Feature Article

Militarisation of pre-schools akin to child soldiering: NPC Education Minister

[TamilNet, Sunday, 08 April 2018, 23:28 GMT]
The militarisation of pre-schools is a form of child soldiering, Northern Provincial Council Minister of Education K. Sarwesvaran told TamilNet in an interview this week. Out of 12 educational zones coming under the NPC, there are SL army run pre-schools in 6 zones. There are 294 schools with 553 teachers and 6,020 children. Sarwesvaran has once again demanded Colombo government to hand over the administration of the SL military-run preschools in Vanni to the civil administration under the NPC. The NPC Education Minister characterised the military operation of pre-schools as a serious crime on the part of the SL Defence Ministry and the SL Government. They are upbringing the [Tamil] children under their [Sinhala] military culture, discipline, philosophy and thoughts, he said.



The SL Government should release all the children, teachers and the funds to the NPC and bring this into civil operation, Sarwesvaran said.

“The Army has forcibly taken the small children under their custody, control, guidance, teaching and discipline. This is a coward action of a child soldier system,” Sarwesvaran said.

The Sri Lankan government cannot have the courage or guts to complain about child soldiers anywhere in the world, he said underlining that he does not agree with the concept of child soldiering.

“First, you have to correct yourself. Take the military completely out of civilian life.”

The military-run preschools have the same character as that of the military. The children have to wear a uniform, and every morning they have to salute the so-called national flag and sing the so-called national anthem.

“This is like living in a different world.”

The SL State and its military want to isolate the children and create another society, Sarwesvaran said.

The same [psyops] attitude is also witnessed in the cases where the SL military is occupying the playgrounds of several schools and trying to play with the students. Engineering of forcible rapport with the Tamil children using the education system is condemnable, he said.

“This is not acceptable to the people or the students. For the Tamils, the armed forces are a genocidal force. For the last many decades, they killed hundreds of thousands of people. They bombarded the people. They destroyed the entire North and East. This is what the people have in their minds. Instead of solving the problem, the government is trying a short-cut way for so-called reconciliation.

For a real reconciliation, you need to tie the bulls in front of the cart, not behind. The SL Government should address the concerns of the Tamil people first if it is serious about reconciliation, he said.

“This is an irritating way of so-called reconciliation.”

Usually, if you look at the classrooms in many of the primary schools in the North, the number of children there varies between 10 and 15. But, when you look at the figure of children who have to undergo pre-schooling run by the SL military, this is a significant number, Mr Sarwesvaran said.


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