Written by Staff Writer
11 May, 2019 | 9:06 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): Although schools reopened for students from Grade 6 and above last Monday (May 6) only 10% of the total students attended school over the week. Many individuals voiced their displeasure concerning the reopening of schools in the face of the prevailing situation.
As per a statement released by the Ministry of Education, the second term for students from grade 1 to 5 is due to begin next Monday (May 13). However, a decision is yet to be taken regarding the date of the reopening of Catholic schools. Archbishop of Colombo, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said that they hope to reopen the Catholic schools on the 14th of May and that the decision will be taken based on the assessment made on the prevailing situation. He continued to say that if the situation is not favourable that the schools will only be reopened after Vesak because they cannot afford to let harm come in the way of the children.
Against such a backdrop, schools will be reopening for all grades this Monday (May 13). The People’s Movement to Protect Schools convened a media briefing to discuss the situation.
Vice President of the People’s Movement to Protect Schools, Dhammika Alahapperuma questioned how the government could request the parents to send their children to school in a situation where islandwide operations are being conducted to take weapons into custody. He continued to say that the children and relatives of high ranking individuals who study in leading schools have not attended school. He noted that the Defence College to which the children of the security forces attend has also a similar low attendance. Alahapperuma urged that citing all these situations that the leaders of the country should take responsibility and prove to the people that the security of the country is ensured adding that they should do this in their own lives to make people believe in them.
Meanwhile, the opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the intelligence units have informed the security forces of an attack which is expected to happen on the 13th. He continued to say that the government should consider if it is fair to send 4 million children; the future of the country onto the roads. Rajapaksa also said that regardless the schools cannot be kept closed forever and that assuring the country’s security should be made by the security forces and not the politicians. He added that although they’ve been provided with bulletproof vehicles that the children are not as safe as they are not bulletproof.
Meanwhile, the State Minister of City Planning & Water Supply, Lucky Jayawardana noted that in situations like this that they cannot expect to keep the schools closed forever and that they believe that regardless of the low attendance at present that they could expect a higher attendance when school reopens for the other grades as well.
UPFA MP Janaka Wakkumbura commenting on the matter said that when he had asked a parent what they will do if confronted with a person wearing a suicide vest, the parent has responded that he will scream and run. He continued to say that both of his children had not attended school today adding that even though the Education Minister speaks of sending children to the school that neither did his children attend school. He added that just because his child is small that schools were not opened for Grades 1-5.
However, defence secretary General Shantha Kottegoda assures that most of the individuals involved in terrorist activities have been taken under custody and that search operations are yet underway to arrest more suspects involved in destructive activities with explosives and weapons. He continued to say that the security forces and the police will not rest until they completely uproot terrorism and ensure the security of the general public. The defence secretary urged the general public to trust security forces and continue with their day to day tasks adding that security has also been provided to all schools and places of worship.
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