Some 4,000 school principals have been called for interviews at the Cadet Corps Headquarters next week to be awarded military titles, raising more concerns over the militarization of more than 50 per cent of the schools in the country.
The letters sent out by the Sri Lanka Cadet Corps (SLCC) state that officials of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service who hold the post of principal and those in Grades I and II of the principal’s service have been asked to attend the interviews on March 4, 5 and 6. They are expected to be awarded the titles of lieutenant, major or captain.
A SLCC spokesman who wished to remain anonymous confirmed that interviews would be held next week and titles awarded after a 45-day period of training.
Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary Joseph Stalin who objected to this move said out of the 9,662 schools in this country more than 50 per cent would be administered by a military official.
“This is a complete militarization of the school system and a heavy blow to its independence because these schools will be managed not only by the Education Ministry but under the intervention of the Defense Ministry,” Mr. Stalin said.
He the principals who would be absorbed into the military service through this programme and thus lose their right to engage in political activities.
Meanwhile, Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said although the Education Ministry approved the awarding military titles to school principals imagining that it would build discipline in schools but simply donning a military uniform would not help maintain discipline.
Last year some 23 principals, mostly from popular schools in Colombo including Ananda College, Devi Balika Vidyalaya and Nalanda College were awarded the title of colonel after ten days of training at the Rantambe Cadet Camp. (Lakna Paranamanna)