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No! To Military Training

May 21, 2011 3:27:21 PM - thesundayleader.lk
  • University Students To Sue Government

By Janith Aranze

The Supreme Court tomorrow will hear a Fundamental Rights petition filed by the Students for Human Rights Group on behalf of the Inter-University Student Federation (IUSF) asking that the government halts a proposed leadership training programme, to be held in military camps around the country.
The government has put in place plans to give students who have qualified for university a three month compulsory leadership training at military camps.
Both the Students for Human Rights and the IUSF citing an infringement of their rights said, “We have challenged the proposals, and the Attorney General has requested that the training camps be postponed until the case is over,” Nuwan Bopege, a lawyer appearing for the IUSF, told The Sunday Leader.
“The government put notices in newspapers on  May 17, saying students who have qualified for university must attend training in army camps beginning on May 22. This gave them very little time to challenge the proposals, so now the government has delayed its plans so students and parents can file their cases against it,” Bopege explained.
Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake, has denied that students will be forced to follow three months military training. He stated that these students would be serving a compulsory leadership training programme. The Minister said that this was ‘designed for preparing students for life after school.’ Secretary to the Ministry, Dr Sunil Nawaratne, explained that the main purpose behind this programme was to ensure that students preparing for tertiary education undergo a change of mentality. ‘For students to be successful in university they must become more broad-minded, since school life is a more, narrow and single track.’ Nawaratne stressed said that such a program would be beneficial to the entire student body. He insisted that contrary to media reports, the program was not military orientated and that it would be carried out by civilians and university lecturers. But that military camps would be used purely for logistical purposes in being able to hold large numbers.