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Schools actively involved in reconciliation and peace building

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 13 January 2018 00:00

Cabinet of Ministers based on a Cabinet Memorandum submitted by President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation has declared 8-14 January every year as National Integration and Reconciliation Week. 

A circular was issued by the Ministry in close collaboration with Ministry of Education to institutionalise reconciliation and create awareness among school children to strengthen as peace messengers and change agents to create awareness on reconciliation and sustainable peace. Many schools island-wide have shown active interest in the reconciliation initiatives, said Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy. The Royal College, Colombo a leading national school has organised the National Reconciliation Week with the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation on 10 January 2018 at Nawarangahala hall with the participation of over 1,000 school children and over 100 teachers. The declaration was collectively pledged by all three languages.

The National Reconciliation Virtues developed by the Ministry included seven core virtues on peace and reconciliation and was explained to all children and teachers. 

The virtues included:

Dignity and Respect – respect is the right of every person and should be reflected in your speech and action

Diversity – Valuing differences in religion, ethnicity, language, race, physical appearance, lift style, dress and way of speaking be recognized and the richness of such diversity should be valued.

Equity, Inclusiveness and Fairness – ensuring equal rights and equal opportunity without discrimination is important. Tolerance – Not seeing things in one perspective but recognizing differences in opinions

Friendship and kindness – being kind to all living things

Compassion – Caring, listening and being close to others

Justice and Human Rights–Standing up for your rights and rights of others and being fair in everything you do.

Further three children representing three ethnic groups made speeches on the importance of integration and reconciliation. The School Principal B.A. Abeyratne, Royal College stated that the school children and the teachers have worked continuously on the Reconciliation Initiatives as set out in the declaration. Sivagnanasothy also mentioned that a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural schools like Royal College has all enabling environment to practice reconciliation and integration.

An oral question raised on the level of integration revealed that 70% of the Sinhala students have very close Tamil friends and similarly Tamil students have very high degree of Sinhala school friends which makes multi-community schools as more potential for integration and reconciliation

Religious dignitaries, school teachers, Ministry officials, GIZ officials and participants graced this occasion. 


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