International School Manipay Opened

by Joachim Panhans,  2006/11/08

Internatonal School Manipay

On January 5, 2006 the International School Manipay was opened by humedica Executive Director Wolfgang Groß and an additional 300 guests, in time for the start of school and after only four and a half months of construction.

The school's new teaching staff.

An educator with twenty years of experience as a principal was appointed director. She will be supported by 24 other teachers, who have been in seminars since August 2006 in preparation for their new responsibilities.

The first students

In the years to come, the ISM will provide a good education to the children and tsunami victims, who have been affected by decades of civil unrest on the Jaffna peninsula. All classes will be taught in English, opening children’s futures to a wide variety of career opportunities.

Children who live farther away will have the opportunity to live in dorms during the school year. The director, as is customary, will live on the grounds as well.

The school bus in action

There are also two school buses which will bring the children living in the area to and from the school.

The first comprehensive school of its kind

With this concept, ISM is the first comprehensive school of its kind in northern Sri Lanka and offers a high-quality education to children of all ages, from pre-school through high-school. The students will have the opportunity to complete their schooling with either an A-level or O-level General Certificate of Education. The A-level (advanced level) is intended for college-bound students and the O-level (ordinary level) for the non-college-bound student.

Good student - teacher ratio

With only 20-25 students per class, the classes in ISM are only about have as large as those in other schools, which can have over 50 students in them.

100 children sponsored with school supplies

Many children come from poor families who can’t afford the extra costs for school supplies. This is why humedica decided to help out, and now they sponsor 100 students with their school supplies. The costs for each child run about 100 Euros a year. We are always looking for sponsors for the children needing assistance!

Expansion construction continues

Even though classes have already begun, there is still construction work needing to be done. In the near future, the computer room and sports facilites will be built.

Aggression instead of negotiating

Because of the tense situation, the official dedication of the school had to be postponed to mid-April 2006, during the Tamil and Sinhalese new year’s festivities .

Between Christmas and New Year’s on the Jaffna peninsula, there were nearly daily assaults on the military, which also caused civilian injuries and casualties, so that an official dedication with international guests during this time period was not possible.

In the civil war region on the Jaffna peninsula, there has been a cease-fire for the past four years between Sri Lanka’s government and the rebel group LTTE, (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), which has been repeatedly broken, however, in the recent past.

Shortly after Easter, from April 19-21, 2006, there should have been further talks in Genf between the two fighting parties and representatives from moderating country, Norway. The affected peoples living in the north of the island, in particular, had placed especially strong hopes that these new talks would result in a lasting peace treaty.

But instead of negotiating, new tensions between the government and the rebels came about, resulting in additional clashes.

Therefore, at the beginning of May, the Sri Lankan government placed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the area. But despite this, life at the school in Manipay has changed little, since the children either stay in the dorms or are taken home by the schoolbus before the curfew takes effect.

In the first ten weeks of school the students had rehearsed for a two-hour program.

Education for peace

The children should be raised to be peace-loving people, who solve their conflicts by discussing their problems rather than by picking up weapons. More than 800 guests participated in the colorful dedication ceremony, including the AGA (Assistant Government Agent), who praised the excellent and wide-reaching relief efforts from humedica, particularly in connection with the tsunami disaster.

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