Navy ushers hope for rural children

April 24, 2021

Navy ushers hope for rural children

By Dishan Joseph

Education is a right of every child. Students everywhere must have the right atmosphere conducive for learning. Unfortunately some rural schools face various challenges. Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Navy, a Naval Social Responsibility (NSR) project, under the guidance and direction of Navy Commander Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, was launched within the Western, Eastern, North Central, North Western, South Eastern, Southern and Northern Naval Commands on April 19, 2021.

This project was launched with the aim of developing several selected schools with fewer facilities across the island during this year, and creating a more favourable environment for the children, as well as teachers. One of the turning points in the success of this timely project is the voluntary contributions made by all officers and sailors from their monthly salaries, covering the entire cost of this NSR project. Meanwhile, the Navy will also make its skilled manpower available for the construction work.

The future of a country is not optimistic where literacy absent. Education has a decisive impact on personal development and the well-being of society. Education opens the door to equal opportunities, minimises social inequality and lays the foundation for sustainable development in any society. Education can empower these rural students. The Sri Lanka Navy has supported various development projects of the Government, to help achieve its National Policy Framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’, by contributing the Navy’s skilled manpower and other resources. The number of students studying in certain underprivileged schools and the teachers’ cadre for them were not at a satisfactory level. It is also unfortunate that some teachers do not receive appointments for such schools due to lack of facilities. Some schools have a minimum level of basic necessities for children, such as tables, chairs, buildings, and some students were observed learning in makeshift classrooms shaded by tin and cadjan roofs. In such an environment, electricity, telephone, library and water are luxury facilities for interior village schools.

Against such a backdrop, on a concept by the Navy Commander, the Sri Lanka Navy embarked on an NSR mission to find underprivileged schools where essential facilities should be urgently developed.

The role played by the Sri Lanka Navy, as the first line of defence of the island nation, is praiseworthy. It must be acknowledged that the Navy is a pioneer in social service, whenever the citizens are in distress. Further, it is a noble social mission to support the education of children living in underprivileged villages who are striving to climb up the social ladder. Accordingly, a financial allocation of Rs. 4.5 million was made available to each Naval Command to develop eight underprivileged schools, selected by seven Naval Commands.

When selecting schools for this project, after a systematic study covering seven naval commands, eight schools with minimal facilities were chosen. Kelinkanda Primary School of Agalawatta in the Kalutara District in the Western Naval Command is an underprivileged school. The dilapidated buildings, roofs and defunct plumbing system are evidence to the lack of facilities of the school. It is planned to renovate four new classroom buildings, plumbing and toilet facilities and construct a children’s playground for this primary school. Pansalgodella Primary School in the Kantale area in the Trincomalee District has been identified by the Eastern Naval Command of the Navy. Accordingly, the half-completed classroom building and the library building of the school are scheduled to be completed by the Navy.

Under this project, the North Central Naval Command selected Mohan Jayamaha Vidyalaya, Dambulla, named after the late Rear Admiral Mohan Jayamaha, who sacrificed his life in the defence of Sri Lanka. Incidentally, delivery of new books to the school library, renovation of classrooms, improvement of toilet facilities, building of a safety fence around the school and construction of a basketball court would also come under this development project.

Eluwankulama Sinhala Vidyalaya in the Puttalam District is a school located in the North Western Naval Command. Although there are 245 students studying up to the Ordinary Level class in this school, it is unfortunate that the children face some difficulties. The new classroom building and laboratory building to be constructed by the Navy for this school will create a conducive environment for students to study. The dilapidated buildings of Hulannuge Vidyalaya in Ampara of the South East Naval Command have an impact on the education of the children studying in this school. The children are well aware of how difficult it is to learn when rainwater is pouring through the dilapidated roof and there are not enough desks and chairs to keep their books. The Navy undertaking the repairs of dilapidated buildings of the school and the small auditorium, laboratory and computer laboratory of the same is a great support.

The Southern Naval Command is to develop Weeriyagama Maha Vidyalaya in Sooriyawewa and Ethbatuwa Junior School in Hungama in the Hambantota District. Ethbatuwa Junior School in Hungama is a place where children could study up to the Ordinary Level in the area, amidst difficulties. Weeriyagama Maha Vidyalaya is a school where the children of the area can study up to the Advanced Level. However, due to the lack of adequate classroom facilities, children are having a hard time getting a good education. The Navy is to construct two classroom buildings in these schools with enough space.

Further, the Navy Commander, on April 3, made a visit to inspect Roman Catholic College on remote Mandaitivu Island, Jaffna, which has been selected for development in the Northern Naval Command. During this visit, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ulugetenne was welcomed by the Parish Priest of Catholic Church located on Mandaitivu Island, Principal of the college, teachers and students. The project aims at constructing a two-storied building for the library and computer laboratory, which are two dire needs of the school. All these naval projects will uplift these rural students and offer them a better future.

Courtesy - www.dailynews.lk