by Shanika Sriyananda
If not for their knowledge and hard work, the modern three-storied building complex would still be under construction. Thanking the soldiers for constructing the building within eight-months, the Principal of Mahajana College, Kunaratnam Velsivanandan said people in Jaffna co-exist with soldiers.
“They help us a lot in our day-to-day life and are friendly with people. The children of Mahajana College are grateful to the soldiers, for completing the building in double quick time, he said.
Velsivanandan thanked the Secretary, Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa for initiating the project to construct the building and seeking financial assistance from Deshamanya K. Balendra for the construction of the building which cost Rs. 25 million.
“Out of 86 schools in the Walikamam Zonal Division, Mahajana College in Tellippalai has topped the list in examinations in the Grade five Scholarship, O/L and A/L examinations and our students excel in sports and other extra curricular activities.
This building with separate facilities for music, dancing, drama and speech, art and Western music will help students to enhance their practical knowledge”, he said.
Being a leading school in Jaffna, just 17 km away from Jaffna Town, Mahajana College has a proud history and is more than 102 years. T.A Thuraiappapillai, the founder of the school thought of establishing a school for Hindu children as Tellippalai and its adjoining villages were predominantly Hindu.
A teacher of Tellippalai American Mission School started a small school in his house with a few children without any financial assistance from the then government. In 1912 the small school shifted to the present location and was gadually recognised as a school by the government and it received the first grant in 1918.
The grade one school, Mahajana College was shifted to three locations – Alaweddi, Pandiriththippu and Maradanamadam – due to LTTE activities but started functioning again in the present location since 1999, Velsivanandan said.
The principal thanked the Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe for the assistance of the Army to construct the building.
“Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe is dedicated to help Jaffna people and also bring development. He listened to our problems. Under his directions, security personnel maintain a rapport with the people. Today people in Jaffna live without fear because of the Secuirty Forces”, he said.
He said children, their parents and teachers are very happy as they have got educational facilities just like the children in the South.
A new three-storeyed building of the school was opened by the Secretary of Defence last Friday. Velsivanandan said the Ambalawanar Kandaiya Memorial Block is constructed in memory of Deshamanya Balendra’s father who was a past student of Mahajana College.
Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe told the Sunday Observer over 250 soldiers of the 5th Engineer Service Regiment and other infantry regiments undertook the construction of the building and the archtectural design was also done by the Army.
“Mahajana College is a prestigious school in Jaffna and several prominent personalities have studied in this school. As a goodwill gesture to the children of Jaffna, the Army completed the construction without charging any cost for the labour”, he said.
When asked about the security situation in Jaffna, the SF Commander said Jaffna was peaceful as any other part of the country and there is no space for any illegal activity to continue. “ We are always there to protect people of Jaffna and the security personnel help them at any time when they need help. There is a good relationship between the Army and the people”, he said.
Addressing the gathering after opening of the building, the Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa thanked the security forces personnel for their valuable efforts to develop the Jaffna peninsula within a short period of time. He said if everyone in the Jaffna peninsula joins, the area could be further developed and prosperity could be achieved. “ Today is a memorable day in my life as I see the development achieved in Jaffna”. There are 1,553 students and 68 teachers in school.
The new building comprises 16 classrooms, two office rooms, aesthetic section, 02 indoor gymnasiums and two fully equipped washrooms.