Vidura College: Parents, Students And Readers Respond
Let me thank you first for writing an important article about Vidura College. I am one of the parents of Vidura and face serious problems for my daughters education. My daughter studies in grade ten and she will sit for the GCE OL examination in 2012. I would request you to write another feature article on Vidura considering the following:
The college provides an excellent education only up to grade five.
The biggest problem which is a lack of qualified teachers begins at grade six up wards.
As you are aware, finding qualified English medium teachers is tricky and it is a national problem nowadays. Therefore there is high demands for qualified English medium teachers from private International schools. As a result, because Vidura College is not a good pay master, it fails to keep good teachers for a long time. They used to recruit school leavers who can communicate in English at very low salaries but unfortunately they do not have teaching experience/methods and no knowledge of the subject.
The principal and the Board of Directors of Vidura college (so-called educationalists) do not address this issue as they know that there is a big demand for the school. The school is experimenting with the childrens future. If a parent makes a complaint about the education system or about teachers of the school, the principal simply asks the parent to take the child out of the school and go. This is a very pathetic situation given we have made a commitment on our kids education.
On the other hand Vidura is not an expensive private school when it compares with other private schools. They do not collect money unnecessarily for various functions such as prize givings, sports meets and various functions etc. And also communication skills of students are comparatively high at the college. Those are the plus factors of the college.
As parents our main concerns are education and discipline of our children, It is sad to say that the quality of education is going bad to worse at the Vidura college. We would therefore insist that the principal address this issue without any delay and make corrective measures with immediate effect. Otherwise we will be compelled to take this matter up in some other way.
I would like to appreciate your article about Vidura College, because it is a timely important issue and the situation that you exposed is not only for Vidura but most other private schools in Sri Lanka. I really encourage you to write on this matter.
Department of Earth Resources Engineering
University of Moratuwa
Your article: “Vidura college; Parents lobby ministry to take over school” which appeared on The Sunday Leader was an eye opener. I, as a disappointed parent would like to thank you and the paper for creating awareness about the issues mentioned in the article as parents find it difficult to openly express ideas because there had been couple of incidents where the children of the parents who openly express ideas had been victimized by the school authorities.
If you carefully read the article and the principal’s response ,the principal has not given answers to the questions/issues mentioned in the article. There are several other issues that are in interest to you and the general public.
This school was charging two percent of the fees as NBT (Nation Building Tax) from the parents. According to the law of the country no organization can charge that tax from the customer. NBT has to be paid by the organization. Vidura has been charging this two percent from the parents for many years. According to what I know the inland revenue has instructed the college not to charge that in future and to refund the collected money back to the parents. But up to now the college has not refunded the money. This is violating the orders of the government which I believe is a punishable offence.
The government has exempted all types of educational institutes from VAT. The objective of this is to create a more intelligent and skilled nation, not to make few educational institute owners rich. But Vidura has not done it. They continue to collect the VAT . The under mentioned is the way it appears in receipts.
Earlier Receipts when the VAT was applicable.
Term fees 16,000.00
Vat (12%) 1,920.00
NBT (2% 320.00
Total Rs. 18,240
Present receipts when the Vat is Exempted
Term Fees (inclusive of all statutory levies) Rs. 18,240
So, there is no difference in what the parents pay and the government’s indented benefits were not passed down to the parents. This is clearly cheating the parents. Isn’t this a violation of law?
After doing all this at least do they treat the teacher (The most important character in the scenario) well? No it is not so. The teacher turnover is very high and this makes things very bad for the students. Majority of these teacher who leave are joining other schools and I got the opportunity of talking to a few teacher before they left. They said they left mainly because of the poor salaries. The salaries of some teachers are in the range of Rs. 10,000. This is degrading the profession.
The next point may be personal but it has an impact on the schools. D.G. Sumanasekara’s elder son (Sarada Sumanasekara) was the finance Director of collapsed Golden Key and was in remand custody for several months. D.G. Sumanasekera’s second son is the one who is in charge of finance in the schools. The deterioration started after this second son started functioning as the head of finance on the school. So, it appears the second son is also in to manipulation of finances. Can the parents expect Sumanasekara to produce good citizens to the nations?
I went through the article and came to know about present administrative and Management failures of Vidura College. I am also a parent of Vidura college and I kept full trust in Sumanasekara, the Principal on the year 2002 because he used to be one of the most experienced principals of the country whom I thought will deliver a remarkable services to the education to the country after his retirement. However our innocent hopes, ambitions, and entire determinations are diluting day by day and we are very frustrated about our kids future. I think this school is now heading to become a so-called “Company” not a school. We do not have avenues to discuss the problems faced by the children.
Teachers are working there like prisoners. If they open their mouth, the very next moment they are asked to vacate the school. Poor salaries, lack of staff, unnecessary family involvements, lack of common teacher -parent frequent meetings, and violating corporate good governance such as transparency, accountability, equity, etc with regard to financial transactions and other school management activities.With regard to the kid “Gavesh Chamika Fernando” the way he acted was ridiculous. Now he is trying every effort to avoid to hand over parents cash donations to Gavesh Mother.
Therefore please be kind enough and write more articles on behalf of us because we trust The Sunday Leader which serves our nation and leads it in the correct path and track. I love Vidura College and want it to be an excellent leading college in the country!
I am writing this as a reply to the article that I saw on The Sunday Leader website. I am a student of Vidura college school and I am still schooling here, and I would like you to know about the horrible condition there, I dont mind if you quote me on any of this for an article but I am to be left anonymous, that is why I am using an incorrect email address, I can tell you that I am sitting for my O/levels this year and we currently have the seventh grade maths teacher for this year, and he even gets frequently absent. And the salary of the teachers in our school is only Rs. 8000 and this is nothing for them considering the school fee’s they receive. My school fee’s alone is Rs. 20, 000 and we have 35 in a class and three classes in grade 11 so teachers that come to our school merely come for experience of working, or are retired teachers. whether the teacher is a graduate or has been serving our school for more than seven years the salary for them is still the same. And the so called “Sick Room” is actually a small room connected to the boys toilet and the stench from the toilet comes to the room, the room has a sink and a bed and no first aid kit of any kind, and is now being used by two teachers as a staff room for themselves, and first aid kit is inside the office of the headmaster and it has in it only surgical spirit, asamodagam and panadol. Our principal has in many occasions called us ‘idiots’, ‘fools’ and most recently even ‘bastards’. Parents are afraid to complain or do any thing because his immediate response is to ask them to leave the school. As an English medium school Our teachers are very poor in English. We were given fan’s in the thalawathugoda building only last year, although the principal’s office is fitted with an A/C, Many kids noticed the white walled good year tires he has on his car and how costly they would have been, where does he get the money to do that other than from us, and he owns two acres of field adjoining the school which is harvested and he also receives an income out of that. We once had Child Authority figures step into our school,question each of us on how the school is and what is going on here. On this day everyone covered up , the teachers were very kind to the students and they taught us correctly and all, but this did not last and all reverted to the way it was after they left.We now even have a detention room, if a child is absent and forgets to bring his absent letter the child must spend the whole day there without studies, if a child is caught eating in class he has to spend a week in detention and has to bring tea buns to eat every period. During the sports meet after they collected money for drinks and snacks from the children about Rs. 200 per child and after the children were left starving the whole day the snacks and drinks were cancelled by our dear principal because we shouted and cheered for our fellow mates who participated in the events.These are few of the things happening here at our very own hell named Vidura. I ask you to please visit our school for yourself just like our principal asked, but I ask you to do it without prior notice of visit and posing as someone else or it might be like the cover up day we had.
Student: Mr. Faraz
i’m strongly against this…this is my school..you are talking about this issue without knowing anything about this…so for god sake get those ideas out of your mind..many rumors started to spread after this incident but you been an educated person (don’t know whether you are) you should be able to figure out this correctly..and our school been a secondary school many young teacher come here to get experiences..they just leave the school when they find new appointments..so that is not our principles fault…he tries his best to bring down new teachers…we have lack of support to our school..and i should say that our school is not a business…all the profit that our principle gets is spent on building our school..and i invite you to come to our school and see how much it has been developed in this small period of time (11 yrs)..if this was a business this school would not be at this level today..and i should say parents too has an bad impression about our school…as they are not actively involved in school affairs they say so..so parents if you all have any objections please talk about it with our principle sir without going here and there telling about it !this is my school and so is your child’s..have respect..if your child is in a good standard that’s because of this schools..so it’s really harsh telling wrong about the school to the public..