Sri Lanka: Schools Reopen Days After Easter Sunday Bombings; Security Measures Implemented
As Sri Lanka carefully steps back to normal life after the Easter Sunday Bombings which killed over 200 people, schools (grade six and upwards) opened on Monday, May 6.
Schools reopen in Sri Lanka
In school premises, an extensive security programme has been implemented. Children will now have to positively carry transparent or see-through school bags, water bottles and lunch boxes, with the commencement of the school term. Vehicles can no longer be parked near schools.
Over 100 people were killed in Negombo when a suicide bomber attacked the St Sebastian church. Anyone carrying a back-pack can be stopped and searched, as the suicide bombers carried the explosives in their back-packs. Security committees appointed by the schools are urging students to carry transparent bags, lunch boxes and water bottles to ensure complete security.
In a part of Colombo City, Sinhala businessman Suresh Chandrasiri is receiving scores of orders for transparent school bags. “I placed an order with a Chinese firm for 10,000 bags. They are sending only 4,000 now. But, that is too little to the more than one million students across the country,” he told The Times Of India.
He further said that at least 40 companies are now busy importing these China-made see-through bags, each of which costs Rs 1,750 (Sri Lankan currency).
A directive was issued by Director General of government information Nalaka Kaluwewa, stating that the school’s second term would commence on May 6 for grades 6 to 13, and on May 13 for grades 1 to 5, in all government schools. However, it is claimed that parents are still apprehensive and not confident enough about the government’s guarantee to keep their wards safe.
Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Education Minister of Sri Lanka, said that a special extensive security programme would be implemented in the school premises. “But, attendance is likely to be thin on Monday,” said women rights activist Nalini Ratnarajah.
But despite the decision of the government, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, has ordered Catholic schools to not reopen on May 6 due to security reasons.
Churches, for the second consecutive week, have also been ordered by Ranjith to not conduct Sunday Masses because the security situation has not improved enough.