While education is every child’s right, the children of Uchchimunai, on the Kalpitiya peninsula, are having a hard time getting an education.
There are 273 families in Uchchimunai, a 449-hectare stretch bordering the lagoon, 10 kilometres from town. The 500 children of school-going age are served by just one school, a small Tamil language Roman Catholic school that measures a mere 40 feet by 20 feet. Uchchimunai is one of Kalpitiya’s 14 educational circuits.
The school’s principal Pasquel Gregory S. Pulle says the school started as an educational institution for children between five and 15 years, with four teachers.
Parent M. Nilanthi, 20 years, said the school used to provide her four children with books and meals, but these facilities have been suspended.
Jacintha Premani, 52, said education was a luxury when she was a child, and she is happy that her grandchildren go to school. However, the school in Uchchimunai is limited, she said, and has not expanded since it began.
She says she does not have the money to send her grandchildren to a school closer to town. Quite often, the children come home saying there were no classes because there were no teachers.