2ND LEAD

Killed students, participants of leadership workshop - Ilankumaran

[TamilNet, Monday, 14 August 2006, 22:33 GMT]
The Director of Tamileelam Educational Board, V. Ilankumaran, in an interview to TamilNet Monday said that the schoolgirls killed and injured in Monday's Kfir attack were participants in a 10-day residential "Leadership, Self-Awareness and First Aid workshop." More than 400 G.C.E. A/L students from 18 different schools in Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu, and Oddusuddan Educational Zones, and selected girls from other educational organisations took part in the annual programme, Mr. Ilankumaran said. According to the timetable of the course, 7:00 a.m. on Monday, the time the air-strike took place, was the time of morning-assembly.

Mr.Ilankumaran.
The workshop aimed at building self-confidence ended in tragic destruction when SLAF bombers hit the orphanage-campus, Sencholai.

"This annual program, started on 11th August and scheduled to end on 20th, was initiated by the zonal department of Education, Kilinochchi and funded and supported by Centre for Women's Rehabilitation and Development (CWRD)," Ilankumaran further said.

"The workshop aimed at developing student leaders by building self confidence through understanding self, building inter-personal relationship, knowing leadership qualities, effective time management, helping self and others by learning first aid, and learning principles of gender equality," said V.Ilankumaran.

The residential workshop was held with public knowledge, and parents were visiting the girls regularly, Ilankumaran added.

"Today's terrible pre-meditated attack on the helpless schoolgirls is an attack not only to destroy educational opportunities for the deprived Tamil students. but also an attack on the student community at large," he said.

"Successive Sinhala governments have denied the right to equal educational opportunity to the Tamil community. Our tortuous history bears testimony to the Sinhala approach to Tamil demand for equlity: Sinhala extreme nationalist agenda attacked us whenever and wherever it had the opportunity," said V.Ilankumaran.

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