Colombo's new proposal aims to hurt NorthEast education- paper

[TamilNet, Sunday, 28 November 2004, 13:58 GMT]
"Educational planning is Sri Lanka is not oriented towards the benefit of all its citizens, but is used as an instrument to suppress the progress of Tamils," said Uthayan in an editorial Thursday criticizing Sri Lanka Government's attempt to reintroduce merit system when the Northeast education is suffering from devastation of war. "When Tamils captured more places under the merit system, the SriLankan Government introduced the district quota system, and now when the Tamils are highly dependent on the district quota system the Government is out to topple this avenue," the editorial added.

Peradeniya Engineering Faculty
Engineering Faculty, Peradeniya
Currently, 70 percent of students are admitted according to district quota system and only 30 percent are admitted on merit which allows Tamils from affected areas in NorthEast to retain a fair overall percentage of admissions.

"Education is a heritage of Tamils. TamilEelam students historically excelled in education. When British Colonial rulers gave independence to Ceylon, Tamils were in forefront of education. In 1942, under the merit system Tamils obtained 32% of all admission to universities.

"Southern chauvinistic forces perceived this as a long term threat and planned to break this progress. Srimavo Bandaranayake, mother of the present Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunge, who was in power during 1970-1977, introduced a system of admission to universities based on the population ratio of the districts and only 30 percent of the admissions was given on merit. Many qualified students from NorthEast were then denied admissions while Sinhala students from the South with lower results gained admission," the editorial said on why the quota system was introduced.

"The right to higher education of the Tamils was denied at a time when the Tamils were raising their voices for their right to live and for freedom, and this was a major factor leading the youth to take up arms," the edit said.

"As a result of the continuing war in the NorthEast, education suffered. Educational resources and opportunities were denied, there is acute shortage of teachers and displacements, poverty forced children to abstain from school. As a consequence most of the Tamil students gain entry through the district quota system," the edit said.

"Education officials have pointed out that the number of students selected on merit for university admissions from the NorthEast province has dropped to 11 to 12 percent. In this backdrop, the SriLanka Government's decision to do away with the present system of admission to the universities in one to two years, will deny capable Tamil students from entering Universities" the editorial said.

 

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