[lg policy] Sri Lanka: Thera calls for proper implementation of language policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 25 14:18:22 UTC 2010

Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission:
Thera calls for proper implementation of language policy

Chaminda PERERA

Sri Jayawardenapura University Chancellor and Bellanwila Rajamaha
Viharaya Chief Incumbent Prof Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera yesterday
said that Tamil people feel that they have been marginalized by the
way the language policy is being implemented in the country. “We
should accept that the Tamil people are unable to work in their own
language though Tamil language has been recognized as a State language
in the country,” the Thera added.

The Thera was giving evidence before the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission on behalf of the Religious Congregation of
which he is the President when it met at the Lakshman Kadirgamar
Centre. He said the Tamil people should be able to do their
transaction in their own language. The Thera said the implementation
of language policy in a proper manner would instill an idea among the
minority communities that they are equally treated by the Government.

The Thera said that North and the East issue is not an ethnic
conflict. He attributed the North and the East issue to a problem that
arose from the longstanding shortcomings and negligence existed in the
administrative and judiciary systems of the country.
Prof Wimalarathana Thera said this problem can only be solved by
political solution. A large number of people died due to hasty
decisions by politicians. He said there should be a viable political
solution to this problem and it should instill an idea among the
people of all communities that Sri Lanka is their motherland.

He said they know what the people want and what they do not. The Thera
said the Religious Congregation is ready to play a proactive role in
enhancing reconciliation among the communities.When he was inquired
about the Standardization policy adopted by the Government led by
former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike in the 1970s, the Thera
said that it was done in good faith though there were shortcomings in
its implementation.

The number of Tamil students who could enter the university decreased
with the implementation of this policy but it was not done
deliberately,” the Thera said. He added that some schools in the
Jaffna district maintained higher standard of education. He emphasized
that it was not an issue of such magnitude to demand for a separate
State in the country. He was of the view that the issues related to
Standardization policy in the 1970s could have been solved by the
Tamil legislators in Parliament at that time. Prof Wimalarathana Thera
added that the Sansoni Commission later upheld that Tamil students
faced injustice due to Standardization policy of the then Government.

Commission Chairman C.R. de Silva said A/L science students had to do
practical exercises in laboratories those days and each school was not
provided with laboratory facilities. Prof Wimalarathana Thera said the
Standardization policy of the then Government has been replaced with Z
score system and all facilities should be provided to each and every
school of the country to quell the gap between the have and have nots.

The Commission Chairman added that a student who lives in Kadawatha
which is few miles away from Colombo comes under Gampaha district
while another student living in Avissawella which is close to the
Ratnapura district also belongs to Colombo district. He inquired the
Thera whether the district wise marks system is fair. The Thera said
the Government should give serious attention on the demarcation of
districts by the British rulers. He opined that the colonial rulers
demarcated the district for their convenience and the country should
reconsider weather that division is useful.

The Thera said religious dignitaries in the village know the
requirements of the people very well and they should be consulted
before the development projects are implemented in the village.


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