Tabs to school children
Posted on May 13th, 2019

Laksiri Warnakula

A 21st century St Nicholas from the East

I have read in one of our newspapers (DailyMirror, 10-05-19) that the approval has been given by the cabinet to Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam’s ‘Tab project’. And it is a whopping 3.5 billion rupee project.

Now, we have thousands and thousands of schools that lack basic amenities and facilities. Children are sitting on rickety chairs or even bare ground under roofs that leak when it rains, let too much sun when it shines and that could also come down on their heads, at any time with hardly any advance notice. The standards of sanitation and hygiene maintained at these schools hardly need any description or elaboration. And a good proportion of those children is suffering from malnutrition. We all know about this and so do the Mr Minister and his learned cabinet too, I am sure.

The quality of the teaching profession is not something that we can be proud of, anymore. Many, who are engaged in this noble profession have now become mere businessmen preferring money-making by giving tuition to enriching and improving the mental prowess of our children. Sincerity of purpose meant to be in one of the noblest professions on earth has somehow lost its way, here in Sri Lanka. 

Isn’t this a colossal waste of money, anyway? And here we have someone, who seems to be trying to become the 21st century’s St Nicholas from the East, with his plan to spend this vast amount that could have gone into much more worthwhile projects in the field of education, teaching and also addressing the immediate needs of the school children, from rural and remote areas, in particular. To be fair, our teachers themselves have their own grievances too that need to be resolved. So all in all, we have so many more important and urgent things here crying for attention and one is driven to wonder what made this ‘tab project’ take priority over such issues.

By the way, I wonder whether there will be a small sticker or a stamp on the back of each of those tabs to say ‘a gift from Akila’! However, St Nicholas, on the other hand, was using his own money and didn’t want his identity revealed. Just showing where the comparison ends, no sooner than it starts, perhaps quite regrettably from Mr AVKs’ point of view!

Laksiri Warnakula

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