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Last modified on: 8/18/2013 9:31:13 AM Jaffna Central College gets ready for new chapter in education

Jaffna Central College gets ready for new chapter in education

Many schools in the Northern Sri Lanka were destroyed due to the three-decade-old war against terrorism not only affecting billions of rupees worth of infrastructure but also shattering the priceless dreams of thousands of children who were to benefit from free education.

Jaffna Central College is the second oldest school in the country that became and suffered from the devastating war on terrorism that shadowed the province for many years. Founded in 1817 under British Methodist missionaries, Jaffna Central College held a reputation of being one of the prestigious Tamil and English medium national schools in the country in the history. Celebrating its bicentennial anniversary in 2017 the school is slowly raising its head back from the rubble of a dark period.

Having been closed for almost five years, the school was reopened in 2010 following the elimination of the LTTE. Being the oldest school in the Jaffna peninsula,the reconstruction process is still under way to regain its past glory and render a better service to students once again.

The Principal of Jaffna Central College, S K Eliventhan emphasising the importance of the school said that the reconstruction of damaged buildings was being done at a steady pace with financial assistance from the Government.

Many school buildings were damaged throughout the years due to the attacks and many parts had to be renovated including the reconstruction of some establishments that had been flattened.

The present Principal took over duties at the College in 2011 after a transfer from Matale and had straight away taken to development work in the midst of the day- to- day administerial duties. The school was extensively damaged and a prefect was also killed in the terrorist attacks, he said.

The school accommodates classes only for boys from grade one to the Advance Level and over 1,900 pupils attend the school. The staff comprises 130 teachers.

With the reopening of the school, the attendance level also grew by significant numbers. Majority of the students come from the fisheries background where parents are engaged in fishing for a living. Now the mindset of parents have immensely improved to send their children to school every day.

The bond between parents and teachers have also developed to a level that they would not hesitate to come forward when a need arises regarding the school, Eliventhan said.

Education has been restored to normalcy with all subjects taught according to the Government syllabus in Tamil and English media. The supply of text books is also at a satisfactory level and students are sufficiently equipped with stationery. According to the Principal, the burning issue at the moment is the lack of buildings for additional classes and units. The school still needs several more buildings to accommodate the growing number of students each year. Relevant parties have been informed of this already. Most importantly to house hostel students, these new buildings are essential, he said. Special units like the Technological Studies Unit which had been introduced under a presidential concept is yet to be set up in the College. The playground and other sports areas have been restored where routine sports events take place including the oldest annual cricket big match in Jaffna with St. John's College. Sports such as basketball and football are also popular amongst students where they are being trained for national level sports.

The swimming pool which was funded by MP Namal Rajapaksa was ceremoniously opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently.


With the approval of the Methodist's British Conference in 1813 to establish mission in Ceylon a party arrived in the country in 1814 where missionaries Lynch and Squance were sent to Jaffna in the North.

The mission bought a former orphanage from the government in 1816 and started the Wesleyan English School in 1817. The school started in the orphanage situated opposite the esplanade in the Jaffna town was later moved to Vembadi area in 1825. It was renamed in 1934 as Jaffna Central College.

In 1945 the school started providing free education and like most private schools in the country it was taken over by the government in 1960. In 1994 the college was named a national school. In 2005 then Principal Kanapathy Rajadurai was shot dead by the LTTE and the school was shut for studies afterwards.

Courtesy : Sunday Observer

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