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15000 N.E kids study under trees

[Lakbima News, Sunday, 8 August 2010 08:04 No Comment]

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Fifteen thousand school children in the North and East are compelled to study under trees since schools have been converted into IDP and transit camps and detention centres, while the government spends millions on military bases, education department sources said. The situation is grave in Vavuniya, Omanthai, Maithadi and Kilinochchi where the majority of schools function in temporary shelters with minimal facilities.

“Omanthai Maha Vidyalayam is used as a transit camp for people who are returning to their villages from IDP camps. Although a year has passed after the civil war ended, no steps have been taken by the government to either build new shelters for IDPs, or to rebuild schools in another location,” said an education ministry official.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of Sri Lanka Teacher Services Union (SLTSU) Mahinda Jayasinghe told LAKBIMAnEWS that there is also a massive dearth of teachers in the North and the East, which is having a negative impact on education. This shortage mainly affects subjects such as English where the education authorities are dependant on pensioners who have been re-enlisted on contract basis.

“Not only are thousands of students continuing their education without buildings, water or sanitary facilities, these schools also need hundreds of teachers,” Jayasinghe said. “A lot of teachers who worked in these schools have either left for Colombo or have left the island. Even 14 months after the end of the war the government has not appointed Tamil medium teachers to these areas.”

Jayasinghe added that there are over 500 Tamil medium teachers in the 2010 batch at teacher training centres in the island, but none of them have been given appointments because of the lack of funds.

“Each year around 3000 trained teachers are given appointments around this time of the year, but this time that is not the case. Appointment letters are not given since no funds have been allocated in the 2010 budget. This means that thousands of Tamil youth will sit for O/L and A/L exams partially ready.”

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