Feature Article

Colombo-centric ‘development’ threatens Tamil as medium of instruction in North

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 September 2019, 22:29 GMT]
Jaffna Fisheries Societies Federation has expressed concerns over the looming danger of Sinhalicisation of Fisheries Education in the North. The Sinhalicisation is done through making English as the medium of instruction and populating the students from the South. The move should also be seen with the Sinhala colonisation of the jetties and ports in the Tamil homeland through the so-called mega-development schemes such as the recently started construction of the fishing port in Point Pedro and projects such as the “Enterprise Sri Lanka,” spearheaded by various ministries, departments and authorities of the occupying unitary state in Colombo, according to V. Thavachelvan, the president of Jaffna Fisheries Federation.

Mr Thavachelvan, who was also a former journalist, says that the news of English being chosen as the education medium at the proposed Fisheries Faculty of Jaffna University in Mullaiththeevu would only pave the way for Sinhalicisation of the fishing education in the North. If such projects were allowed to proceed without Tamil-centric reconfiguration, the district of Mullaiththeevu would become the new border village to the Tamil North, he warned.

The jetties and ports along the militarised coast of the Northern province are witnessing the demographic change, he said in an interview to TamilNet on Wednesday.

The so-called “Enterprise Sri Lanka” project of Mangala Samaraweera also promotes the same trend, he says.

Tamil fishers community in the North was taken for a ride with false promises in the so-called development projects by the regime of the unitary SL State in Colombo.

“We have met high ranking officials including ministers of the various ministries at least 12 times in recent years. Each time, they promised upliftment of the fishing communities in the North, but nothing was delivered as promised. Even the fishing jetty in Mayiliddi has become a jetty for Sinhala fishers, who operate Multi-Day Boats. We have witnessed the same trend also with ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ scheme. Our fishermen were supposed to receive loans to obtain Multi-Day Boats. However, no such credits or grants have been released so far as promised,” he said.

Thavachelvan was highly critical of the fishing port ‘development’ in Point-Pedro.

He was of the opinion that the medium of education of the Faculty of Fisheries must be Tamil.

In the meantime, Professor A.S. Soosai Anandan, a specialist in fisheries-geography and an expert of in-depth community experience, explained the background of the move for the Fisheries Faculty when contacted by TamilNet.

Prof Soosai also said the selected medium of education was English, but it was too early to predict how the ratio of Sinhala vs Tamil students in the proposed faculty.

The post-2009’ development’ within the education sector in the North has seen the Vavuniyaa campus being almost entirely Sinhalicised. The demographic pattern of students in Jaffna, particularly within the Science faculty, has changed to a large extent.

Even the education in A’riviyal-nakar (Knowledge city), a conceived as an educational suburb by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the de-facto administration of the Tamil state in the suburb of Ki’linochchi, has been Sinhalicised as the University of Jaffna established the Faculty of Engineering in 2013.

The ‘Sri Lanka’ German Training Institute (SLGTI) conceived during the regime of Rajapaksa in 2010 as a “vocational training project for the regions affected by the war,” also started to function there in 2014. Now, 80% of the students at the SLGTI are Sinhala students.

Various global powers, both state and non-state actors, have been backing the unitary state of genocidal ‘Sri Lanka’ to step up Sinhalicisation, Sinhala colonisation and a full-scale heritage genocide in the North-East, especially after 2015 regime-change in Colombo.

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