenuously held, but its rejection now is out in the open everywhere. It is lying that degrades institutions, churches and ultimately a nation. Recitals of our ancient culture going back thousands of years and profusions of religious blessings cannot save us.

    • 3
      0

      Rajan,

      “Repugnance of lying” must have gone only so far, because ‘Christianity’ itself came to SL as part of the colonial enterprise. The two major pillars of western societies, Christianity and capitalism, were both founded on accepting certain lies and contradictions, and upholding truth when it is convenient. Other religions are not exempt from this foundational malady; I am just choosing to focus on Christianity since the article concerns a mission school.

      So is it any wonder that people who are taught to believe that “some lies are good but other lies are not OK” grow up believing that “it is all a charade” and that they can “lie, cheat, and be merry” as long as they are not “caught” or there is not much “push back?”

      In the US, this has culminated in the election of Trump, who in the words of well-known conservative writer, George Will, is a ‘Vesuvius of mendacities.”

      • 3
        0

        Plato,
        Yes, Christianity came as part of the colonial enterprise, and in the case of missionaries for whom we had great admiration, close scrutiny may reveal their imperfections. But what they taught us and preached to us also led us to question the very same colonial enterprise associated with them. That is the strength of what they bequeathed to us and, in retrospect, they would have been proud of it.

        • 2
          0

          Sorry, Agnos,

          • 3
            0

            Dr. Rajan Hoole,

            “But what they taught us and preached to us also led us to question the very same colonial enterprise associated with them. That is the strength of what they bequeathed to us and, in retrospect, they would have been proud of it.”

            Hoes does their being “proud of it” uphold the truth? It would have required publicly and loudly proclaiming they were wrong, that they suppressed whatever doubts and guilt they entertained, that instead of continuing the charade, it would have been better to advocate teaching universal morality and the need for upholding truth and accountability at all times, instead of teaching ‘parochial religion.’

        • 1
          0

          Christianity came to Sri Lanka in the first century upon the arrival in Chennai of St. Thomas .in A. D. 52. There is more proof for that than the arrival of Budhism here. We have visible proof of pre colonial Christianity in the Anuradhapura criss etc.

      • 1
        0

        “.because ‘Christianity’ itself came to SL as part of the colonial enterprise.”

        Christianity came to Sri Lanka in the first century upon the arrival in Chennai of St. Thomas .in A. D. 52. There is more proof for that than the arrival of Budhism here. We have visible proof of pre colonial Christianity in the Anuradhapura criss etc.

        Stop belittling the Christian’s here.

        • 3
          0

          Mrs. Hoole,

          I am against all forms of religious ‘hypocrisy.’ The author has exposed the shenanigans in mission schools, which I tried to put in the larger context of religious hypocrisy. That is despite the fact that I am often more in agreement with Sinhala Man (Mr. Edirisinhe) , Dr. Rajan Hoole, Dr. Kumar David, Dr. S.R.H. Hoole, than many Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.

          I have no animus toward Christians as such, though I consider many Southern evangelical Christians in the US as very irrational.

          As for pre-Colonial existence of Christianity in SL, I consider that claim rather doubtful.
          I have heard of some people in Kerala also claiming they are part of the Syrian Christian community that adopted the religion from when Jesus Christ visited India. Again, I am skeptical of those claims.

          Dr. Rajan Hoole himself seems to agree that Christianity came to SL as part of the colonial enterprise.

  • 7
    2

    Panini , my colleague has taken the great. courage & Pain wrapped up
    all pros & cons and left to the
    Well wishers of the STC of all three branches to re-think.
    I don’t agree to everything what
    Panini says but there are some
    Truth in his painstaking article.
    I give my full respect for digging
    Out the facts, may not sweet for others.

  • 2
    0

    Dear Mr. Panini,

    What his name ?

    SD

    • 1
      0

      Another Mr Edirisinghe

  • 11
    3

    Panini

    I have read your articles on this topic some years ago as well, at which point I agreed with your findings, and at which point all four schools had new administrators. Five years later as an old boy of both STPS Colpetty and STCML I am now able to state that you are mistaken in this seemingly prejudicial view you continue to hold. I know through my connections in both schools and the Board of Governors the happenings behind the scenes quite well. The Rev Dushantha Rodrigo at Colpetty Prep is a strong character who wants Prep School to get its long unrecognized dues (though he himself only went to STCML) as a vital feeder school for the Big School, which tends to take all the credit although the ground work for some of their most famous students was laid at Prep.

    The same students as adults too want to fit into the Galkissa Ethos and do not give much credit or regard to Prep although they may have gone to Mount for 2-3 years, and at most (prior to 1980) about 5. Further he does not get on with the Bishop of Colombo as he has seen him and the board of governors for what they really are given that they have been blocking his every effort. In addition, there is talk of him being front runner for the post of next Bishop, for which the current Bishop is adamant to block him by instead promoting his crony in crime – Brohier, or the weak and unqualified Billimoria at Mount over the much more capable and well qualified (academically and spiritually) Rodrigo. In this event he knows Rodrigo would have to step down from the race to avoid a nasty situation arising among the Colombo 7 ladies who would prefer Billimoria for his apparent charisma despite the story behind the scenes in administration at STC being quite different.

  • 3
    13

    S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia (STC), is a selective entry boys’ private Anglican school providing primary and secondary education in Sri Lanka. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious schools in the country.

    The few Thomians I know are fine upstanding men reflecting the excellent education and character bestowed to the in their school days.

    As far as I know, the schools have a very full overflowing application list waiting to join, testament to all that is done well at these schools.

    It is particularly saddening to see a reference to ‘owing to Rule 1.5.3, the Staff Representative must be a Christian’.

    Life has taught most of us never to meddle in something that is working well (despite the inevitable little flaws that bug all institutions). I would be very surprised if the Bishop and trustees will ever knowingly allow standards to drop on their watch.

    Panini Edirisinghe appears to have a whole swarm of bees in his untidy bonnet and appears to be hatching some mischief to get his way. Sadly, people like him seem to be everywhere these days!

    • 12
      0

      I say, Spring Koha. Not charitable of you. Edirisinghe is one of STC’s better products. i really wish people like him were everywhere around us.

      Have you not noticed how snobbish Thomians are, despite being a school predominantly for Moratuwa Karawas as the Royalists’ “Thora Seruppu” song goes?

      People rush to apply to STC because their elitist world view gets them jobs. Is a real school for jobs? A real school must educate. How many from STC enter our universities? It is a school that produces crooked business men good at making money for their companies using the thora network.

      So is STC really working? Recall the murder of the student Ponniah. The mass scale homosexual rape in the hostels while the trustees and priest-headmasters look the other way earning Thomians the Nickname Homians.. Recall the cruel ragging where a well connected student who ragged was allowed to get away. Etc. Etc. Fortunately other schools do not have this horrible record.

      The school was founded to produce priests but Royal has been far better at it. Instead STC produced a Bandaranaike who divided this country. The horrible ministers we have had like Marapona are Thomians. The school war victories. What a record!

      Judge a school by its products. Sure, Edirisinghe as a non-karawa intellectual is out of place on the Thomian scene. But many of us have only praise for him.

    • 4
      0

      “I would be very surprised if the Bishop and trustees will ever knowingly allow standards to drop on their watch”

      A complaint by someone, especially one devoted to the school, must be looked into. It is democracy. Mr. Panini does not have to write every year if the matter gets a hearing.

      Read the Tamil Liturgy we are forced to use by the two Bishops. Heretical. They block their ears to our complaints and waffled through the progress report on the resolution at the last Diocesan Council.

      Bishops in full view let the very faith drop. Talk of standards!

      • 1
        0

        Thank you very much, Dushyanthi. This is exactly the point. Why can’t this Bishop apply so many things said in the Bible (and in other religious scriptures) about acknowledging one’s own faults, and helping himself to move on from there?
        .
        Not only himself, of course. So many others. Given this treatment of teachers, what sort of education will finally be given to the little children? I know that religion is something very important to the handful who have commented here. No, not to me. I know that all of you are more worthy of respect than the 57 asses (as of now) commenting here:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-rule-of-law-in-sri-lanka-gania-banister-francis-british-woman-in-cyprus/
        .
        In fact, I sometimes wonder why Prof. Hoole wastes his time on subjects like that. I’ve hardly looked at it. Peeped in before daring to write this. Can’t he see that there’s little purpose talking to the sort of person who comments there?
        .
        I don’t know to what extent this heartfelt cry from me inspired this much more valuable “Anglican” article from him:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/two-self-proclaimed-anglican-bishops-from-his-lordship-to-his-grace/
        .
        That was the most important article that he has written since he showed us that Gota’s citizenship issue was fudged by the Elections Commission. Even there the thirty-odd losing candidates who missed a trick on nomination day, could at least have commented on his article.
        .
        My childhood memories of the LSSP are like this. Having fought for Tamil rights for decades, they joined the Bandaranaikes and failed to see where that was leading them. I may not be as clever as them, but Balraj and Dhilo know, I guess, that I will never follow the lead of Vox Populi, who smells Tamils everywhere. No, better I go direct to my grave than to sink to such depths.
        .

  • 3
    13

    Too many Tamils are controlling St Thomas’ – predominently a Sinhala school. I will not send my sons there.

  • 11
    1

    Panini.

    I am aware that you have a grouse for quite awhile on this subject and as a Teacher @ Gurutalawa you may have noted the contradictions of the Board of Governors.
    But Panini STC was founded by Bishop James Chapman in 1851 as a school to impart Christian values in all aspects of Education.
    During my salad days @ STC Mt.Lavinia between Mid 50s to Mid60s majority of students as well as staff were non Christians! A reflection on the Liberal entry criteria.
    The Rule 1.5.3.may have been introduced to maintain the Christian part of the school. Perhaps in the same way that Buddhism has been enshrined in our Constitution.
    I would not deny Christian politics plays a part in the running of the school,but still there has been no discrimination either in academic pursuits or even in Sports for the students
    I am conscious of the fact that Bishop Canagasabey is not a product of STC.

    • 1
      0

      Dear Plato, (Thanks also to those others who have made useful comments.)
      .
      PART A
      .
      Since all comments on this article have to cease soon,
      I’m throwing off ideas without working out all the implications.
      .
      Using the ridiculous imagery of “Citizen Silva” (below) – I may be writing like a bull in a china shop.
      .
      There still is fairly high demand for the admission of students to the two Western Province S. Thomas’ Schools. Applies to the girls’ schools as well. That is to say, if there are 200 vacancies in Grade One, there will be 400 applicants. Some more intelligent parents may not apply knowing that the chances of gaining admission are almost non-existent. Add those, and you may have 4,000 wishing to apply.
      .
      I’m sure that both of us have had the experience of getting “approached” by parents asking if I can “put in a word” and saying that they could contribute so many millions towards the building fund. I sometimes suspect that I’m being told that I could also benefit monetarily. I don’t think that I’ve ever obliged.
      .
      Given this scenario, the schools have to adopt s/b>trict criteria for admission. Children of alumni, and parents who are unambiguously Christian is fair enough, although there is a growing body of parents, Christian-background but agnostics. O.K. by me. But not those who owe “Political allegiance” to Buddhism (today’s context). This “demand” masks the fact that the most desirable parents opt for “International Schools”. Even in Uva, some such parents opt for the most prestigious State Schools, which again are faced with the same problem. No solution to this until every village school really becomes “the best school” for that child. Mere sloganising won’t do.
      .
      tbc

    • 1
      0

      PART B
      .
      In Uva,
      some non-English using parents imagine that their progeny would acquire English by gaining admission to S. Thomas’. Depends on what you mean by “English”. Fee-levying schools obviously attract more affluent parents – and those kids are likely to be less inhibited in “showing off” their spoken English. I have repeatedly challenged the Old Boys with this statistic. Only two students from the Bandarawela school have ever sat A. Level English – in August 1981 – makes them the same batch as the villain, Christopher Balraj who has not, to date, become a paid-up member of the OBA – he’s merely “ex-officio President.”

      And who taught them “English Literature” and the composition and summarising skills required by Paper One? Why me, who was never allowed to work in that school. [Follow links, – see how I have recounted that even Education Ministry requests that I observe “English Medium” teaching in the Bandarawela school were blocked by Balraj.]
      .
      It was like this. A teacher in S. Thomas’ (name withheld for “humanitarian reasons”) began travelling to Colombo (Wesley College) every week-end for GAQ classes. I asked myself: “if he can do it, why can’t I? So, I followed suit, a month later. However, I selected Aquinas as having better tutors for my subjects. Two years of classes, with Peradeniya External Exams getting postponed. Incidentally, it’s rather more difficult passing External Exams because the examiners are unknown. S. Thomas’, Bandarawela, decided that their teacher who was now a GAQ candidate could teach A. Level English. And so he did – until the results (released December 1980) shattered the man’s confidence. Failed all his three subjects – English, Economics and something else. I got an A for Western Classical Culture and Bs for English and Philosophy.
      .
      tbc

    • 1
      0

      PART C
      .
      The Headmaster, SLA Ratnayake, and the said teacher, requested me to teach the two boys. He
      sat again in 1981 and in 1982. Failed all three subjects again. Check, the man is still in Bandarawela, older than me, but ignorantly regarded by the Old Boys of the school as the finest English teacher they ever knew. Actually, he’s good at drilling the basics.
      .
      The two boys came to me four evenings a week. They both sat. Roshan Miskin (Sinhalese mother, now an ardent Buddhist in Canada) was brilliant. The parents were not affluent – I did not charge him one cent (knowing also that he was brilliant). He got a B (which is exceptional). The other guy (you could ferret his name since he’s a lawyer in Bandarawela) had to pay me Rs 25/= per lesson. Result – Failed in English. I don’t usually encourage applications for re-corrections. I did, with him: he got an S pass. Current Headmaster, Balraj? A non-entity, who sat other subjects.
      .
      Why that tuition only on four week-day evenings? Having got the taste of actually acquiring qualifications I began work on an ATCL (Speech and Drama) with Wendy Whatmore (13th Lane Colpetty). After that lesson, I used to visit the British Council Library for the following week’s reference work by Roshan (especially), then spend an hour at Aquinas picking up tips from my “had been” English teacher, M.I. Kuruvilla, on the A. Level syllabus (he refused to teach me for the B.A. Saying that I deserved to be taught “better” at Peradeniya), and after about mid-1981, I began teaching GAQ Philosophy in the Borella home of Ravinatha Ariyasena, to him and a half-dozen others.
      .
      I became an internal student at Peradeniya University on the 4th of November 1982.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Plato,
      .
      All things considered, I think it inevitable that a majority of the staff will be non-christian. Nothing at all wrong in that. I actually think that is a good thing.
      .
      However, there has been a deliberate policy on the part of the incumbent Heads to prevent Christian Graduates from getting on the Staff. That is a statement that I can substantiate – and many know it.
      .
      About 1990 or 1991, the late Bishop Jabez Gnanapragasam told me that he knew of the “Empire-building Propensities” of the Headmasters. Jabez was a saintly man.
      .
      Thanks to all who supported with comments.

  • 9
    0

    The school belongs to St Thomas …not Diloraj Kanagasabey…
    So if the board wants to cheat ask St Thomas whether it is line with the heavenly order…of the 15 board members 5 of them are erected..not a single parent is in that category..very funny. The school do not have a Head..if there was one this Country would not have been in this position… The writer a Buddhist in 1992 took his son for admission to Grade 1… They wanted the baptismal certificate.. But many Muslims and Buddhists were enrolled to the KG during that year.. Even MR 3 idiots were studying there… They too are Buddhist.. The writer & his family converted and became a Cristian 20 years ago.. The first question the writer prayed and asked Lord Jesus was ” tell me lord why this discrimination corruption in schools identified in your name ..saints names or as Christ’s schools ..” He said ” my son you believed in me …read the bible they are Pharisees who lived during my time ..corrupted ..vulgar .. They played politics with Romans and crucified me then ..now they are involved in Politics and crucify my name..” Unfortunately it is happening in a Buddhist country…means these Pharisees are like pigs .. ..they do not know my word…”..

    • 5
      4

      Rev Dushiyantha Rodrigo
      Is an outstanding servant of Christ
      The truth will prevail

      • 5
        1

        Agreed, Rev Dushyantha R is a good and humble man who is doing much for the school with his hands essentially tied by the board and bishop. Unfortunately the entire anglican church is headed by a corrupt foundation with the most self-centred bishop of modern times under whose tenure the entire financial dealings of the church need to be forensically audited – and not by that old fossil Rajan A.

        Panini’s biggest problem is I think that the outdated board rep referred to herein is his own brother, who I agree has no qualification to be such a representative and has done nothing to further the cause of any institution he represents.

        By the way, I found this below christmas gesture led by Prep School to be a nice one for continued unity especially as it is dedicated to Vinodh Senadeera who was far as I know was not from Prep but STC ML, and whose finest actors and choristers were often from Prep. Such would have been unthinkable in the casie chetty era: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J985Ct7W1FQ

        • 2
          0

          Dear Edwin Dias,
          .
          Many thanks for the delightful video.
          It’s only ten minutes, so all readers ought to see it. I notice that it incorporates visuals from the chapels of all four schools.
          .
          I don’t know the Kollupitiya chapel all that well – the visuals that were unfamiliar must have been from there.
          .
          Having written all the foregoing, I found that I have got Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo’s mobile phone number, and I’ve had a quite pleasant 9-minute chat with him. I think that misunderstandings have been cleared, and that’s always a good thing. If it is necessary, let me explain it all a few days from now.
          .
          As for Rev. Balraj, I think that if you scroll down to the comments that appear as numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8 below this Emil vdP article, you will see that he is guilty. Yes, he is guilty – I’m not a guy to mince words or use euphemisms.
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/does-legality-matter-at-all/comment-page-1/#comments
          .
          I faithfully reported all of that to Bishop Dhilo. On the middle day of the visit to Sri Lanka of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Sri Lanaka (August 2019), an innocent young Personal Assistant to the Bishop named “Kaushika” telephoned from the Bishop’s Office (the contact showed up since I’ve had it saved on my phone for years) to say that my report of the incident had been received.
          .
          tbc

          • 1
            8

            Panini,
            Think before you write.
            Please don’t write like a bull in a China Shop

            • 6
              1

              Citizen Silva@

              Please elaborate as to why you ask him to ” THINK BEFORE WRITE”.
              .
              If you should be sane enough, you should come with your own arguments.

              I consider Mr Panini A is unbiased and straight forward personality

            • 6
              1

              Panini does think before he writes.

              Panini, please simply carry on as you do.

        • 1
          1

          Continuation
          .
          .
          I have since then repeatedly tried to contact Bishop Dhilo on his mobile phone – which again, I have had it saved for years. I have known the Bishop for many decades. I wanted to meet him. I couldn’t even speak to him. What was he doing when he asked Kauskika to ring me, except to buy time. Perhaps he wanted to prevent me barging in and complaining to Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, who is an extremely honest man.
          .
          All that I have said above, I can substantiate. Later. Why complicate issues? What we desperately want is schools well run so that the students therein can be well educated to restore peace to our land. It is not only the handful of Private and “International” Schools that matter. The State runs ten thousand other schools; those for “Estate Tamils” are the worst off.
          .
          No, I’m not a fire-breathing Marxist who imagines that all humans can be made equal by waving a magic wand. But I do believe that there must be education that prepares children to be decent and satisfied human beings, and there must be “Education for Peace”. I think that I have said enough for now.
          .
          I wrote the article because I may be the only guy who has sufficient knowledge of all these issues. I don’t like intervening, so this will be posted as from Sinhala_Man. In the current Vigneswaran article, I have explained to an old girl of the Bandarawela school, “Kalu Nangi”, why I don’t dare call myself “Sri Lankan_Man”.
          .
          I’m happy with the responses but disappointed that there are that are none that are not Colombo-Centred.

        • 1
          1

          Unlikely because the appointment of a lay principal for St. John’s has just been announced.
          Of course a priest is naturally preferred if one is available.

    • 5
      1

      The Thomian Schools have long had a quota system where sons of Old Boys and Protestant Christians (in that order – regardless of the religion of the Old Boy) gets preference. I see nothing wrong with this in a School system that is administered by the Church and does not get any funding from the government – it is how it has been for a century and a half and will continue to be. If you wish to make a point you could have admitted your son to any of the good national schools that (apparently) do not discriminate on religion (are you joking).

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out] writing in capital letters are discouraged -CT

  • 3
    1

    Is it stipulated in the S. Thomas’ College Ordinance that all branches be headed by men of the cloth ? This appears to be a new phenomenon which would have precluded eminent persons like Mr. Fernando and Mr. Casie Chetty from being the Head Master of Prep School . They were both outstanding leaders who served the school with distinction for a number of years .

    • 1
      1

      Unlikely because the appointment of a lay principal for St. John’s has just been announced.
      Of course a priest is naturally preferred if one is available.

    • 3
      0

      It is now the case so that the Bishop (who is a weak administrator and whose motives financially and otherwise should be examined carefully) can exercise ultimate control. Also, typical office politics in appointing heads who he knows need to win his favour to have any chance of succeeding him as bishop.

  • 1
    1

    Let there be justice and fair play is the crying need of the hour. God’s will be done and shame on those who try to thwart it.

    May those in authority prayerfully seek the discernment of the Lord and may His kingdom come even in the Thomian schools.

  • 2
    1

    Agree totally with Dr. Sankaralingam. We need to resist being distracted from our traditional Anglican roots. I am sure that sons of Old boys of other religious backgrounds can still put their children in, provided their connections to the school are solid and proven. We absolutely DO NOT want to be made into a totally Buddhist school.

  • 1
    1

    Unlikely because the appointment of a lay principal for St. John’s has just been announced.
    Of course a priest is naturally preferred if one is available.

  • 5
    2

    I am solicited to make a comment by the author of the article Panini Edirisinghe. I came across him almost 60 years ago when we joined STC Gurutalawa in 1960. We have remained friends since then to be able to vouch for his honesty and the difficult character that arises out of that very integrity. Some of us are driven by what we perceive to be the ‘truth’, and desire to uphold that sentiment in the belief our actions however distasteful may deliver greater good. I trust Panini’s article is written in that sentiment.

  • 2
    1

    It must be repeated on and on the famous phrases “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” and ” human beings are NOT infallible” and very much so. Everybody must pray that God prevails over the minds of these human beings with his shining light making it obvious and clear the path to do the right thing. Whether one agrees or not it is obvious that Mr. Edirisinghe certainly is striving at that objective, for sure.

  • 2
    0

    I have faced the Fraud at election to the Board of Governors in the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Colombo.

    Fraud or attempted fraud in other sectors of the church is also real.

    Personal experience tells me.

    hf

    • 1
      0


      Dear Hiran Fernando,
      .
      Thanks for your comment.
      Are you not the son of Rev. Celestine Fernando, whom I made point of meeting a couple of times to discuss matters theological, knowing him to be a man of the highest integrity? What I have heard from many people is that your entire family is a rare one, where every member is upright. A family to emulate.
      .
      I asked because there was a person by the same name who was the Secretary of the Bandarawela OBA. That made him the most active member of the Association, but now he’s dropped out. Not seen for decades, although he’s considerably younger than me.
      .
      To return to my earlier theme, there are many who claim great commitment, but their subsequent disappearance suggests that with them it’s been mostly ego. Others, there are, who are very sincere, and still concerned, but did not know when they began to help that this was such a dirty game.
      .
      Some awareness of the issues many have, but not a clear sight of the entire picture. So, what I’d better do (starting tomorrow perhaps) is to give the background, so that all who want to, may know what has really been happening. It may prove tedious for outsiders, but it’ll be very important for Anglicans.

  • 2
    0

    Preserving the faith and education is not the priority of the Anglican Priests. The Bishops and their minions, hardly have faith that it does not matter to them that the CoC is dying because of their greed for power and money. Jesus is not their Lord, but Gotabhaya or whoever is the President. It sucks that they are determining the faith of our innocent children and the fate of the Church. They do not fear God but are swallowed up in their newly gotten glory.

    Recently at the Diocesan Council, a resolution put forward that’everyone baptised in the Anglican Church is an Anglican” . It was not allowed to be taken up. Fr. Perry Brohier said, “if it is passed we have to give admissions to hundreds of Anglican children admissions to our schools and there will be chaos”. St. John’s takes 4 lakhs donation that only businessman, nearly all hindu, can afford.

    It is known among educationists that 60% or more of a class must be of the persuasion being provided. That is 60% must be Christian. Or else the majority culture will be the child’s culture.

    Panini thanks for exposing these white washed tombs. Hope Billimoria will contest. We are dead.

    • 2
      0

      In his better days, the present Diocesan Secretary Arun Gamlath was in charge of vote counting at the Diocesan Council.

      At the time he had a conscience. He confessed to an elderly councilor:
      “Uncle, they are asking me to change the numbers. What should I do?”

      Today? The indications are that he has lost his moral compass, and has joined the gang.

      • 1
        0

        Thanks, Rev. Shanta.
        .
        You have been bold and honest enough to give your name (although it has not allowed me to actually identify you). You’ve referred to this “Gamlath” who I know actually works in Bishop Dhilo’s Office.
        .
        Probably, your comment was meant to under this other article by Prof. Hoole. Great man, and one with strong Christian faith still.
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/two-self-proclaimed-anglican-bishops-from-his-lordship-to-his-grace/
        .
        It is easy to confuse, but if I were to lay bare the fact that I was infant-baptised (with W.T. Keble for God-father) and confirmed (by Archibald Rollo Graham-Campbell), but that today the corrupt Church has caused me to repudiate that heritage of mine, he will probably launch an attack on me.
        .
        Rev. Shanta, Hoole and me: we’re honest, but different from one another. But Christopher Balraj is scum. No Church ought to allow him to deal with sacraments etc. Examine all the links given by me, Panini Edirisinhe. The fellow actually man-handled an old codger like me. Not wanting all this to escalate, I didn’t make a police complaint.
        .
        I’m still signing off with my customary pseudonym of “Sinhala_Man”, but I’m the author of this article.

        • 1
          0

          Within two minutes of posting that comment, I thought I’d better try to get through to the Bishop. The Office was closed; will re-open only on the 2nd of January (Thursday, isn’t it?). Usually, Kaushika or Nadi (I don’t think I’ve met either, but know that they have sweet and cultured telephone voices!) will honestly try to put me on to Dhilo – but that hasn’t worked now for three years.
          .
          The man at “Security” it was who picked up the phone, and informed me of the above. He said that the Bishop was around, so I rang Dhilo’s mobile. No response, although it rang (I’m sure that he has my number saved).
          .
          This fellow now lives like a King. I still recognise that as Bishop he controls the S. Thomas’ Schools, and I have never been so radical as to try to change that. It is him, and some members of the BoG, who are ruining the schools which still have an important role to play in our society..
          .
          Dhilo is the Christian counterpart, in most respects, of this monk:
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/ampitiye-sumanes-slap-fell-on-the-civility-of-the-sinhala-buddhists/
          .
          He’s ruining Christianity owing to what he’s now doing. But no, he doesn’t shout and scream like a lunatic.

  • 1
    0

    I’ve not got much time left to fill in some gaps in what some of the readers display. Much of this will not be of general interest, but it may be of importance to some:
    .
    Eksith Fernando has been discussed. I’ve never met him, but I’ve been told that he’s a good man. He was a graduate, but he had never been a teacher. I suggest that those who want to get seriously into this, download this judgement. It seems to have the habit of suddenly disappearing from “for free” websites. Eminently readable, this is:
    .
    https://www.lawnet.gov.lk/2000/12/31/eksith-fernando-v-manawadu-and-others-st-thomas-college-cases/
    .
    Embedded in that judgement is the 1983 legislation. Legislation brought in by then education Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe in 1983. Why? Ranil never told anybody, but judge for yourself. Ranil got rid of Ralph I.T. Alles from D.S. Senanayake M.V. near Borella, Colombo in 1981. My Bandarawela M.M.V. Principal, Piyasena Samaranayake (still my good friend, still a fine teacher of Science subjects at age 83 – while running a school), was transferred there in December 1981.
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._I._T._Alles
    .
    He was thereafter employed by Zahira College, Maradana, as the Principal. But note what is stated here:
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zahira_College,_Colombo
    .
    He’s been downgraded as “Prefect of Studies” – because of this legislation. He had plenty of teaching experience, and was quite versatile, but his sole qualification was as a Specialist Teacher of Handicrafts (Woodwork etc) at the Maharagama Teachers’ College. Be it noted that this was an English Medium Training College, and that those trained here were paid a higher salary than those who had been in a Vernacular Teachers’ College. This changed about 1970. Be that as it may, Alles was not a University Graduate.
    .
    tbc

  • 0
    0

    Dear All,
    .
    I think that comments will soon cease – it may happen even as I’m typing this in. That happened once you know. This comment box had appeared, I typed my comment in, but on submitting I was told that they were all over! However, my calculation is that we have 100 minutes or so to go!
    .
    I’m happy that I seem to have got positive responses from Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo, again today, at 1.41 pm. If this turns out well, may God be praised. My faith in Justice and Honesty will be restored.
    .
    Rev. Philip Nesakumar had told me ten months ago that selecting the “Staff Representative” was not a matter for him, but for the Staff. I see no reason for this being any different now.
    .
    Let me hope that Rev. Balraj also recognises the correctness of a democratic election. It is so desirable that we look for a consensus on this, so that we can move forward to addressing the more mundane issues that educating the boys in the three schools (the schools now have a sprinkling of girls also – and that’s not a bad thing.
    .
    This, therefore, is my final message: let there be an election, and let the teachers choose whom they think fittest. In the minutes remaining, I may try to answer some of the queries posed.
    .
    Let’s look forward to 2020 with confidence!

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