Student unrest leads to partial closure at two colleges

By Isuri Kaviratne

The English medium sections of both the Maharagama Teacher Training College and the Pasdunrata National College of Education in Kalutara South, were closed on Friday for an indefinite period, following the arrest early this week of four students of the Maharagama institution.

The arrests had resulted in a wave of unrest among the teacher-students at both training colleges.
The four persons in police custody were arrested at the Colombo Fort Railway Station when they were returning from the North on their way back to the Maharagama Teacher Training College.

Explaining the move, Education Ministry Secretary Nimal Bandara said: “There are teachers from Jaffna in the English sections of both colleges. Their security was a priority concern when we made this decision.”

Mr. Bandara said both sections would be re-opened when tensions subsided and matters were sorted out. The four arrested persons are second-year English-medium teacher-students at the Maharagama college.

Maradana Police Chief Inspector Amal Edirimanna said the four students were being held on suspicion of alleged links with the LTTE, based on information received by Army intelligence. “It was found that these students were living in uncleared areas in Vavuniya,” he said.

A teacher-student at the Maharagama Teacher Training College said he had heard that both colleges had received letters from the Education Ministry with a request that teacher-students in both colleges, except those in the English-medium sections, resumed classes as usual tomorrow. The English sections would remain closed indefinitely, he said.

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