19 September, 2018

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The Thomian Pharisees Are Unrepentant: Why This Matters To All Sri Lankans

By Panini Edirisinhe

Panini Edirisinhe

Panini Edirisinhe

This is the third article on this subject published in five months on this Public Forum. The two earlier articles have drawn 227 comments. Quite a few are admittedly explanations by the author, but taken as a body, the comments clearly indicate that those who have learnt about the sad situation in these schools are very concerned.

The quality and balance of the comments is testimony to the fact that these schools still have a role to play in the future of our country. They are among the few that truly educate together a cross-section of the groups that make up the Sri Lankan community. Those who have commented are willing to learn; they are willing to listen, and to correct their faults. The charge most commonly held out against Thomians is that they are snobs, and elitist. There may be some truth in this, and we are not perfect, but the comments made here witness to our trying to do what we feel is right.

BaptismWithKebleThese schools have built for ourselves a great reputation for character formation and integrity and what has shocked readers is the fact that the Thomian Establishment is revealed as rotten. It is the system of administration and vested interests rather than individuals who are to blame, but the three guilty Pharisees deserve the flack that they are receiving. When people don’t respond to criticism is it not our duty to show that we will not allow these people to ruin the future of the younger generations of our country?

The earlier articles have set forth quite enough facts regarding the cheating that has taken place in the S. Thomas’ Schools in Bandarawela and Kollupitiya. The comments have brought in more facts. The correspondence with the Bishop had to be released because it was clear that he was merely playing for time, to later claim that it was too late to set things right.

Gratitude is owed to the many readers who have already stuck their necks out for the sake of Justice. Now, with the Annual General Meeting of the Bandrawela OBA due on Saturday, the 13th, August 2016, it is necessary for readers of Colombo Telegraph, whether Thomians or not, to demand that Educational Institutions be run transparently. It is our duty to transform this land for future generations.

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  • 2
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    The Bandarawela school celebrates its 75th Birthday on the 20th of January 2017. There is to be a chapel service at 8.00 a.m., and a General Assembly after that.

    It looks as though there will be no formal Old Boy participation. Not much is known because the Headmaster, Rev. Balraj has been away in England for the past three months, and will return to the school the 17th.

    He had all the makings of an outstandingly good Headmaster; what has let him down are the inordinate delays in his reading of mails, and even of text messages to his mobile. But perhaps, also, the BoG, also is to blame for not being consistent.

  • 3
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    There was this e-mail from the new Secretary, Theekshana Lankadikara, on the 9th of February 2017

    Dear Members ,

    As most of you are aware we could only appoint few office bares on 13th August 2016 AGM . with in this period the appointed hon secretory Dr. Preethi Wanasingha also decided to quit from his responsibilities. after Rev Fr Balrajs arrival we manage to appoint new members and fill the available vacancies as mentioned below from and around Bandarawela area. Now we are happy to inform you that we are fully active and we have been lively involved in 75th anniversary activities planed by the college.we as the Exco committee would like your full support for future activities we are planing. will keep you posted about the future developments.

    There are 27 names listed in a table, but I find that it becomes a mess if I try to put it on.

    You will find this much about the OBA on the school website, but the OBA website is not on at this moment.

    http://stcb.edu.lk/index.php/about-us/our-oba

    Nobody seems to be aware of the all important Constitution of the OBA, which in any case is a strange document, and not now on the Internet. At the end of it, it is said that the President may do anything he wishes, even if it is against that very Constitution. The Mt Lavinia OBA Constitution has the identical clause, but those powers have never been used. In this remote school, in effect, the Board of Governors, and particularly its Chairman, the Bishop of Colombo can do anything they please.

    75th Anniversary Celebrations were made to go off well, by spending school money – perhaps 5 million rupees.

    The Headmaster insists that that voting for Teachers’ Representative was in order: the Secret Ballot had to be in Kollupitiya by the 6 messengers bringing the views of the teachers, is what he says. The Rules of the BoG, already given to readers many times are badly drafted. Attorney-at-Law, Mr Buddhika Kurukularatne, of Dehiwela, the oldest EXCO member, who was elected at the last AGM in August 2016, says that its “animus” is quite different, and told me that it’s not the english word, but Latin for “Intention”, and pronounced differently.

    Whom to tell? – as they say in our country!

    • 1
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      I’m glad to see that this has been published. CT wrote to the author telling him that comments were not going to be entertained because “nobody reads old articles”. That illustrates how much clout the Anglican BoG still can muster.

      Tell me, what do you readers think of the position now enunciated by Rev. Christopher Balraj? Yes, what has been said above is his position. The “Teacher Representative” selected by the Branch schools need not have been elected by the hundred or so teachers in each school. The Headmasters select two messengers, and send them down to S. Thomas’ Prep School, Kollupitiya (where the elections are always held), and there, before Mr Rajan Asirwatham, Hony Secretary to the BoG, (he’s been that for about twenty years now) a secret ballot has to be conducted. That appears to be the position also of Rev. Dushyantha Rodrigo who heads the Colpetty school.

      On Monday, the 27th, I was at Gurutalawa to introduce Prof. Mahesh Nirmalan of Manchester Uni. (younger brother of Prof. Mahesh Niranjan who writes all those ‘Stories” about Tadpoles and Traffic Lights turning Red). Nirmalan was doing a workshop. (Incidentally, the Karainagar guy coducted the workshop mostly in Sinhalese, although some Tamil boys framed their questions in Tamil – which Nirmalan translated in to Sinhalese. English was hardly used.)

      The Gurutalawa Headmaster thinks that the Rules (to which I will provide a link) should be interpreted differently. So, he knew of three candidates and he held a snap (that suddenness may not have been correct) secret ballot and sent his two messengers to Colpetty with just the report of polling in his school. He did not select the messengers, either.

      These are the Rules:

      http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/05_Rules_of_STC_Board_of_Governors.pdf

      Please study 1.4 and 1.5. All this has been extensively discussed in the three articles, and they are linked.

      I came to this article today because I was making a comment here:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sampanthan-says-tamil-people-losing-patience-with-yahapalanaya/

      What Balraj and Rodrigo are saying is akin to roclaiming that for Provincial Elections, the Government Agent for the Province can select two Divisional Secretaries of his choice from each of the two, three or four Districts that constitute the Province, and that those Div. Secs. can then cast secret ballots for the Members of the Provincial Councils. Lists of Voters can be dispensed with; or something like that is what he’s saying.

      The English of Thomians had been so bad that they could not draft the Rules unambiguously. As for the interpretations, the teaching of “Casuistry” has been part of Christian Clergy Education for at least a millennium and a half!

  • 2
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    What do you readers think of the position now enunciated by Rev. Christopher Balraj? The “Teacher Representative” selected by the Branch schools need not have been elected by the hundred or so teachers in each school. The Headmasters select two messengers, and send them down to S. Thomas’ Prep School, Kollupitiya (where the elections are always held), and there, before Mr Rajan Asirwatham, Hony Secretary to the BoG, (he’s been that for about twenty years now) a secret ballot has to be conducted. That appears to be the position also of Rev. Dushyantha Rodrigo who heads the Colpetty school.

    The Gurutalawa Headmaster thinks that the Rules (to which I will provide a link) should be interpreted differently. So, he knew of three candidates and he held a snap (that suddenness may not have been correct) secret ballot and sent his two messengers to Colpetty with just the report of polling in his school. He did not select the messengers, either.

    These are the Rules:

    http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/05_Rules_of_STC_Board_of_Governors.pdf

    Please study 1.4 and 1.5. All this has been extensively discussed in the three articles, and they are linked.

    What Balraj and Rodrigo are saying is akin to proclaiming that for Provincial Elections, the Government Agent for the Province can select any two Divisional Secretaries from each of the two, three or four Districts that constitute the Province, and those Div. Secs. can then cast secret ballots for the Members of the Provincial Councils. Lists of Voters can be dispensed with; something like that is what he’s saying.

    The English of Thomians had been so bad that they could not draft the Rules unambiguously. As for the interpretations, the teaching of “Casuistry” has been part of Christian Clergy Education for at least a millennium and a half!

    295 words

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