26 June, 2022


Students Forced To Kneel In School For Failing To Bring Money

Good governance activist Chandra Jayaratne has written to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka seeking a public clarification on promoting awareness and educating all citizens on human rights, following on an incident in a leading government school where students had been publicly humiliated simply because they failed to bring a certain amount of money they had been instructed to bring.

Bandula MohanJayarathne, in his letter to the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has stated that he noticed this incident when the school had made an announcement – which even those who are residing in the vicinity of the school could hear – listing out all the names of the students who failed to bring a certain payment while ordering them to kneel before the school administration and the peers.

He says that thereafter the students had been informed to bring the money to the school without fail on the first working day this week, although it is illegal to collect money from students in government schools according to the various circulars that have been issued by the Education Ministry.

Jayarathne has questioned that in a day and age where school teachers are made to kneel before students by politicians, the kind of precedent this incident has set by forcing students to kneel and feel humiliated simply because they failed to bring money to the school.

He has requested the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to issue a public clarification on the incident along with necessary recommendations on the rights and obligations of the stakeholders of schools, so that it would help effectively promote ‘respect for, and observance of, fundamental rights’.

We publish below the statement in full;

5th October 2014

Registered Post

The Chairman,

Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka,

165, Kynsey Road,

Colombo 8.


Dear Sir,

Seeking a Public Clarification for the Promotion of Awareness of All Citizens

In terms of Section 10 (f) of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act No. 21 of 1966, the functions of the Commission include a commitment “to promote awareness of, and provide education in relation to, human rights”. In line with the above commitment, I seek from the Human Rights Commission, a public clarification for the promotion of awareness of all citizens.

The clarification sought, arises from an experience of some residents living and passerby close to a leading State School in Colombo. They heard last Friday a public address announcement emanating from the school premises, probably made at the morning assembly of the school. Class identifications were read by the announcer in succession and “all students who had failed to bring the money (purpose not clear) were asked to kneel down”. Thereafter all students who were kneeling down were requested “without fail to bring the money by the first working day of the next week” and these kneeling students were once again asked to “inform their parents of the commitment and give a reminder early in the morning of the next school day”. The students were later dismissed from the assembly and ordered to return their respective classes.

At a time when leading politically powerful persons have set a new trend in society by ordering teachers to kneel down in public and before children, it may be that teachers and principals of school also feel that it is in order to differentiate students who have failed to bring money by asking them to kneel publicly in a school assembly before their classmates, peers, teachers and others.

I believe that a public clarification in the above regard by the Human Rights Commission, along with necessary recommendations on the rights and obligations of the stakeholders of schools, will effectively promote the awareness of all citizens, whilst at the same time “promoting respect for, and observance of, fundamental rights”, in line with section 10(a) of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act.

I was prompted to write to you in this connection, as the very same day, I saw an appendix of a fund raising project distributed amongst the school children by another school, with the aim of building a concert hall. This notice sought the support of the children to sell tickets and get sponsorships to raise Rs 2 million required as expenses for a musical extravaganza. The estimated costs included fees of Rs. 0.5 million for professional singers to be engaged to perform with a professional orchestra paid fees of Rs. 0.25 million, a professional compeer in attendance and souvenir printing costs of Rs. 0.5 million. I wondered whether the children of this school too will also face the humiliation of the type seen at the other school on Friday 3rd October.

Your early response public clarification is much appreciated.

Yours Sincerely,

Chandra Jayaratne

cc. Secretary to the President,

Secretary, Ministry of Education,

Secretary, Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs,

Chairman, National Child Protection Authority,

Editors of Media Institutions – for Media Publication

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Latest comments

  • 6

    When the education of country is entrusted to TUTION GURAS of yesteryear with companion from a MUSHROOM INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, can you expect any better situation in schools? What do you think is happening to CWW KANNANGARA in his grave?

    • 5

      Another tragic comedy ? who is the boss of SL HC ? it is none other than Dr P.Mahanama who has been accused of assaulting Anula college principal for not promoting his daughter as the head prefect . Mr chandra don’t waste your time with this fake character , this P Mahanama bloke is only good for dry cleaning services, nothing else !

    • 5

      RE: Students Forced To Kneel In School For Failing To Bring Money

      The Students could not bring money, because their patents money was stolen by Rajapaksa Shill and cronies…The electric and water bills have gone up and a choice had to be made between eating and giving money to school…

  • 0

    In the gold old days the teachers used to punish students in the following manner:
    – hit with rulers
    – cane on the back
    – hit the knuckles or palm with a ruler
    – kneel on the ground
    – stand in the hot sun on the cricket pitch
    – slap
    – and many more ways.

    There was no human rights only the right of pain and punishment. Yet many of us have turned out ok and strong !

  • 9

    You have to understand that the times have changed. Now by law students could not be given corporal punishment. Now it is a criminal act whether you like it or not. You check this with the National Child Protection Authority. Do not live in many decades back. You live in the 21st century.

    • 5

      In Canada, even parents cannot mete out corporal punishment to their erring offspring!

    • 1

      I was not condoning the act, but just making a statement of how things were then.

  • 6

    We worshipped our teachers at the beginning of each term and they blessed us with knowledge. There was no private tuition.
    Teachers held extra classes on saturdays and sundays to finish the syllabus and review difficult portions.
    We were taught that in our lives, parents came first, teachers second and God came last – Maatha, Pitha, Guru, Theivam.

    Now, teachers and schools are slaves to money – students have contempt for teachers most of whom do private tuition.

    The principal and staff of this school should be disciplined for this incident.

  • 6

    SL is a terrible country.
    The worst is the existence of poor quality uneducated politicians.
    Of all MPs only 30 % have passed AL examination.
    Instead of developing an education program the politicos
    are geared to collect funds and assualt others like what Sajin Vass just did!

    • 1


      Nobody else, but MR is the ROOT cause the fall of lanken EXTERNAL AFFAIRs to ZERO LEVELs to this day.

      imagine if a tea taster/later turn business man is appointed to represent the nation in the US soils – just only focus on the blood relatedness and family support, how can a leader even think of improving the education.

      Further to this, Mahinda s brain must be smaller to the size of bird brain is becoming clear when studying how he has appointed former army, navy and similar men for diplomatic position JUST TO protect them through diplomatic immunity. This is the for everyone s knowledge, the most stupid leader that got elected twice to destroy nation as no other president intentionally did.

      This situation has now become to the level of a metastazised cancer that will have no remedies. But people should not loose their hopes. Even a most virulent cancer be healed out if the met would rely on mental and western medicine.

  • 7

    The involved school should be named and shamed.

    • 2

      Dr Romesh it won’t work. They are unashamed because cruelty has become the norm. If the culprit is named he will just be transferred to another school. The masses have got used to being treated like dogs. It is terribly sad. A slow descent into 1984.

  • 2

    Chandra Jayaratne: Congratulations on writing to the HRC SL. You may get a reply, but I would not hold my breath. Give them a week, and if you do NOT get a reply, publish the name and address of the school, and the name of the principal, and let others too join in giving this cause more oxygen. Sadly, there are far too many instances of such practices in our schools, that thrive because no one takes any notice. Let us break the mould.

  • 1

    These damned human rights people are a law unto themselves. Don’t they have better things to worry than what’s happening at school.

    If the parents are not complaining, why worry. Have you’ll run out of better things to report!

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