Feature Article
2ND LEAD (Correction)

Tamils discriminated in demarcation of education zones in Ampaa'rai district

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 April 2019, 21:25 GMT]
The Eastern Provincial Council passed a resolution almost thirty months ago approving creation of two new Education Zones in Ampaa'rai district. Now, the SL colonial Governor to the Eastern Province, MLAM Hizbullah is launching one of them, Poththuvil with predominantly Tamil-speaking Muslims. However, the other approved proposal of creating Kalmunai Central Education Zone by joining the Tamil schools from the zones of Kalmunai and Chammaan-thu'rai has not been implemented. In the meantime, a Sinhala Education Zone, Uhana has been separated from Ampara. Poththuvil is being separated from Akkaraip-pattu, which is also a Muslim majority zone. Tamil Education Directors in Ampaa'rai complain that the proposals of Tamils are being sidelined in the province.

The ethnic discrimination in the education sector has been an integral part of the protracted genocide against the nation of Eezham Tamils and it was one of the many factors that fuelled the Tamil youth to armed struggle in the past.

Now, the same discrimination is continued under the so-called ‘reconciliation’ tag in Ampaa'rai, the Tamil officials complained.

The proposals for modification of the education zones in Ampaa'rai were advanced by the former Provincial Education Minister S. Thandayuthapani in September 2016.

However, the Tamil politicians of the TNA collaborating with the SL regime, have failed to secure the implementation of Kalmunai Centre Zone.

There are 17 Education Zones in the Eastern Province. Of these, eight come inside the Ampaa'rai district. Batticaloa has three zones and Trincomalee five. With the latest additions, there will be ten zones in Ampaa'rai.

The current eight zones in the Ampaa'rai district are Ampara, Kalmunai, Chammaan-thu'rai, Mahaoya, Dehiattakandiya, Akkaraip-pattu, Paddiruppu and Thirukkoayil.

When Thirukkoayil was separated from Akkaraip-pattu as a new zone in the past, Poththuvil also came under Thirukkoayil. However, the Muslim politicians didn't allow Poththuvil to be administered from Thirukkoayil zone. As such, the schools in Poththuvil continued to be managed through Akkaraip-pattu.

Now, Poththuvil has been upgraded into a distinct zone.

Kalmunai has 22 schools for Tamils and 43 for Tamil-speaking Muslims. Chammaan-thu'rai has 25 Tamil schools and 52 for Tamil-speaking Muslims.

Tamil officials were not appointed to look after their educational interests in these two zones, and they started to demand the 22 schools in Kalmunai and 25 schools from Chammaan-thu'rai to be brought under a new zone named Kalmunai Central following the example of Batticaloa Central in the district of Batticaloa.

There are 1,110 schools in the province according to the data released by the Statistics Branch of the SL Education Ministry in June 2018. The figures were based on 2017 Sensus.

One thousand fifty-two of these schools are monolingual, and 789 are classified as Tamil-medium schools used by Tamil-speaking Muslims and Tamils. Sinhala-medium schools in the province count up to 263.

The remaining 58 are bilingual: 47 Tamil and English, 6 Sinhala & English and 5 Tamil & Sinhala medium schools. There are no trilingual government schools in the province.

Among the 394,734 students, 309,111 are Tamil-medium students, 81,544 are Sinhala students and 4,079 English medium students in the province.

The Eastern province has 21,810 teachers. Among them, 7,631 are graduates while 13,843 are trained teachers. The province has the lowest (below 40%) percentage of graduate teachers among all the provinces in the island.

With an overall ratio of 18 students per teacher, the province has 29 students per graduate teachers, which is below the island-wide average of 32.

The ratio of students per trained teachers stands at 52, which is the highest in the island.



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