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Suppressing a community by denying education - EDITORIAL

19 April 2024 12:03 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



These are days when politicians in the country are getting ready for upcoming elections, hence there are thoughts about whether anyone of them would use schools and education to promote their cause.  

Some of the candidates have already started mingling with students and presenting them with opportunities to ask questions on hot topics that are bothering them. One of the probable candidates in the presidential elections is seen offering material goods to students. He dare not present the opportunity for students to ask questions because he would then be putting himself in a very uncomfortable position. There is one other election candidate who offers this opportunity to students and by doing so makes the questioner lose his way in a temporary world of stardom; because the student loses focus of the existing world when he or she gets to question the highest authority in the country. These are all political gimmicks.   

Adults are quick to label the present generation as ‘smart’. This is somewhat true because most children know what they’d be doing for A’ Levels when they are already studying for the O’ Level examination. In this context, this writer wishes to draw the readers’ attention to education in Monaragala and about lost opportunities in the district due to the dearth of teachers and the absence of certain education ‘streams’ in less popular schools. In Monaragala students are raring to pursue education, but they are greatly restricted.  

Recently there was an article penned by K.Sanjeewa for the Sinhala newspaper ‘Anidda’ (25-2-2024 issue) where he highlights the sorry state of education in Monaragala. A’ Level students in this town who are pursuing education in the Tamil medium don’t have the opportunity to study mathematics or science because those streams are not available due to lack of teachers. That means this town will not produce doctors or engineers in the future; largely due to a shortage of teachers dispensing knowledge using the Tamil language. The writer underscores the two subjects must be initially made popular among students so that the authorities would then be compelled to allocate more teachers to rural schools if there are enough students pursuing mathematics and science. Schools in the Western Province don’t see mathematics and science streams being made unavailable just because there are a few students in the class. Why deny golden opportunities in education for students in Monaragala?   

Monaragala is predominantly a Sinhala village. According to the last official release of statistics by the Census of Population and Housing of Sri Lanka out of a population of 451,058 as many as 428,104 are Sinhala and a meagre 8206 are Sri Lankan Tamils and 5001 are Indian Tamils. Hence the Sinhala vote is assured for the politicians in Monaragala.   
Tamils are known to be a hardworking community. If studying mathematics, science and even economics is denied to students in this district it would amount to great injustice done to them; set aside politicians not educating people, so that the latter can be controlled.   

In the newspaper article mentioned above a boy named Eashwar was denied the opportunity to study economics and he had to opt for aesthetic studies. Now this boy is studying international relations for higher studies and wishes to immigrate.   
Politicians would not focus on people who somehow work around problems and earn a better ticket to life abroad. Their focus is on people whose dreams were shattered here and who have voting rights. This is where the Estate Tamil Community with Indian roots comes into the picture. Who cares for them?   

Last year this community marked 200 years after their first settlers from India arrived in Sri Lanka. These days we can see the Indian Government making elaborate plans to build houses for estate Tamils who are of Indian origin. The good news is that Monaragala is also earmarked for such facilities shortly. India, like Sri Lanka, will give this community material goods, but what about education? Also don’t forget that both India and Sri Lanka are gearing up for crucial elections; hence it’s wise not to get too carried away by huge election promises.   

  Comments - 2

  • Tissa Fernando Friday, 19 April 2024 04:55 PM

    NPP has been systematically destroying the education system. University education us being disrupted by JVP, Primary and Secondary education is disrupted by Stalin led union , both JVP and the teachers union are affiliated with NPP.

    Suren Sarathkumara Saturday, 20 April 2024 12:40 AM

    The million-dollar question is if any government genuinely wished for the effective and qualitative education of the ordinary children of the ordinary masses of Sri Lanka. Cutting across the political reality of the Sri Lankan kind, it is hard to believe that any politician would recognize the need for educational development in an atmosphere where only self-serving, self-beneficial, and short-sighted schemes are sensed by politicians in their own selfish fortifications. The words fly around often, but the deeds needed for uplifting education were never seen becoming realities of the grassroots. It is all a matter of social predomination in a country without an official policy of national development where the market forces, political undercurrents, and fancies of the privileged are given the ultimate freedom to decide the present and the future of the masses.

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