ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 13

GCE princes reaches out to Bibile’s poor

By Isuri Kaviratne, Pix by Berty Mendis.

Students of a remote Bibile school which had the lowest number of G.C.E. O/L passes last year were in Colombo this week to attend a coaching programme initiated by teachers of the Devi Balika Vidyalaya in Colombo to prepare the students for this year’s December exams. Nineteen students of Thambana Vidyalaya in Bibile attended the programme.

Devi Balika Vidyalaya principal Sandya Renuka Malalasekara told the Sunday Times it was only after they visited the Thambana Vidyalaya to learn of conditions there that they realised there was a shortage of teachers with six government teachers and one volunteer teacher for 150 students. “They had no mathematics or science teachers for the O/L students”, she said. This project where the students from schools with meagre facilities were being coached was conducted by a special unit called the Public Serving Unit set up in the school to address lack of social responsibility.3

Some of the students from Thambana Vidyalaya.

“We also implemented this programme at two schools chosen from war-torn areas. The objective of this programme is to raise the educational standards of those schools thereby helping more students to pass the GCE O/L exam. We also provide help to these schools to improve its logistics, infrastructure, stationery, and school uniforms. The two-week long project to coach the Thambana Vidyalaya students is being worked out with the dedication and the commitment of the teachers helping to make the project a success. The prefects too helped a lot even amid their own tuition classes and their personal studies. They spent time during the vacation to assist us with the project”, the principal said.

She said the Sri Lanka Institute of Management and the Eksath Suhada Sahajeewana Subhasadhaka Society provided financial assistance in conducting the programme.“We hope to hold a similar coaching project for these students in November. The teachers have also agreed to teach after school hours”, the principal said adding that the teachers of Devi Balika were highly devoted to their school work with even the non-academic staff contributing their mite to help out”, she said.

Ruby Komasaru, a science teacher took time off from her teaching duties to tell the Sunday Times, that with their help they hoped to assist the students achieve their goal of passing the GCE O/L exam in December.“Some students find it difficult to take down the notes we give them and as such we need to work very slowly with them. At this rate it might take about two years to complete the syllabus. But, there are some good students as well”, she said.

Sujeewa Damayanthi a student from Thambana Vidyalaya thanked Devi Balika Vidyalaya for helping them in their studies. “Our teachers are unable to cope with the work at school. We appreciate the dedication and commitment of Devi Balika Vidyalaya teachers,” she said. Sujeewa said their school in Bibile had very few facilities if at all.

“We have water and electricity but other than that, no laboratory or library and sadly though some students can’t even write their names in Sinhala,” she lamented. “Our parents work as farmers and most of their time is spent on the fields trying to earn a living. We help them whenever we have some spare time,” Sujeewa said explaining why most of them were backward in their studies. Sunethra Ganepola, the teacher-in-charge of the Public Serving Unit, said the negligence of the educational officers in the Thambana area was the main reason for the sad state of affairs in this school.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.