Assistance to IDP students
The move by the Government to provide all facilities
to students in the IDP centres to continue with their education
shows that it is keen to ensure as normal an environment as
could be obtained under the circumstances to prepare the
population to pick up their lives once they get back to their
familiar surroundings in the near future.
It was only last month that the Government provided all the
facilities to IDP students of the Jaffna university to attend
their lectures while make shift classrooms were also installed
to conduct lessons for others within the camp premises with
teachers and other instructors drawn from among the IDPs.
Now the Examination Department has made all arrangements to
assist student candidates of the upcoming AL examinations to sit
their exams by having seven examination Centres at an equal
number of IDP Centres in Vavuniya. The Examination Department
has taken all necessary steps to provide students with all their
requirements such as National ID cards for the exams. That is
not all, they are also to be provided with past papers to
familiarize themselves with the nature of the question papers.
In short they will be appropriately equipped to face the
examination in as normal an environment as could be possible.
Not only that, teachers at IDP Centres would also be called upon
to serve as invigilators at the exams. Some 900 students at IDP
Centres are due to sit the examination.
This hardly accords with the picture painted by certain
Western media which equated these IDP Centres to concentration
camps. To our knowledge jews in Hitler's concentration camps did
not have the luxury of sitting examinations. They were simply
gassed to death. It is hoped at least now these elements would
realize their folly and put the record straight. True, these
students may not have had the ideal environment to prepare for
the examinations while held as they were in the jaws of the LTTE.
But the Government it has to be conceded has gone to lengths to
ensure they are brought back onto familiar ground so they may
gradually pick up the pieces of their lives.
With the customary resourcefulness, enterprise and drive of
the Jaffna student, there is no doubt they would seize this
opportunity to claw their way back to the prominence they once
enjoyed in the academic sphere. Certainly with the Northern
Spring program earmarked to rebuild all damaged schools and
educational centres in the North opportunity beckons the
Northern student population that were denied to them for over
three decades. For nothing spurs on the Northerner than the
attainment of academic distinction.
This is also an ideal time for our education planners to
think of using the undoubted skills and expertise of the
academics of Jaffna who served in schools of the South in the
not too distant past. We should strive to coalesce with the
North in all sectors as much as possible to rekindle that past
when race and ethnicity did not figure in the equation. The
field of education is one such avenue where this rapport could
be effectively built to foster peace and harmony. This could be
augmented by programs of interaction in the field sports, arts
and culture. The Government must right now draw up a clear cut
plan to utilize all the human resources of the North that were
denied to us all these years. It is part of the fruits of
victory that was attained at great cost.
The defeat of terrorism has brought Sri Lanka many
dividends but none so important as business confidence as all
indications point to. In our Business pages yesterday we carried
a news item which stated that the LMD Nielsen Business
Confidence Index (BCI), Sri Lanka's only barometer of business
confidence, has made a quantum leap of 72 basis points which is
the highest jump on record. The LMD Magazine states "Business
people are euphoric about the LTTE's crushing military defeat at
the hands of Security Forces. The investment climate too had
taken a turn for the better", it adds.
Complementing this positive indicators the Sri Lanka's Port
too have recorded a 9.5 percent growth while at one of the top
ten Chinese Trade Fairs there was rousing response for Sri
Lankan products with 58 Lankan exhibitors who showcased the best
of Sri Lanka tea, gems jewellery and other items drawing keen
interest of buyers.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has all the reasons to be pleased
with the way things stand for he never allowed the country's
economy to suffer due to the war. Now it is time to seize on the
positive trend vis a vis Sri Lanka and draw up a master plan for
luring more and more investors with the North and East opening
up vast opportunities.
The end of the war no doubt is going to open up a plethora of
investment avenues and if the CPI index is anything to go by the
country would very soon have investors swarming here to grab the
opportunities. In the past it is no secret that foreigners gave
a wide berth to Sri Lanka in the wake bombs and explosions in
the capital city. With this threat no longer there, there is no
knowing the economic benefits that could accrue to the country.
Immediate plans should therefore be drawn up to get all sectors
active to prepare for a certain influx of foreign investors with
all signs of a boon time for Sri Lanka with the end of the war.