"North-east students educational needs ignored"

[TamilNet, Saturday, 06 March 1999, 22:59 GMT]
"We are unable to send text books, stationery, uniforms, furniture and equipment to about 100,000 of our children who are in Vanni. How can we have science practicals for G.C.E. A/L or other grade students without science equipment? Can we think of implementing reforms satisfactorily and reducing disparities and bringing about equality of opportunity under these conditions" said Mr.Sundaram Divakalala secretary to the North-eastern provincial Ministry of Education.

He was addressing the inauguration of the two day special Seminar on Education Reforms held today at Trincomalee's St.Mary's college auditorium.

Mr.Divakalala further said: "There were or are about 100,000 children who attend schools from refugee camps. Their normal schooling is affected. They grow accustomed to a camp culture which impacts on their development and has an undesirable influence on the other children who are with them. I appeal to the National Education Commission to consider how best we can apply the education reforms in the Vanni or what other reforms we can consider for the most unfortunate children of North-eastern province."

"We are keen to know what plans the National Education Commission (NEC) has for the North-east province.

We have done a survey of the problems affecting education in Vanni with the assistance of the Save the Children Fund; and this study has revealed that more than 10 percent of the children in the age group 5-15 have been handicapped by impaired hearing.

We would like to make a sincere appeal to the NEC, the Presidential Task Force and the central government Education Ministry to consider the plight of these children and their future and take meaningful action"

The special seminar was organised in Trincomalee by the central Education Ministry in conjunction with its provincial counter part following representations and criticism from Tamil educationalists and senior provincial education officials that the National Education Reforms proposed by the Sri Lankan government ignore the needs and problems of the school children in the North-eastern province.

During the seminar, several education officials from the Vanni posed questions to the senior central government officials who were present. The officials, however, said that they would consider the queries and reply at tomorrow's session, in view of the gravity of the questions.

This two day seminar was inaugurated by Professor Laksman Jayatilake the Chairman of the National Education Commission who is also the Director General of the National Institute of Education. Professor Lal Perera, additional Secretary to the central government Ministry of Education and Higher Education and several senior officials from the NEC and the central Ministry were also present on the occasion.


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