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UNICEF urged to explore direct assistance to IDP education

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 October 2009 08:21 No Comment]

UNICEF has recently announced an emergency programme to assist Colombo’s Ministry of Education implementing Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) to an estimated number of 85,000 IDP children. According to a UNICEF advertisement, seeking experts to work with Colombo’s ministry, the programme will begin from January 2010 and 2000 teachers are to be trained for this purpose. Over the years the so-called national education in the island has been thoroughly Sinhalicised with scheming perfection, so that education of Tamils is now completely ‘directed’ by Sinhalese from concept and management to curriculum and textbooks. The ‘core curriculum’ in the mind of Colombo is structural and cultural genocide, commented academic circles in the island, adding that the UN agency should explore ways of handing over the education of Tamils to Tamils.

The simmering anger of Tamils at the attitude of certain powers and international agencies is essentially on the point that they don’t attend to the core issue of political solution, but continue to contribute to the subjugation of Tamils directly and indirectly in all what they do. They have every justification to directly intervene now in setting the equations right but who is sitting on it is the question.

The justification for ALP is that majority of the students in the camps have lost approximately 2 years of education and as students are placed in schools in the island according to age, the IDP children are likely to be affected in competency.

The ALP Programme is to cover the missing years in a short time by covering core subjects and key competencies through a condensed syllabus so that the students will fit into the ‘national curriculum’ and ‘mainstream’ education, the UNICEF advertisement says.

In this programme, three school years will be covered in two, and most of the students are likely to spend 8-16 months in ALP but others may need several years.

The programme will enable students to make up for the education they have lost out on, and which will lead to the ‘eventual reintegration of these students into the government’s mainstream education system’ at one of five key entry points, according to the plans of Colombo’s ministry.

The five entry points range from primary to secondary up to Grade 9. ALP will not cover GCE O/L and A/L.

The ALP in Sri Lanka should not be seen as a permanent system of education or a parallel system, but a response to a specific situation, the UNICEF advertisement calling for 8 consultancy positions says.

The consultants will work with National Institute of Education (NIE) and Zonal Education Officers. The NIE is the main organ of Colombo’s Sinhalicisation of education.

All Tamil textbooks are nowadays written originally in Sinhala and are poorly translated into Tamil, leading to the gradual deterioration of style and quality of Tamil language, which were once the pride of Eezham Tamils.

One of the direct reasons for the rise of Tamil militancy in the 1970s was the discrimination in education.

The de facto governance of liberation fighters over the decades paid much attention in checking the educational onslaught of Colombo with the help of alternative or supplementary textbooks.

The real aim of Colombo now through education programmes is manifold: nullification of Eezham Tamil nationalism, re-orientation of the youth and their subjugation through Sinhala educational monopoly, cultural genocide by the material used especially in social sciences and keeping the Vanni children separately under watch for years.

In a way, if the suspected LTTE youth are going to be kept in prisons, the other youth are going to be in another kind of ‘reformatory schools.’

The totalitarianism of the Sri Lankan state, especially when coupled with ethnic chauvinism, is going to look at Tamil youth for years to come as ‘war criminals’ needing ‘reformation.’

Eezham Tamils have been living with colonialism of education for over 400 years but what they face now is a new one – a genocidal colonialism.

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