By Shezna Shums
A staggering 10,000 new placements are needed to be found in Batticaloa to accommodate students who recently fled Tiger held areas, education authorities said.
Schools within the Batticaloa area are stretching their capabilities to accommodate the recently displaced children. However as more children are moving away from their original homes the school system in the district is being over burdened as a result.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader Director Education, Batticaloa Zonal Office, A.M.E. Paul said that already about 5000 children who were displaced from their original homes in Muttur and Vaharai have been absorbed into the schools that have remained open.
However, with the recent problems about 10,000 displaced children have fled their homes within the uncleared areas and are now temporarily living in places in Batticaloa.
“These 10,000 children are yet to find places in the existing schools,” said the Director.
The other problems associated with putting these newly displaced children in schools are the lack of teachers, furniture and resources.
“Even the previous 5000 children who were absorbed into the schools had lost a lot of work, and had to catch up on school work,” explained Paul.
“It is not an easy problem to solve,” he said. The zonal education office is currently assisting all the children who are registered with the schools.
Currently about 38 schools from the uncleared areas are closed owing to security problems. However the director explained that the best solution was for these schools to reopen and the students to be able to return to their own schools.
“We do not go to the children who are in the camps but we have informed of their situation to various NGOs,” he said.
Under the areas within the zonal office there are 36 schools in the Valachchenai area that are currently closed owing to security problems.
In Arayampathy 24 schools have also closed down due to the increasing security problems in the area.
“There were teachers but no students were attending the schools,” said an official.
However the official also explained that some schools that had closed down were able to reopen as well.
Furthermore according to the Inter Agency Standing Committee Country Team Fact Sheet for the Batticaloa District there are 23 displaced schools operating in temporary structures. 101 schools are currently closed while 17 are being used as internally displaced persons’ sites. Other schools though under strain admit new IDP children. [theSundayLeader.lk]