Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa warned that “non-governmental organisations” had influenced the education system in Sri Lanka, in order to try and “destroy the Sinhala Buddhists”.
Speaking at a ‘Dhamma School’ in Vavuniya on Friday, Rajapaksa told the audience that “Non-Governmental Organizations have deviously intervened in our education system by including content in school textbooks to distort the minds of children”.
“I heard some leading academic bhikkus explaining how school textbooks now have content that will have the effect of corrupting young minds,” he said.
He went on to highlight that this included how “some school textbooks have depicted the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka as one province”.
“We should realise that there is a concerted and ongoing attempt to divide the country, to destroy the Sinhala Buddhists, to disrupt the family as an institution among the Sinhala, Tamil, Christian and Hindu sections of the population and to create divisions between children and their parents, between students and their teachers, between children and religions,” Rajapaksa claimed.
“Programmes aimed at achieving these objectives begin at the level of primary schools. After a few years, the way of thinking of the Sinhala population would have changed without anyone even realising it.”
He went on to state that “an expeditious investigation will be carried out into the ideas being put into the minds of school children through school textbooks”.
“What should happen is that children and youth should be motivated to go in search of the temple and our national heritage. I believe that in order to achieve that objective, our approach also has to change with the times. A programme should be put in place to show appreciation for the voluntary work done by Dhamma school teachers. The Dhamma schools depend on their dedication. A special programme will have to be put in place to maintain the Dhamma Schools located in remote areas.”
“The objective of this is to produce a child who has good Buddhist values embedded in him.”
The launching of the Dhamma School in Vavuniya, comes amidst intense Sinhalisation efforts of the Tamil homeland by the Sri Lankan state.
Two administrators of a historic Tamil temple in a Vavuniya village were arrested last month following a complaint by Sri Lanka’s archaeology department. Locals have been outraged by the arrests and said the archaeology department was targeting Tamils and especially Hindu temples.