Jaffna students protest SLA presence

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 09 August 2006, 10:01 GMT]
Students of two of the leading schools in the Jaffna, St Johns College and Chundukuli Girl’s High School, began boycotting classes Monday calling for an end to Sri Lanka Army (SLA) occupation of their schools, and the immediate removal of SLA guard detachments and sentry posts situated in close proximity to their schools, sources in Jaffna said.

Since 7.30 a.m. Monday hundreds of students, both boys and girls, assembled at their college entrance and set up road blocks, barricading the main thorough-fare along Columbuththurai, burning tires in protest, student leaders said.

The students put up posters containing their demands all over the sentry guard post.

The students are protesting the intimidating presence of SLA in and around their schools which they say is causing fear amongst the students and disrupting their education. The students are asking for the immediate withdrawal of SLA from areas that are in close proximity to their schools, a memorandum issued by the students said.

Following the interruption caused to traffic by the ‘student protest’, SLA officers met the students for discussions. However the students maintained they would not give-up their protest until the particular sentry post was removed.

In view of the protest none of the students turned up at both St. Johns College and Chundukuli Girl’s High School and as a result there were no classes, both schools remained closed.

After a day long protest the students dispersed at 9.00 p.m. vowing to continue their boycott of classes. The St. Johns College Students Union has issued a press release that it would be continuing its protests.

Meanwhile, complaining that they have not been given permanent appointments, more than 400 qualified professional teachers out of permanent paid employment have begun a protest from Monday Aug 7, 2006. Having set up road blocks at the main access points to the building, hundreds of volunteer teachers all with out permanent employment were seen picketing out side the offices of both the Education Ministry’s Zonal Director of Education and the Provincial Director of Education, located at the Nallur Muththirai Chanthi.

An attempt by the Education Ministry officials to set up temporary offices at a school nearby turned out to be futile due to the presence of more protestors.

The volunteer teachers are calling for a speedy resolution to their problem, maintaining that they are all trained teachers and should be given permanent appointments with immediate effect; until such time they say they’re determined to continue their protest.


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