Tsunami-affected children learn under difficult conditions
COLOMBO: A research carried out by Save the Children in Sri Lanka,
focused on consultations with children in the South, East and North of
the country reveals that over 70 per cent of schoolchildren in
tsunami-affected areas continue to study under extremely difficult
Difficulties for many children include shortage of chairs, desks and
books; serious gaps in basic resources such as water and toilets;
shortages of teachers; and in many cases children are forced to study
under hot and noisy zinc-sheet roofs.
The first phase of the research, 'Children's Consultation on
Education' which was conducted in March-April 2006, consulted 1,447
schooling children and 50 non-schooling children in Southern, Northern
and Eastern Provinces.
Habaraduwa, Hambantota, Kalmunai, Karativu, Vadamarachchi and
Velvettithurai were the divisions selected for the survey based on the
fact that these divisions were worst affected by the Tsunami. The sample
included a total of 33 schools from all three provinces.
"We have to fight for chairs in the classroom since there are
insufficient number of chairs," a Grade 4 student said.
"Since there are only four water taps for nearly 1,500 students we
cannot drink water during the interval as first preference is given to
small children and when we are late for the next period the teachers
punish us," - a Grade 6 student said.