19 September, 2018

Blog

Trustees Demand Bishop Thiagarajah To Step Down From The Jaffna College Board

The Trustees of Jaffna College Funds, a group of volunteers based in Boston that manages the funds sent to Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai, have demanded Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College and Ms. Vijulaa Arulanantham, Vice Chair to step down from the Board to make way for new leadership following allegations of corruption, physical abuse, nepotism, inefficiency, and administrative irregularities at Jaffna College. The Jaffna College Board includes Mr Rajan Asirwatham (a prominent corporate leader), Dr Selvi Chelliah (former Principal of Uduvil Girls’ College), and Mr Muthuratnanathan (former Deputy General Manager, Ceylon Electricity Board – Northern Region) among others. 

Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah

The Trustees have also insisted in their latest letter (please click here to read the letter in full) that Jaffna College and its Board be governed under an amended constitution that accommodates representatives of different stakeholders of the College such as professional educators, parents, outside education specialists, and alumni with a variety of professional and academic skills. The letter also states that the members should represent several Protestant denominations, none with a majority position. The Trustees emphasize that the amended constitution should ensure greater transparency in the administration of Jaffna College. 

Until the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson of the Board resign and new constitutional changes are initiated, the Trustees will reduce the funds allocated to Jaffna College for the third and fourth quarters of the year 2018 by 20% and 50% respectively. 

The Trustees also note that they will reduce the funds allocated to the College by 100% from the first quarter of the year 2019 if their demands have not been met satisfactorily by then. 

The Trustees have pointed out in their letter that the current Board led by Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah has failed to address the following problems at Jaffna College:

* the Principal has limited ability and autonomy to act as head of the school; 

* the Board is involved in day-to-day operations, rather than providing oversight and setting strategic direction; 

* the Bishop of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India acts as permanent Chair according to a change in the 2014 Constitution; 

* stakeholders are alienated, disenfranchised, express extreme dissatisfaction with the Board’s leadership, and have great concern for the school’s future; 

* concerns exist regarding the adequacy of internal financial controls over the school’s funds, including grants made by the Trustees; 

* the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds have been prevented from independently reviewing the school’s financial transactions; 

* articles in the local press allege misconduct and mismanagement; and 

* allegations have been made of an unsafe or threatening environment for students, including allegations of physical abuse.

Colombo Telegraph has brought out five reports regarding the administrative irregularities at Jaffna College since January 2017 when the funding to Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College was reduced by 20% per quarter for the first time. 

The Trustees have proposed that the following should be given primacy in creating a new constitution for the governance of Jaffna College:

1. Establishment of an independent board: The Jaffna College Constitution should require that the Board consists of people who have a stake in the College’s success, such as professional educators, parents, outside education specialists, and alumni, with a variety of professional and academic skills. Members should represent several Protestant denominations, none with a majority position. The chair of the Board should be elected from among the Board’s members, and all members should have term limits. 

2. New Principal-Board relations: The Principal must be a professional educator with strong leadership skills. As chief executive of the school, the Principal should have autonomy over the day-to-day operations of the school. The manager position should either report to the Principal or be eliminated. The Board must refrain from the day-to-day management of the school. Instead, the Board must support the Principal, periodically reviewing the Principal’s job performance, providing oversight and setting the strategic direction for the school. 

3. Increased transparency: There must be an increased level of transparency and accountability about the school’s operations, consistent with best practices at other leading schools in Sri Lanka. As your partners in this shared endeavor, the TJCF should have unlimited access to all financial information, including the use and control of funds and related party transactions.

The Trustees’ letter notes that their efforts to address the problems at Jaffna College were treated with animosity and that the Board even threatened the Trustees with lawsuits.

Nearly six weeks ago a teacher of Jaffna College was arrested by the local Police for allegedly sexually abusing some students of Jaffna College who attended his private tuition classes. The suspect continues to be under remand custody. A few hours before the arrest happened, the teacher was issued a letter of suspension from Jaffna College by the Chair of the Board. 

Relevant reports and statements:

Colombo Telegraph Report on the Uduvil Girls’ College Crisis in 2016

Colombo Telegraph Report 1

Colombo Telegraph Report 2

Colombo Telegraph Report 3

Colombo Telegraph Report 4

Colombo Telegraph Report 5

Community Statement on the Future of Jaffna College (in Tamil)

English Translation of the Community Statement 

Alumni Statement on the Future of Jaffna College

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Latest comments

  • 21
    9

    This is a Bishop who makes even Cardinal Ranjith look good.
    Well, Jaffna society is well known for hypocrisy – where, when visitors arrive you hide your Palmyra behind the Almirah, and tell your children to come and sit in the living room and keep reading the Bible.

    • 17
      15

      AJAY!
      Just because allegations are made against Bishop Theagrajah, a single person, who does not represent any body, how can you come to the conclusion that ‘Jaffna society is well known for hypocrisy’. You seem to be suffering from a’ phobia’ against the the the Jaffna society. Just because a couple of Buddhist Priests are charged for murder and mayhem, will you call all the Sinhala Buddhists ‘ Murderers’? Suggest that you consult a Psychiatrist immediately.

    • 13
      2

      The Trustees of Jaffna College Funds,

      “This is a Bishop who makes even Cardinal Ranjith look good.”

      “..have demanded Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College and Ms. Vijulaa Arulanantham, Vice Chair to step down from the Board to make way for new leadership following allegations of corruption, physical abuse, nepotism, inefficiency, and administrative irregularities at Jaffna College. “

      Bishops, Cardinals, Popes are of the same mold. Some are occupied with alter boys, some in bed with rulers and politicians, and some claim to be infallible. Looks like the Bishop is not infallible.

      Today, Sri Lanka, rather the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is elected by the people, a republic, not by the so-called “Infallible” Popes and their agents, Cardinals and Bishops claiming unsubstantiated right to be Divine.

      The True Core Of The Jesus Myth. Is this what the Bishops and Cardinals buying? Trinity, 1+1+1=1? Do they have a problem with math.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMo5R5pLPBE

      Hitchens about the Catholic Church

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZKOD-Qpu_4

      Summary of sins over 20 centuries of the Catholic Church.

      Crusades, Inquisition, the persecution of Jewish people, injustice to the natives and women, etc.

      So, the Jaffna College issue is simply peanuts.

  • 18
    1

    So public opinion has got somewhere, but possibly only because the Trustees are independent people who have been concerned about how this venerated school serves the next generation of students. The trustees expect no benefits whatever for themselves.
    .
    We in the South are grateful that the people of Jaffna have shown us how problems can be solved by clearly setting forth the true situations that prevail. Our problems are different, but the solutions found must be on the same lines.
    .
    I haven’t yet read the full report; may tAke two days. Meanwhile there is that reference to a Manager. That may be just a government requirement, since the Ministry of Education needs to know whom they have to deal with in official matters.

    • 4
      0

      Sinhala Man,

      “Meanwhile there is that reference to a Manager. That may be just a government requirement, since the Ministry of Education needs to know whom they have to deal with in official matters.”
      #
      I do not know of any Ministry of Education requirement for an unaided government approved private school to have a manager but such a Circular may exist. According to Constitution of Jaffna College the Principal is in charge of relations with MoE. The Constitution mentions manager only stating that he/she is appointed by the Board of Directors. In the case of Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls’ College (both unaided) the Chairman of both Boards chose himself as Manager of Jaffna College and his wife as Manager of Uduvil Girls’ School.

      • 4
        2

        Recognised private schools number about 76. They do have Managers through whom the Government corresponds -not often. There is a Director of private schools in the Ministry of Education.
        .
        I wonder if you want more detailed information posted?
        .
        Each school will have its own way of running its affairs. That’s not a problem. It may be possible for the Principle to be the Manager.

        All, or at least most, of the private schools (even the supposedly unaided schools) do have some benefits extended to them. They get free text books (it may be better for them not to get some of the Books!), their teachers receive training and guidance Much more significantly, a certain number of their teachers receive government pensions after they retire. I’m talking about schools like S. Thomas’, Trinity, Ladies’, Carey, St Bridget’s etc. These are schools that charge students around 6K per month, and pay teachers’ salaries with the money so collected.
        .
        The two Jaffna schools are strange to say the least! They don’t charge fees; they run the schools on monies donated regularly by well-wishers abroad, and make no attempt to enroll the most “deserving” students. Not that I mind terribly. It is what happens at Royal College, Colombo7. .

        • 2
          0

          Sinhala Man,

          Thank you for your reply.
          #
          “They do have Managers through whom the Government corresponds -not often.”
          #
          In the case of Jaffna College the Principal is or is supposed to be in charge of all communication with MoE according to the Constitution of the school. There is a copy of the Constitution (2014?) somewhere in the links. If the Manager is in charge of relations with MoE the school should have amended the Constitution.
          #
          “I wonder if you want more detailed information posted?”
          #
          Yes please! As you have understood one of the questions is what are the powers of the Manager of an unaided school. The Manager/Chairman/Bishop has been exceeding his powers during years and keeping financial reports for the schools and the church in his safe. As to why the Board allows this I have no idea. There are two lawyers in the Board but one of them is the Vice Chairman that the Trustees have asked to step down. The other lawyer who is the alumni rep and only Hindu has also been silent. If you have a source making clear what the powers of the manager of an UNAIDED school are please post it here.
          #
          “Each school will have its own way of running its affairs. That’s not a problem. It may be possible for the Principle to be the Manager.”
          #
          If I remember correctly the previous Bishop was not the Chairman nor Manager. Not sure if there was a Manager at all.
          #
          “The two Jaffna schools are strange to say the least! They don’t charge fees.”
          #
          They do charge fees but less than the ones in South because of the Trustee money. The fees have increased lately a lot very likely due to the cut in the Trustee funding. Think that JC admission is now 80+K. Lot of money in rural North!

    • 3
      0

      Sinhala Man,

      “So public opinion has got somewhere, but possibly only because the Trustees are independent people who have been concerned about how this venerated school serves the next generation of students. The trustees expect no benefits whatever for themselves.”
      #
      The Trustees expect no benefit but they are responsible for a large amount of money. The Trustees are supposed to receive regular and reliable reports from Jaffna showing what the grants they send are spent on. Since the Trustees have not been satisfied with the reports they some years ago started to demand annual audits by Ernest&Young. Full audit reports by E&Y have not been provided for the Trustees despite the 20% cut since first quarter of 2017.
      #
      In USA a Trust like the one that exists for Jaffna College and also funds Uduvil Girls College is registered as some kind of a charity. This means that the Trustees themselves must furnish annual reports to a controlling public authority in Boston, MA. The grants should only be used for acceptable purposes and there must be acceptable audits and other reports. If the Trustees fail to govern the funds properly they will face legal problems in USA.

      • 0
        0

        Thanks, Gabriel,
        .
        What I will now say relates to your first comment, but I don’t want to break the sequence of what you have said.
        .
        Now that you have stated clearly that you’d like me to give you more information, I’ll have work out what I know for certain, and separate that from what I have extrapolated – making every effort to do so responsibly. Please give me a day or two. So, what I’m giving you now is NOT the information you wanted.
        .
        So, what I gather is that instead of charging a monthly fee, it is the initial “Admission Fee” that is charged. There is nothing inherently wrong with that provided all money is accounted for. I feel that in the South it is more than 80K. Bribery and corruption are different matters, and they are not extensive in these set ups. The distortions are more subtle. The North is hardly rural, but I know that you are impoverished where capacity to earn is concerned. What extra money is needed, comes from relatives abroad, I believe.
        .
        I’d like you to clearly understand that I’m neither omniscient nor infallible. And I think the Church thinks me a bit of an iconoclast. My education was entirely in Private Schools, but I’ve taught mostly in state schools. However, a neighbour and I rescued one school which was going to be sold off. Google these two words to see what I’ve been saying about how the church runs schools: “Thomian Pharisees”. In that school I have worked twice: once for a year as long ago as 1967-1980. During the rescue mission – for about 18 months in 2007-2008.
        .

        • 0
          0

          Sinhala Man,
          #
          Thank you for the reply and information.
          #
          “Now that you have stated clearly that you’d like me to give you more information, I’ll have work out what I know for certain, and separate that from what I have extrapolated – making every effort to do so responsibly. Please give me a day or two. So, what I’m giving you now is NOT the information you wanted.”
          #
          I will wait patiently. If you have read earlier articles on JC you may remember that Minutes of a BOD meeting were leaked and published. These are the only Minutes known to outsiders. Anyway in the Minutes the Trustees ask a simple question about who has made decisions. The Chairman is in charge of relations with the Trustees but he/she does not decide alone. That question indicates again the wide suspicion that the Chairman/Manager has exceeded his constitutional powers. Many say that he is running the schools and the church alone with the Boards acting like rubber stamps.
          #
          “So, what I gather is that instead of charging a monthly fee, it is the initial “Admission Fee” that is charged.”
          #
          Both schools charge an admission fee and an annual fee of around 5k. Uduvil Girls’ School is more expensive than Jaffna College. Admission close to 100K. There are assisted schools in Jaffna town that charge more than JC and UGC but the fact is that most high income people choose to live in town where they work. The only international school called Angel is spreading and the fees are higher than JC/UGC.

      • 0
        0

        Continuing . . .
        .
        As a teacher myself, now retired, I have been concerned about the lack of transparency by the Boards of Governors. You don’t seem to have cottoned on to the significance of the pensions paid by the government for the entire natural lives of SOME teachers. The Heads of the schools and the Board think of the staff NOT as a group of intelligent and responsible persons who should be treated fairly, but as some unfortunately necessary trouble-makers who have to be set against one another: divide and rule. So, likely collaborators are identified, and their co-operation is ensured by dangling that carrot of a pension before them.
        .
        As a teacher myself, now retired, I have been concerned about the lack of transparency by the Boards of Governors. You don’t seem to have cottoned on to the significance of the pensions paid by the government for the entire natural lives of SOME teachers. The Heads of the schools and the Board think of the staff not as a group of intelligent and responsible persons who should be treated fairly, but as some unfortunately necessary trouble-makers who have to be set against one another: divide and rule. So, likely collaborators are identified, and their co-operation is ensured by dangling that carrot of a pension before them.
        .
        I would welcome it if you were to subject what I say to critical analysis. Remember that I’m a player in this terrible game, but one who yearns for transparency.

        • 2
          0

          Sinhala Man,
          #
          “You don’t seem to have cottoned on to the significance of the pensions paid by the government for the entire natural lives of SOME teachers.”
          #
          I know almost nothing about the pensions retired teachers of unaided schools receive. At Jaffna College many of them continue working. This may happen because they have no pension. Why would some teachers receive a government pension and others not? Who chooses the lucky ones to get pension? In the only Minutes of BOD meeting known to human kind they mention paying a gratuity= lump sum to a retiring teacher and that money appears to be paid by the school. I hope that you can elaborate on the pensions and how they are used.
          #
          Thank you.

          • 0
            0

            Dear Gabriel,

            Now, how do I set about this? I haven’t wanted to nose around and ask any of the teachers too many questions about this; with only some being entitled to this pension they may resent my questions. But, ultimately, that is what will have to be done.
            .
            Searching the Internet, I’ve found a circular much more recent than I would have expected;
            .
            pensions.gov.lk – Department of Pensions
            http://www.pensions.gov.lk/index.php/en/component/content/article?id=8
            .
            Circular No :Circular No : 01/2018 Payment of Pensions to Sri Lankan … TWP, Pirivena, Private schools and Local governments categories for widows’/widowers’ ….. Circular No : 02/2011(A2) – Taking the Employees’ Provident Fund Service period of …. Circular No : 2/2006 Edu – Rectifying Pensions Anomalies (Education).
            .
            I’ve actually downloaded a 366kb PDF document, dated only a month ago, starting with this link.
            .
            http://www.moe.gov.lk/english/index.php?option=com_circular&view=circulars…920
            .
            Understanding the provisions may be not so easy. Perhaps you should email me, but I don’t want to scatter the address everywhere. Please see comment 75 of 76 here for my address:
            .
            https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/drug-lords-mangala-whacks-round-the-wicket-shames-but-doesnt-name/

          • 0
            0

            Choice of teachers would depend on qualifications, plus the recommendation of the Principal.
            .
            Embedded in this Supreme Court Judgement, you will find some regulations introduced by Ranil Wickremasinghe, when he was Minister of Education. “Assisted Schools
            and Unaided Schools Regulations, 1983.”
            .
            https://www.lawnet.gov.lk/2000/12/31/eksith-fernando-v-manawadu-and-others-st-thomas-college-cases/
            .
            You can AGAIN download the case record; it was not possible earlier. The Board of governors lost this case. Please study and get back to me. However, I suggest e-mail contact.

            • 1
              0

              Sinhala Man,
              #
              Thank you for the Circulars and what appears to be an old Govt Gazette used in the court case. I will study them later. Regarding staff: I do not know who chooses them. The Board appoints but the remanded teacher has been replaced by an unqualified retired teacher and there has not been a Board meeting. Apparently somebody has made an emergency appointment.
              #
              The teacher now accused of sexual abuse received a warning from director of education in this province for having physically attacked students last year. He is an award winning scouting figure. Busy dude!

            • 0
              0

              Somebody has to actually file action in courts. What I have given you is more than just a government gazette. Those rules are still in force, but if you go to Education authorities with all that in English, you get nowhere. That was a bitterly fought out case, and what a delightfully written judgement by Justice Dheeraratne! I can hardly put down more than I have in a forum of this sort.
              .
              It was an “interested group” that filed action. About 5 Old Boys, and one (Manawadu) who was a parent whose education had been in Dharmashoka, Ambalangoda. I had a long and friendly telephone chat with him about 15 years ago. He won the case, but regretted ever having litigated. All it achieved for him, was blame from “typical Thomians” for upsetting the apple cart. I had to hunt for his contact details.
              .

              I hunted for and found Mr Manawadu’s contact details; it may be much easier for you to find mine. I don’t want to become a joke by signing each comment with my e-mail address, but you may be able to find it, and if it really is a problem just let me know.
              .
              The director of Education in charge of Private schools, on the top floor of Isurupaya is Mr S.M. Salahuddin ( unsure of sepelling, depite looking here: http://www.moe.gov.lk/english/ ). Nice enough people, I guess, but if you expect action, you’ll be disappointed; just as I have been. Like any government servants they will not risk antagonising the Establishment.
              .
              You have already achieved much; miracles and spectacular achievements are not possible.
              .
              Contact me, and we can chat. Many things that I don’t know, but I’m not clueless. And I am willing to do my bit to ensure that TRUTH and Justice prevail.

      • 0
        0

        Thanks, Gabriel.
        .
        As you say, donors to “a registered charity” get a PARTIAL tax rebate from the government. That is how Asia Foundation gets remaindered books from major publishers.
        .
        Understanding how systems are made to work so as to help the least privileged is necessary for us; but we still owe them gratitude. It’s unlikely that they get a 100% rebate. Those donors in Boston are sincere and committed persons. Telling us about the problems that they would face in America is part of the transparency that is so lacking here.

        • 0
          0

          Sinhala Man,
          #
          “Those donors in Boston are sincere and committed persons.”
          #
          Most of the money the trustees have comes from investments. This income is used for grants supporting the schools and some other projects in Sri Lanka.
          #
          “Telling us about the problems that they would face in America is part of the transparency that is so lacking here.”
          #
          Actually the Trustees have been silent on this. Something they call “fiduciary” responsibility has been mentioned only once.
          #
          Alumni is very willing to help Jaffna College but waiting for a better administration. Heard that last year the school library was painted but all the alumni funds were channeled thru an alumnus not the school. This was a ćonditition from alumni.

          • 0
            0

            I understand your impotence. It’s been the same sort of story for me, too.
            .
            Given the laissez faire attitude of the Ministry, the Head of the school plus the Board are capable of smothering any investigation. The schools here have sufficient cachet for there to be a demand for admission – particularly Mt. Lavinia and Colpetty. (also applies to Ladies” and Bishops’) . So, few parents will ever risk protesting.
            .
            Fortunately, you’ve been able to galvanise public opinion. I’ve been much less successful. The OBAs don’t represent a cross-section of the alumni.
            .
            I notice that I’ve asked you to discover my e-mail from the article concerning Mangala Samaraweera. Now I must stop. Heavy thunder shower.

  • 2
    18

    We should have Rev Gnanasara as the head of he Jaffna university, to civilise the people in the north with teachings of Lord Buddha

    • 7
      9

      Bastards could just write with shit, nothing else.

    • 6
      0

      jim softy,

      “We should have Rev Gnanasara as the head of he Jaffna university, to civilise the people in the north with teachings of Lord Buddha.”

      Then he will:

      1. Guide students how to desert the wife and child, to become dead-beats.
      2. To do child abuse by making 7-years old Samranera, child monks.
      3.. Set the stage for older monks to abuse the child monks, throughout history by wearing the monk robes, pretend that they follow Buddha’s teachings.
      4. Carry out crimes in the name f Buddha and Buddhism, in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho illegally occupied by the Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” Monks like Ganasara.

      References:

      1. Child Abuse by a Monk in Habaraduwa

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNSC93mPs4I

      She sent her grandson to school with the idea of providing him with proper education to make him a good person. The Buddhist monk in charge of the temple asked her to send the child to the temple and she sent him there because they were poor. There was no possibility for them to pay the money for tuition fees. That was the reason why they sent the boy to the temple school.When the child began to refuse going to the temple school so adamantly, grandmother had to look for the reason. It was then only that she discovered that the child who was sent to learn good behavior, ethics and Buddha’s Dharma from the monk had in fact been abused by the monk.

      2. Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 1

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOfTGSADdY

      3. Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

      Is Para-Sinhala “Buddhism’ any different from Tibetan “Buddhism”?

    • 5
      0

      Jimba the dumba hahahahahahahaha……………you are so funny………………………..hahahahahahahahahahaha

  • 10
    5

    I join those who welcome the Trustees reading the riot act. But where do we go from here? Education must be placed in the hands of competent and committed scholars – competence without commitment will not help to build and sustain an institution.
    In the past we have produced competent scholars who have done well for themselves, without being of much use to their land and its people. Our educational institutions have become refuges for dogs in the manger that are very alert to keep good scholars out and corrupt the young who might offer hope.
    Without good scholars our future is bleak.
    This deadlock cannot be broken without personal commitment. I see little hope of Jaffna University being reformed. Perhaps, some committed persons could take over Jaffna College, revive its undergraduate department and transform it into a beacon for the North once more.
    As for Bishop Thiagarajah, I would not fault him on his competence as a scholar. He might have made a good principal of Jaffna College. He simply got lost on the way. The moral and political hurricane that devastated us during the recent decades left few persons, and hardly any institutions, that remained uncompromised. It is the task of scholars to disinter those ashes as a form of catharsis.

    • 1
      14

      I can not believe that educated Christians can ever make mistakes. It is only the Hindus can make mistakes.Probably trustees are making a grave mistake and they must be Hindus

      • 11
        1

        A disgusting attempt by “Raja” to add more of his personal fuel to an unfortunate fire. People like you are the venom that seeks to deepen rifts & pour chilli on wounds. Let these people heal instead of pouring your sick stuff out here.

      • 7
        0

        Those who are close to GOD make the worst blunders expecting God to safeguard them,

    • 0
      0

      Rajan!
      If competent scholars blunder what do you expect from others?

      • 0
        0

        K. Anaga: If competent scholars blunder, then they are no longer competent. Have you any specific example in mind?

    • 4
      1

      Dear Rajan Hoole,

      Thank you for the interest and concern you have shown regarding Jaffna College. About the way forward: maybe people should identify credible and committed academics and educationists to run the Board of Directors of JC. There are many such people in and outside of Jaffna. But a change is possible only if the Bishop steps down. Otherwise the school will face a deadlock.

    • 8
      0

      Rajan,

      In bringing this issue for public attention, it will help if there is some objective measure made available in singling out Jaffana college so as to assert the extent of its significance for the Province, and to assess the degradation of the institute, if that institute is also included in your denunciation of having become a refuge for dogs in the manger..

      For starters, perhaps someone can someone track Jaffna college’s share over the years in admission to Universities, first, to all of SL Universities and next, to Jaffna university.

      Perhaps Point Pedro Policy Institute can handle that simple objective task, without resorting to biased inferences?

      • 2
        0

        Rajan,

        Neither the report nor Rajan Hoole’s comments are about how many students are entering university from Jaffna College. If you are from Jaffna (or any other part of SL), you will realize the role of educating students now belongs to private tuition centers. The education provided by schools like Jaffna Hindu and Vembady is not so great either. What is at stake here is some basic values like transparency, accountability, good governance and democracy. There is a deterioration at JC when it comes to these values.

        • 9
          0

          Dear Alumnus K,

          If as you say, “the role of educating students now belongs to private tuition centers”, and if JC’s principal, if not sole, responsibility is not in educating students, then why should it matter to the general public whether the Trustees reduce the funds allocated to Jaffna College by 20%, 50% or 100%?! Perhaps your assumption is that the diaspora is contributing towards old age pension for their former teachers and religious leaders? Bless their collective souls!
          .
          “University admission” is indeed not the singular objective of such institutions, but it is undeniably the most obvious measure, an ideal proxy if you must, of the success or failure of the institution in meeting its responsibility to the students and to the society.
          .
          If JC’s role in educating is not the focus in either the article or Rajan’s comment, then why is Rajan’s expectation that any rise from the ashes would be the responsibility of the scholars? If the concern is merely about misappropriation of funds, with no implication for the education of the students, don’t you think there are non-scholars who could very well take care of the needed legal measures pertaining to use of funds, private and public.
          .
          I am perplexed at your having reservations for an objective assessment. Is there something that you, as an alumnus, find risky in a scrutiny towards justifying Rajan’s broad-brushed condemnation and claim?
          .
          I say this in view of Rajan’s recent article where he hastily and foolishly began by laying the accusation that the government was intentionally intervening with Sinhala racial motives, in a specific University appointment. Within 24 hours, and over three iterations, Rajan found himself correcting his assertion, identifying the problem as no more than an isolated incident of favouritism shown by the (Tamil) head of the department to his lowly clerk!
          .

          • 2
            0

            Kumar R,

            Thanks for your questions. At JC teachers who are not qualified to teach Geography are teaching Geography. There is a so-called Science teacher in the senior school whose qualification is GCE AL. Three English teachers have no appropriate qualifications. Still JC did well in recent exams. The Board argues that there is no problem in recruitment, subject allocation,etc because students are doing well in public exams. That is primarily because of private tuition centers. In a way, private tuition centers allow the school (and most schools) to remain corrupt and teachers to become lazy. That aspect needs to be highlighted in any objective study.

            I am also worried about the nature and caliber students who are produced by thuggish administrators who lie, distort information and abuse their co-workers physically and emotionally. These are questions related to values and what kinds of students our schools are producing. Hope these aspects will also be taken into consideration in any objective study.

            The school assembly is no longer conducted in English. The quality of the English choir has gone down. JC no longer trains Shakespearean plays. Some of us are worried about these trends as well.

            • 0
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              Alumnus VK,
              #
              “At JC teachers who are not qualified to teach Geography are teaching Geography. There is a so-called Science teacher in the senior school whose qualification is GCE AL. Three English teachers have no appropriate qualifications.”
              #
              One of the Geography teachers is a retired Home Economics teacher. Her husband has replaced the Math teacher (unfortunately qualified) who was remanded accused of sexual abuse. The husband is a retired Physical Education teacher. To my best knowledge the school has not even tried to find qualified teachers for Geography or English. To replace the remanded Math teacher they should try to recruit a new one.
              #
              The grant from the Trustees and fees from the parents should allow the school to pay a higher salary than government schools to attract talented teachers.

      • 0
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        Kumar R,

        “someone can someone track Jaffna college’s share over the years in admission to Universities, first, to all of SL Universities and next, to Jaffna university.”
        #
        Maybe the Principal is able to give information on where the handful of students entering universities went despite his limited ability and autonomy?

      • 1
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        Kumar R:
        To me, the important observation in Rajan’s comment is: “In the past we have produced competent scholars who have done well for themselves, without being of much use to their land and its people.”
        IMHO, two things follow from this: (a) can this be reversed in the future so as to retain local talent from escaping to greener pastures [see this fine speech by Ghanaian President Nana Addo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTNk4q6zRw8 ]; and
        (b) can there be a way of Jaffna/ North/ Sri Lanka tapping into the competence of those who left but may continue to have an interest in what happens back home in some structured way (as China seems to be doing), as opposed to one-off interactions and small-scale contributions I know several individuals are making.
        These could be more worthwhile avenues for PPPI to explore than how well Jaffna College serves as a grain of rice to judge the state of the whole pot (as I think you think Rajan thinks).

    • 9
      1

      Rajan,
      .
      I was amused by your comment “we have produced competent scholars who have done well for themselves, without being of much use to their land and its people.” My amusement was in view of the several articles here by Jeevan which were nothing more than pleas for pittance by a “competent scholar produced locally and one who has done well for himself.” My reference is to articles such as the one appealing for public support to entitle him to an additional $15 driver allowance per month! Not trivial?
      .
      While I had reservations in bringing this up, I felt that if you thought it appropriate to again broad-brush condemnation of “competent scholars produced locally” perhaps I might point out the wisdom of looking first “at home” before pointing fingers at the rest of the society.
      .
      I might also add that I refrained from voicing my objection to Jeevan’s recent article declaring that the entirety of Sri Lanka’s democracy is threatened because the mandated third member’s presence at the monthly meetings cannot be assured only because there is no fund ($100? $200?) to house that member while in Colombo.
      .
      If Jeevan is so convinced that the cost of saving Sri Lanka’s democracy is just this trivial amount (especially trivial for a “competent scholar produced locally and who has done well for himself”), is he truly incapable of getting support from his diaspora “well-to-do scholars” to meet this “monstrous cost” that would save the Democracy in Sri Lanka?! If this scholar with such enormous recognition among the Diaspora scholars cannot even harness such measly support, that is indeed a shame, on multiple counts!

      • 10
        1

        Mr. Kumar, all we know about you is that you hate my professor. You don’t hate. Please. Who are you? What have you achieved?

        Prof Hoole was nominated for Election Commission. He does good work. According to Commonwealth press he was personally chosen by Secretary General by name to be Eminent Person on Observer Mission for Pakistan General Election on 25.

        He is educated and contriburltes to society.

        Please write when you can tell something like that.

        As Sai Baba said, only hate comes from hate.

      • 7
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        Many thanks Madum for that response.
        .
        Yes, Prof. Jeevan Hoole is a good man who is doing a very great deal in furthering the cause of democracy, both here and abroad. We owe it to him in great measure that Local Government Elections were held on the 10th of February 2018. We did not like the results – but that is a different matter.
        .
        We do not know the identity of Kumar R. It is wrong of him to launch this attack on him when Prof Jeevan H. has contributed nothing to this article, and had been mentioned by none. As you have stated, Madum, he is probably in Pakistan, studying the (very complicated) situation there, and ensuring that any unfair practices there are brought to the notice of the world. I remember that he gave us a very frank account of the election of Donald Trump in America almost two years ago.
        .
        Dr Rajan Hoole has made a comment here. He is a very different individual who writes very carefully about subjects closer home. That comment should not have been used as an excuse to attack Jeevan in this way.
        .
        When Jeevan does his election work he’s helping all Sri Lanka. He’s definitely not making a fortune doing all that work, and he’s quite right to highlight the indifference of our government. He must be provided accommodation in Colombo.
        .
        I’ve been saying (in context) that Jeevan does sometimes unnecessarily bring in topics relating to caste, religion, and ancestry. Kumar R was once not satisfied. with my acknowledging them as “inappropriate”. No, I’m not going to use stronger language; those are subjects in which I, as a stranger to Northern Society, will not deal with. Please deal with all that yourselves, you good people of the North.
        .
        Kumar R, you have to level the playing field if you want me to discuss personalities. Who are you?

    • 2
      1

      I agree that that the Jaffna academics adopt a dog in the manger policy. Several diaspora academics have offered to teach in Jaffna but have been fobbed off by the nitwits on the ground that they cover the subject adequately. This in a university that is ranked 1006.

  • 2
    5

    Probably a terrorist too.

  • 7
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    One of the crucial demands of the Trustees , namely for the Board of Directors to lay down policy guidelines and then leave the achievements of such goals to the Principal is a golden suggestion .Of course the Principal should be consulted in arriving at such decisions from a practical point of view and the Board should review his performance regularly to ensure that decisions are implemented Ina timely way.This is management pure and simple.

    The Board of Directors getting into the unhealthy practice of involving its self in the day to day management of the school without leaving it in the hands of the principal is indeed detrimental. Then why have a principal at all? A peon would do ! Conversely the Principal should not try to set policy.That is the function of the Board.

    What ails Jaffna College here is symptomatic of a larger Sri Lankan malaise where the Board of management comprises persons with no managerial expirience or skills.They do not know the basic difference between laying down well judged policy decisions and the then leaving it in the hands of the administrator (Principal) to achieve them for the good of the institution.If the administrator does not achieve set goals he should be removed after reviewing performance.We now have a situation where the Board of Directors does not know its managerial duties and the Administrator does not know what his functions are.So a clash occurs and unsurprisingly theinstitution suffers in the end.Jaffna College is exactly in this situation . As to how it came to this situation while having eminent Corporate world achievers such as Rajan Asirwathan is a mind boggling question.

  • 1
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    Staff retired from JC institutes were hired by the Bishop to work for the Diocese. That is ok. But these staff filled labor cases fighting against the Jaffna College Institutes after their retirement from the Diocese(Headed by the Bishop). These are as if the Bishop (Chairman of the Jaffna College Board)was giving oxygen.

    Similarly staff who were manhandled in the school were not given justice They were kicked out of the school. This is how the Bishop started ruining the administration of the the Jaffna College institutes.

    The former Bishop wisely did not wanted to be the Chairman of the Board while in office as the Diocesan Bishop

  • 3
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    People are quite surprised to find that Jaffna College, once a prestigious educational Institution is marred by corruption and wrongdoings. We find on all aspects that there seems to be a crisis in the board of management of Jaffna College. Jaffna College a pioneer educational institution managed by veteran people of the past held high reputation among the people of Sri Lanka. One thing is certain that malpractices and corruption seem to ridicule the good name of this prestigious organization. The church should take immediate action to restructure the organization by appointing a Head from overseas to restore the lost credibility without delay.

    • 2
      0

      Dear PARAMANATHAN,
      .
      Trinity College has got an Englishman as Principal, and I think that he’s doing a good job; but I can’t help feeling that we need people who understand local conditions. If you mean a Jaffna man who is currently overseas, that would be fine.
      .
      Please see this thoughtful piece written by an old Jaffna man residing in Germany:
      .
      http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=174369
      .
      Are we Sri Lankans never going to stand on our own feet?

  • 2
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    A lateral thought.
    Have the American based Trustees got into this Trump-Chinthanaya syndrome?
    They observed Jaffna College produced more than the share of eminent and worthy citizens. Most of them were non-Christians. Can the money be better spent otherwise?
    One hopes that this is just a ‘conspiracy’ thought.

    .
    The prestige of Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College and Ms. Vijulaa Arulanantham, Vice Chair are getting battered. Orchestrated? May be.
    They must step down. Things cannot get worse.

    • 2
      0

      K.Pillai,

      “Can the money be better spent otherwise?”
      .
      There must be a point where the trustees decide that enough is enough. The funds can be used for other Christian activities than Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls School.

  • 2
    0

    “The dogs bark but the caravan goes on”!
    .
    Despite opposition from the trustees, former students and parents the malpractices continue. Even media attention has been of little help.
    .
    How can the caravan be stopped?
    .
    The bishop is the chairman ex officio. If he and the Vice Chair step down who will be the Chair and amend constitution? Even without the chair and vice chair who says that the hand picked directors who see and hear no evil want to amend the constitution? At the same time it is clear that the school will not survive an UP TO 100% cut of funding from the USA.

  • 1
    0

    Dear Lone Wolf & Kumar R,
    .
    Why don’t you reveal who you are?
    .
    People who write articles, and even comments, ought to take full responsibility for what they write. They should also be balanced and objective.
    .
    I should like to illustrate this point by drawing your attention to wonderfully well written article, that has just come on, which you may miss:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-war-on-drugs-in-sri-lanka-science-or-fiction/
    .
    The writer there is not peddling (the subject is drugs!) any particular point of view, but he’s educating us, and asking us to sympathetically consider all aspects of the problem – except the desire of the major drug traffickers to prosper at the expense of others.
    .
    Kumar R, the commentor named “Madum”, is quite right when he complains that you appear to be driven by hatred of Jeevan. I agree that Jeevan himself would do well to study Dr. Nimesh Samarasinghe’s article as an object lesson in how to write on difficult subjects.
    .
    Jeevan must at this time be in the midst of very real danger in Pakistan, monitoring a violent election:
    .
    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/24/asia/pakistan-election-intl/index.html
    .
    I have no doubt that he will write honestly and fearlessly, and do the world a lot of good. I won’t be surprised if he writes passionately on the rights of women to be elected, in a country where they are not even permitted to vote. I remember that after observing the election of Trump he made many sharp comments on The Donald who depended so much on the voting pattern of Evangelists.
    .
    Neither Rev. Ed Bedrosian nor Prof. Hoole belong to that category of Christians.
    .
    Lone Wolf, we would find your comments easier to understand if you were to reveal your identity, but I have less to complain about the contents of your comments.
    .

    .

    .

  • 0
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    Let the state take over the institution. State run institutions in the North are doing well.

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