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The story of seeing stars in Polgolla science faculty after death of Muslim student


The story of seeing stars in Polgolla science faculty after death of Muslim student

A large publicity was given recently in social media networks about this story which you are now to hear regarding Polgolla Mahaweli science faculty. Though strict rules and regulations were in operation in these science faculties, it was highlighted by social media networks of an administration which functioned beyond
those rules. 

There were close several reasons for the accusations. In this month when the science faculties were to commence for the annual holidays, because of the fever that spread around in Polgolla Mahaweli Science faculty, the students as well as the parents had to undergo severe inconveniences and all those accusations were targeted against the dean, a lady. 

Another allegation aimed at the dean was the untimely death of Fathima Illa the Muslim girl who followed studies there during the period the fever epidemic was rampant. Among those severe accusations were not taking proper action when the fever epidemic was spreading, tackling the issue of sick children without any humanity within a strict framework and preventing them from going to their homes. 

It is a duty to focus attention on opinions of both parties regarding this story as it occured which is heard about in connection with the stern administration meted out going beyond the severe governance which was enforced by the army. This story unfolds for the purpose of summarizing by inquiring from accusations of faculty students and their parents with those of relevant authorities. 

The following is a complaint by one father of a student: "My child told the mother over the phone that for having got wet at the sports festival about close upon 40 had developed fever. When speaking the following day she said that 90 was stricken by fever. She said that four had been directed to a private physician and treatment or medicine was given at the expense of the children themselves. I spoke to a doctor. But what he did was going away without examining the children even for five minutes. I spoke to the dean. What she said was that no leave or holidays would be given under any circumstances. Providing of meals to the children from Katugasthota hospital was rejected. Teachers had instructed students who used to take meals to the sick children were asked not to do so. Children who were confined to beds were reprimanded to participate in Christmas decoration activities. When asked to take some days off .. they were reprimanded saying that their studentship would be cancelled. Whatever it is, the medical officer had discussed with the dean and had made arrangements to provide off-days for the children. The children attended christmas festival in a serious state of health. 

"A female student who complained of dengue died after admission to hospital". he said. He has made that comment across facebook. Several parents tell the same story about the incident. They were questioning and saying that they could not understand the fact that about 90 students began to suffer from a condition of fever all together before the the final term-ending holidays and that the students were kept back in the science faculty hostel itself prohibiting them from going home and that even students in a serious condition were refused to be escorted home though the parents strongly insisted and that for that reason the students became seriously sick which incidentally was the result of the authoritative military administration launched by science faculty administration and why even under humanistic instances the dean did not care to give some consolation where her rules and regulations were concerned. Even when students were afflicted by some ailment this dean has not cared to bring down her strict administrative laws. Permission was not granted even for meals to be taken to be served at the bedside of the sick children. 

"Sports training of this faculty is carried on irrespective of rain. The children are solded saying that they get sick by bathing towards night hours. In any case ... they have to hold on till she prepares a paper to secure treatment. Only serious patients are permitted to leave first. Because of the attempt this dean has taken to win the hearts of education authorities ... it is the children who have had to suffer", a mother said. 

How does this type of hideous environment prevail within Polgolla Mahaweli science faculty? How did one child died in the end? Why are children not permitted to go home even when sick? Is asking for permission to go home in such circumstances an offence so as to have the student membership cancelled? How does imposing strong rules and regulations become a part of a science faculty? 

This is how dean of Polgolla Mahaweli science faculty, Mrs. S.J.M.S. Samarakoon responds to these allegations: "Students of these science faculties should engage in parallel activities as well as education. All this is necessary to develop the personality. The sports festival of this year was held on November 28th. It is organised by second year students. The sports festival is something launched in a grand manner. Though first year students did not take part ... they participated in this. When the sports activities was in progress, a heavy shower came down.Not only the children even we and teachers got wet. What we teach is how to go forward even in the face of obstacles. For that reason sports continued. The next day the children developed a cold. 

Children in the hotel and in one solitary hall. Because of that the infection We went to Katugasthota provincial hospital and got every such child the necessary treatment. At the start it was 10 and later those who got sick afterwards were directed to hospital and were made to take treatment. But there was no necessity for them to be warded in hospital as such. 

Since the children became sick; the health medical officer in the area came and inspected the condition of the children. Even by that time the children were gradually recovering. Some children asked whether they could go home. But we did not consent. There was a main reason for it. Dr. Pasan, specialist consultant of epidemic diseases section of Kandy came to ta he hostel to make a check on the children. That doctor understood that the children had developed a sick condition called influenza. It would be over by three days. As this condition was something rapidly contagious, he told to keep them back as if the children were to be send home, the infection could spread around the environment. On medical advice we gave necessary treatment to the children ... but did not allow them to go home. In the same way we provided all meals etcetera. 

Christmas carols was arranged for the 4th of this month. There were only 16 children to participate in Christmas carols. As such this activity was to be carried out with co-operation of other children. Though we wanted to put a stop to this festival because of the health situation ... the children did not want that done because they were prepared for a long time. So it was thought to hold the festival on 4th and to give holidays to the children on 5th. Because of the presidential election children of this science faculty were given holidays from November 9th to 20th. Therefore though we wanted to give holidays on November 28th, we postponed the holidays till 6th. The carol programme progressed well.

 But one Muslim child fell sick in Seethadevi hostel. That child initially complained of a stomach ache. But that child had been suffering from a disease of which she had not told us. As her health issue would come into the open if admitted to hospital ... she was reluctant to appear for medical examinations. An abnormal drop in the child's platelet count was noticed. The child did not like her home people being informed because her mother was sick. After the child was transferred from Katugasthota hospital to Kandy hospital; we notified her parents. They came and visited the child. Even the condition of Leukemia was kept a secret from the hospital. Whatever it is, the child passed away on the 11th. We felt very sad. 
In any case, by now medical reports have been released. It is stated in the death report of Kandy general hospital that the child had died of Acute Leukeamia.

I am like a mother to these children. They want to go home frequently. The story that the student membership would be aborted when they ask permission to go home is a total lie. The other thing is that children who were sick were not sent home under medical instructions. These children did not get dengue. If that happens ... it is I who should get infected first of all. Children coming newly to these faculties find it difficult to get  used to this culture. We stay with the children at all times. If what I say is false ... anybody could come and see", the dean remarked. 

Mr. B.D.C. Biyanwela the chief commissioner (Hons. Edu) is the guardian of all these institutions. Een by now he is supervising all this. We directed this issue to him. "That matter could be a charge levelled by a certain crowd of students. From the year 2013 there were some setbacks in the instance of admitting students to science faculties. Under these circumstances we had to recruit 800 students at one and the same time in both 2016-2017 years considering the injustice done to school children and science faculty students. Therefore, a shortage of accommodation was observed in every science faculty. But without realising this rationality most people began to broadcast various things. Some have said that we have sent children inside containers. But these things were done with the co-operation of most parents of the science faculty. Now this situation is to a large extent easing. All these activities were carried out under the administration of the science faculty dean and deputy deans of the science faculty. 

As a consequence of this, in various instances the staff of lecturers were burdened with more work. In some instances they expressed opposition against it. When issues and allegations of that nature began to crop up from Polgolla Mahaweli science faculty, we visited that science faculty .. in order to check the situation there, about one and a half months back. But we observed from our own eyes that those were not true. There is no ragging there ... witnessed a satisfactory culture. From our faculties, dean of this science faculty is managing the institute in a skillful manner. Because of that, mud-slinging was to be seen. 

There were two meetings of deans at the education ministry last week. On that occasion the dean of Polgolla Mahaweli science faculty spoke to us about the death of a child. That incident has happened when the child ha gone home for the holidays. The child had suffered from a condition of Leukeamia which the parents kept a secret. 

We ought in fact look into the child's death based on medical reports. When the children were serious, the dean reported to me saying that this child was serious and to notify the child's parents that she was being directed to the parents in consideration of her welfare. Later in any case the child had passed away. The child had died in hospital from an ailing condition of which even the faculty was not informed. There however is no connection between between this child's death and other children being sick. 

Several patients suffering from a virus fever was reported in most faculties during the recent past. There are courses that should be covered by students within a stipulated time-period. If those are not completed, the opportunity to sit for the examination will evade the student. But if an emergency situation like this emerges, the children are given holidays so that it could be covered at least by weekends. 

If a child happens to fall sick, there is a committee to in the science faculty to take a decision. The decision is arrived at with a meeting in unison. Sometimes, only indisposed children are given the option of going home on the basis of attending to an assignment. Initially the child would be hospitalised and preliminary treatment will be given and only if it is not satisfactory that the child would be sent home. 

There are occasions when some parents make demands without any foundation as such. A decision is arrived at as a group in accordance with the administration structure of of the science faculties. According to my observations, all activities happen for the welfare of the children. 

The state spends a large sum of money as a grant for close upon 4000 children. We look into their discipline and conduct.It is important to notify us directly about allegations like this", Chief commissioner Mr. B.D.C. Biyanwela said. A faculty is something which came into being to impart education with precepts as its basis with the motive of bringing forth a disciplined generation. Everybody who enters its domain enters there not ignorant of that educational culture. There are many times seen where clashes have taken place and instances of behaviour beyond responsibility which of course cannot be endorsed. Ultimately what transpires by that behaviour is the damage done to the entire science faculty. Instances where rational information was found in the form of corrupted figures in action after silencing the voice of students is not rare either. It would be important if both these parties would comport themselves with a more matured perspective which without doubt go a long way in bestowing a healthy generation of teachers. 

- Subhashini Jayaratna -


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