Mixed reactions on reopening schools next Monday

Mixed reactions on reopening schools next Monday

Written by Staff Writer

03 May, 2019 | 9:11 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says that all schools will reopen on Monday, the 6th of May.

However, are all parties prepared to do so?

Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam noted that the decision to re-open schools was taken following discussions with the security council, the president, prime minister and the cabinet of ministers.

However, a letter issued on May 2nd by the Archbishop of Colombo, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith reveals that based on information received, and considering the prevailing security condition in the country, it was decided to cancel Sunday masses and other prayer services until further notice.

Minister Kariyawasam speaking regarding this letter noted that the Archbishop of Colombo spoke to him regarding Christian schools.

The minister added that these schools will reopen according to the instructions of the ministry of education, therefore, as a government, they hope to reopen all schools on May 6th.

Sri Lanka Army Brigadier Randula Hathnagoda noted that by May 5th, they can reach their required target and after schools reopen, they will continue to provide security to schools, students, and everyone else with foot and mobile patrols.

According to the ministry of education, search operations in schools and other surrounding areas, have already commenced.

General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Service Union Mahinda Jayasinghe noted that the ministry of education has acted in a manner that transfers the responsibility of protecting the 4.5 million children in our country to principals, teachers and past pupils.

He said the 3rd sentence in this circular states that if security committees have been appointed in consultation with the police stations in the area, their support must be obtained and apart from that, nowhere is it stated, that with the support of the security forces, the security of schools will be guaranteed.

Jayasinghe urged the relevant authorities including the minister of education, to commence schools after obtaining a guarantee from the security forces. He added that the principals, teachers, parents or past pupils do not have any knowledge to identify explosives or suicide bombers.

Meanwhile, this is what the Police Media Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunesekara had to say in this regard;

“With the support of the tri-forces, we have already taken measures to provide heavy security to schools. Police headquarters has already issued special instructions to every police station. Apart from the security we provide, we have informed all OIC’s to visit the schools, and discuss and prepare an additional security program.”

Politicians React

UPFA MP Roshan Ranasinghe noted that schools should not be reopened unless an islandwide search is carried out by at least closing down schools for three months. He added that so far they have not even inspected 10% of the island.

UPFA MP Indika Anuruddha questioned if they are the leaders of a political party who have children, the leaders who care for the future of Sri Lanka? He requested them to visit Katuwapitiya and Kochchikade and witness the lives of fear of the locals. He added that the Archbishop of Colombo is yet to express his confidence with regard to the security condition in the country.

Expressing his views regarding the matter Venerable Magalkande Sudaththa Thero said they are ashamed of some of the statements made by the minister. He noted that at one point he even stated that if an explosion takes place and children sustain injuries, they have an insurance cover of Rupees One hundred thousand.

The Thero noted that they wonder why the minister fails to see children as an asset of Sri Lanka. The Thero pointed out that there are 225 MPs in parliament and 20 to 30 security officers have been assigned to protect one individual, however, only one security officer has been assigned to protect a school with thousands of children.


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