State of Tamil medium education discussed

[TamilNet, Saturday, 27 March 1999, 14:04 GMT]
Tamil politicians in parliament today do not seem to understand the intensity of the educational problem faced by the Tamil speaking people deplored Prof.K. Sivathamby and K.Thiyagarajah, former secretary to the Ministry of Education of the Northeastern Provincial Council while addressing a seminar organised by the Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union in Colombo this morning.

Prof.Karthigesu Sivathamby said in his address to the teachers;

"Any improvent in Tamil medium education should be done in collaboration with the Muslims.

We should realise the fact that in 1960s translation was from English into Sinhala and Tamil. At the time the source language was English. Today it is Sinhala. In the sixties we thought that it was only a language problem. But today we know it has turned out to be a full scale control of the administrative machinery.

Language is only a tool now. The hegemony of Sinhala is complete today.

In this situation it is the duty of the teacher's union to ask for a clarification on the future of Tamil medium education in this country. Unfortunately the problem is not being posed in this manner.

You are speaking about grammatical mistakes and typographical errors in Tamil. It should be noted in this connection that educational planners in Sri Lanka are not clear about media wise education.

When they speak of education they actually have Sinhala medium education in mind. This is seen in the uneven distribution of educational resources.

We have to first ensure the continuity of education in the Tamil medium. Compare the number of schools that had education in the Tamil medium in 1960 and with those which had it in 1995. Tamil medium sections have been closed in a large number of schools.

There are no teachers to teach in Tamil, particularly in the upper grades. The problem is different in the northeast. The major question in the northeast today is whether there is an environment to implement the educational reforms which are per se very good.

So we need to take a fresh look at the position of Tamil medium education in this country."

The seminar was held from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. at the Ramanathan Hindu Ladies College on Lawrence Road in the Colombo suburb of Bambalapitiya.

Meanwhile the Ceylon Tamils Teachers Unioun (CTTU) has told the Ministry of Education that students in the Mullativu district have not yet received any of their school textbooks. T.Mahasivam, the General secretary of the CTTU, also said that none of the Tamil or Muslim grade nine students in the country have received a Science and technology textbook.

However this text book has been distributed to all students in the Sinhala medium.

The CTTU has asked the ministry to take prompt steps to distribute text books for all subjects at least before the second school term commences.

The first school term comes to an end on April 1st.


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