Issuing a special statement the minister of Buddha Sasana Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that the government is going to take the necessary measures against teachers and private class owners who continue to conduct tuition classes on Sundays and Poya days. Elaborating further on this, he also has said that a special gazette notification will be issued soon regarding a ban on tuitions on Sundays and Poya days.
Anyone who conducts private tuition will have to face punishment, as the draft of a new law stipulates that the government can take every possible measure to stop private tuition on Poya days and Sundays. The minister has highlighted.
However, under Article 12 in the Constitution of Sri Lanka, sections one to four collectively highlight the fact that “all are equal under the law”. In the circumstances of prohibiting the classes being conducted on Poya days and Sundays is unfair by other religions.Therefore the enactment of such a law by parliament would be treated by other religions unfairly.
After hearing many objections about the ban on tuition classes on Poya days and Sundays brought forward by the general public the Ceylon Today journalist ventured out to talk to a cross section of society about the debatable issue.
On a special note, the Constitution prevents laws that affect one religion being treated differently. If they are going to ban tuitions on Poya days and Sundays that should be done in a way which all the religions are treated equally. If they are going to enact laws based on the religion it is against the law to discriminate against people because of their religion or belief.
Expressing his views, Niroshan Pathberiya, a lecturer, University of Sri Jayewardenepura said that “I think this matter needs to be consistent with the constitutional provisions; Article 10 and 12 to be more precise. The Constitution prevents laws that affect one religion being passed. This would, in my opinion, be much more effective if the scope of religious holiday, in this matter, gets a broader meaning that brings all the religions into the arena. That being said, I must also bring to attention the fact that, this has been suggested since 1990 by almost all the governments. Nevertheless, such suggestions did not go past the contemplative stage.”
Elaborating more on the issue Manjula, a dancing teacher of a government school highlighted the fact that since these children are lacking in gaining religious knowledge and spiritual guidance from non attendance of Sunday dhamma schools and places of worships this would be a great initiative.
A teacher who wishes to remain anonymous mentioned that, “this will be a burden for the children who used to go for the mass classes and group classes and this obviously will not be an issue for the children for those who do individual classes at their homes.
According to my point of view I feel that this will adversely affect only students of the middle and lower classes as their parents would not be able to afford paying for individual classes.
Janitha Rukmal who is a youth activist said that “as I once heard on SLBC news, there would be a ban imposed in conducting classes on Poya days until 2:00 p.m. I think that kind of move is probably alright yet going to the extreme of banning the commencement of classes every Sunday and on entire Poya days, would in a way be construed as a violation of freedoms. In terms of one’s right to education in the way one chooses. And the existing school education system should first be streamlined to meet the competitive demand which is currently addressed mostly by the tuition teachers before opting for such drastic measures as the above”.
People are also questioning what measures the government has taken in order to ease the burden of the high cost of living of the ordinary citizens, as it appears the government is only taking steps to enrich the lives of politicians and they always try to enact useless laws and regulations.
One of the lecturer from a government university highlighted that some universities conduct their examinations on Christmas evening and measures that have been taken in order to ban the classes on poya days and Sundays is a primitive albeit populist notion.
Therefore do not be fooled by political games, I would say. I think Sri Lanka needs to have patriotic politicians with a strong backbone instead of puppets.
A civil servant who wished to remain anonymous said that It really doesn’t matter what you call them – UNP, SLFP, the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the Yahapalana government, so long as you understand that while politicians are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favour, particularly it’s a fashionable ploy designed to keep us divided and put on gloves over two parties whose priorities are exactly the same. Now we find ourselves once again caught up in the vista of yet another political trap.