Hundred thousand drop in Jaffna student population - GA
[TamilNet, Friday, 16 July 2004, 11:34 GMT]
Jaffna's student population has dwindled by more than a hundred thousand since 1995, Government Agent for the northern district said Friday, speaking at a meeting on development priorities in the peninsula. Educationists in Jaffna say prolonged war, poverty, displacement and garrisioning of entire towns and villages by Sri Lankan armed forces caused the huge drop in the peninsula's student population.
The District Development Committee meeting was chaired by Mr. Mavai Senathirajah, Tamil National Alliance MP for Jaffna.
Heads of government departments, senior officials and all Jaffna MPs except Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Mr. Suresh Premachandran and Mr. Douglas Devananda were present at the meeting. Head of the Thamil Eelam Administrative Service for Jaffna, Mr. S. Vijitharan, also attended.
During the discussion on the present state of education in the peninsula, the GA, Mr. Sellaiah Pathmanathan, observed that the Jaffna student population which was more than 240,000 in 1995 is now less than 140,000.
Director of the Road Development Authority for Jaffna, Mr. S. Seenivasan, said that Colombo does not allocate any money for road development or reconstruction in the peninsula but provides only 22.8 million annually for maintenance.
Dr. S. Sathurmugam, Director of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital told the meeting that many patients sleep on floor in the wards because there aren't enough beds in the hospital. He said the Intensive Care Unit is in urgent need of new building and the Children's wards have to be repaired.
Government officials in Jaffna say the deliberations of the District Development Committe may come to nought if allocations under decentralised budget for MPs are not released in a few weeks, before the fiscal year ends.