MANY SCHOOLS ON THE VERGE OF CLOSURE
This is not a suitable place for someone like me either but I am here to make sure that school property is maintained and not misused
Anumber of schools in Moratuwa are on the verge of closure with at least three including Saddarmodaya School where late Pundit Amaradeva studied, has been closed.
Addressing the monthly Moratuwa municipality meeting JVP Councillor Nishantha Ferdinando said a singular educational policy had to be followed, something none of the Ministers of Education of late had followed.
The concept of the “nearest school is the best school’ has turned into the concept of the nearest school shutting down due to the lack of facilities, shortage of teachers and parents now congregating near popular schools, the Councillor explained.
“At a time when Graduates stage protest demanding that they be employed, a school being understaffed is a tragedy,” he said.
The council member also said by now the Saddarmodaya College in Koralawella Moratuwa, where Pundit Amaradeva studied, Thilaka Vidyalaya and Laxapathiya Junior School had been closed.
Nishantha also proposed to establish vocational training centres at the schools that were shut down for school leavers.
When the Piliyandala Zonal Education Office was contacted for a comment, a representative stated that the main reason for the closure of the schools was the shortage of students. “There were not many who applied for admission to these schools. The main reason these schools are closing is because many students are gaining admission to popular schools,” the official said.
The officer concluded that they were unable to use the buildings of the schools that were closed, for any other purpose.
“These lands were acquired to establish schools and under the agreements that were signed with the original owners, we have to re-vested the lands to them if we are unable to fulfill the purpose of the acquisition. Accordingly, steps have been taken by the Moratuwa Divisional Secretary to return these lands to their original owners.”
The officer concluded that vocational training centres had already been set up for school leavers at numerous locations and that they were unable to follow through with the proposal made by the municipal councillor.
Speaking to (Ms.) Finela Mendis, principal of the Saddarmodaya School for the past three years, she stated that she was still present at the school despite its closure.
There were about 12 students and six teachers at the school, even though the official status of the school was that it was shut down. “However, the school has been closed under the instructions of the zonal office,” she said.
She said that the last student had left the school on April 26, 2016 and that she was playing the role of the watcher who is in charge of the buildings due to the fact that no solution has been given to her problem.
“This is not a suitable place for someone like me either but I am here to make sure that school property is maintained and not misused,” she said.
In the meantime, two class rooms have been given by Saddarmodaya school to the girls attached to Sebastian Girls’ College in Moratuwa as this school is under repairs these days.
When inquired from the Provincial Director of Education, P. Sirilal Nonis in this regard, he said that arrangements have been made to give a school to Finela Mendis in the month of January. According to him, the duties of a principal do not end with the closure of a school and she is engaged in handing over the documents and the equipment to Piliyandala Zone office. Such work had come to an end now according to him.