Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - METRO - TEXT & PICS BY REKA THARANGANI

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.

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