513 Brigade Renovates Mavankallady – Thelippalai Road

road

Sharamadana was organized by the 513 Brigade on 12th June to reconstruct the road running from Mavankallady to Thelippalai and clean either side. This community welfare project was organized to mark the Poson Full Moon day. Nearly 85 soldiers representing 2nd Sri Lanka Light Infantry, 11th Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment and 14th Gemunu Watch participated in the Shramadana. This 5 km road is used by hundreds of civilians in Kolankallady Grama Niladhari Division on daily routine. Showing solidarity to this worthy act by the Army, about 35 villagers contributed their labour to make the Shramadana a success. The Brigade offered meals to all who took part in the programme.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Corps of Military Police (SLCMP) attached to the Headquarters 51 Division held a workshop on road safety for students of Jaffna Central College at its auditorium recently. Officers of Jaffna Police delivered lectures during the workshop attended by 310 students and 7 teachers.

http://www.cimicjaffna.lk/Cimicnews_2014_06_15.php

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Educating, empowering and involving Youth

untitledText of a presentation at the World Conference on Youth – 8 May 2014

I am grateful to Aide et Action for this opportunity to speak to you, and even more grateful that they have engaged in a process of international consultation to highlight issues crucial for the well-being of youth. The document they have put together provides a clear and concise account of how the areas initially touched upon in the Colombo Declaration can be fleshed out meaningfully.

Underlying the suggestions are a few basic principles that need continuous emphasis. Inclusivity and involvement, information and awareness, empowerment and equal access, all require greater attention from governments.

To achieve this, I think it is necessary to pursue comprehensive reform with regard to mindsets. Reform is of course central to the agenda of Liberalism, which is the creed I uphold, but I think in this context we should also use another word, which has often been twinned with Liberalism.  I refer to the term Radicalism, which means essentially the idea of getting to the core of things and uprooting whatever is not conducive to progress. It is because Liberalism has often been misunderstood, and thought to stand for only free market policies, that in many areas Liberals associate themselves with Radicals, as in an institution of great energy and commitment, the International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth. This juxtaposition was sometimes necessary to emphasize the Liberal commitment to inclusive progress.

Liberals do indeed believe in free markets, but they also realize, unlike capitalists and conservatives, that markets are not free unless measures are in place to reduce inequalities, to enhance opportunities and to control power, whether it be political, economic, social or physical. The creation of a level playing field may be an impossible dream, but that does not reduce the imperative to pursue this.

This dream, this ideal, lies at the heart of the Colombo declaration, and the additions Aide et Action have suggested on the basis of their consultations in four continents and 16 countries. The details of the consultation make clear how AEA is well qualified to undertake such a task, given the remarkable work it has engaged in all over the world.

I have seen this system of aid in action in just two countries, India and Sri Lanka, but the confidence of their students, and the initiatives they undertake, make it clear that this is an organization that puts its principles into practice. It is for this reason that, over the last couple of years, I have used much of my decentralized budget to set up Vocational Training Centres in the North to be run by Aide et Action. I should add that I was keen that these be set up in schools, to emphasize the link between academic and vocational education, something that the consultations have stressed is necessary. I am happy to say that the initial snooty approach of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Education to Vocational Training is now changing – though not fast enough for my liking – and I received active cooperation from the authorities, both earlier and now, more recently, from the new Provincial administration.

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A Mobile Service at Dehiyattakandiya Conducted

E1M1-02-03-2014A mobile service of the Ministry of Road Development, EPC was conducted at Salika Salawa Hall at Dehiyattakandiya Divisional Secretariat area on 02.03.2014 under the Chairmanship of Hon. Minister of Road Development, EPC M.S.Uthumalabbe.

In this event, the problems faced by almost 250 peoples were identified through 20 societies functioning among 16 Grama Niladari Divisions and immediate attempts had been made to solve several problems.

Mr.M.I.Salawdeen, Mr.K.Pakkiyarajah, Planning Director, of Ministry of Road Development and other officers from Ministry of Road Development and from Divisional Secretariat Dehiyattakandiya have also been participated on this Mobile service.

E1M2-02-03-2014

http://www.ep.gov.lk/DetailsEventnew.asp?lan=0&eid=370

Tuition and other problems of Education – and not only in the North

jaffna 2 captionBy Darshana Sanjeewa

The Secretary to the Ministry of Education of the Northern Province convened a meeting of Zonal Directors in the Jaffna District along with other Education Ministry officials to discuss possible improvements to educational services in the North. The meeting was held on the initiative of the Governor following reports by Professor Rajiva Wijesinha MP, Advisor on Reconciliation  to HE the President on matters that had been brought to his attention at Divisional Secretariat Reconciliation meetings he has attended during this year throughout the Province.

In addition to particular problems of the North, the meeting provided space to discuss the current situation of Sri Lankan Education as the quality of the school education is remarkably going down. Students are continuously facing poor teaching and  supervision as well as constant complaints from parents  about the quality of the examination papers set by Zonal offices. The creators of the examination papers have not been able to maintain the quality and the  consistency of the examinations which impacts on  schools not being able to accurately  assess their students’ performance at the end of the term  which should occur during their tenure in the schools. In any case, pupils seem generally to have almost lost their trust on the school education and they rely heavily  on tuition classes. One of the officials noted that this reliance also arose from schools having to only have single sessions, whereas double sessions as was the case in the past would help to discourage the prevailing tuition culture

However the biggest issue schools face today, especially in rural areas, is schools don’t have  sufficient teachers to teach the compulsory subject required to get them through the important examinations such as English, Maths, Science. Though much had been done on an initiative of the Governor to appoint sufficient teachers, there were still problems in rural areas because of distribution problems, which could not be monitored carefully. Continue reading

The importance of Training, Operational Directives and Reporting

At both the informal consultations on implementation of the Human Rights Action Plan held at the Reconciliation Office, and the official meetings conducted at the Ministry of Plantation Industries by the Task Force of the Inter-Ministerial Committee, three factors have been stressed by many participants. The first is better training, not only for the police but also for public servants in general.

The Action Plan asserts the need for this in many places, talking not only about internal programmes but also about outside training. The institution it mentions most prominently in this regard is the Human Rights Commission, but it was also noted that agencies such as the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration, and universities that conduct courses in Public Policy and Management should incorporate Human Rights awareness in their programmes.

An important distinction was made however in the course of discussion, that training of officials should be not so much in awareness of human rights as in awareness of duties that ensured that human rights were protected. Whilst there is also need, and the Action Plan notes this, to educate the public about their Rights, with regard to those whose activities impact through a power relationship on others, the vital point is that they should function with sensitivity about the rights of those they affect.

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