Western Province to ban tuition class on Sundays and Poya Days

[Original Post: http://blog.secularsrilanka.com/2010/06/western-province-to-ban-tuition-class.html ]

First Sabaragamuwa province banned tuition classes for children between the ages of 5 to 16 years on Full Moon Poya days and on Sundays between 8am to 2pm. A few days Later Matara district followed a similar decision.

Now, the Western Province is also planning to do the same thing. The topic will be discussed at the Western Provincial Council on Tuesday, 8th June 2010.

The politicians are enforcing children to take part in religion; especially on Buddhism. A couple of years back the Government came up with a law to ban tuition classes on Sundays but that didn’t last long. Wonder why the provincial councils are trying to do this again? And wonder who is behind these moves?



  1. Outrages! if we ban activities to the whim of religious factions then we set a precedent and if some other group also requires a similar status of exclusivity then we would have to agree to it. If the government is requested to do so, should it also declare that tuition classes be banned on on Fridays (to appease the Islamic community)?

    Forcing young people to goto Dhamma schools just demonstrates how desperate the clergy and their lobby have become in recent times. They are losing their once powerful grip on society and are feverishly taking measures to assert their control over us all once again. Notice how monks are all over the media these days!

  2. Where in the news article does it say the govt is forcing children to attend Sunday School ? Taking a blind jab for the sake of it eh ?

    I was of the opinion that religurd only reports credible facts.

    Personally however, I think its unfair to impose a Ban on learning.

    • OK. Nowhere does the news story say ‘government is forcing’ anything. But isn’t it obvious that the government is ‘forcing’ to stop the so-called private tuition classes on specified days?
      Doesn’t it also mean that the government is indirectly forcing, or, in any event, trying to persuade the children to attend religious schools on the specified days? And, what religious schools or classes? Obviously, the Buddhist ones. Got it?

  3. I don’t think this is a serious move… probably just to keep the Hardcore Buddhist base happy. It’s just not practical.

    Generally, most tuition classes do not operate on public and mercantile holidays. And it certainly isn’t a “sin” to attend one during a poya day, as some say.

  4. I came across your website recently however spent a lot of time reading your material and I thought I have some suggestions to make. However I am not an atheist, but I too have a criticism against organized religion as they have done more harm to the world than any good. I would say I am a philosophical Buddhist, but I do not find wrong in any one believing in god and doing rituals as long as they do not violate the human rights. I also dream of a secular Sri Lanka where equality (gender, race, religion and language wise) and humanity is given prominence.
    But I have to request you to consider the current state of the country and to analyze whether this is the right time to introduce secularism in the constitution. I don’t think the biggest problem that Sri Lanka face today in introducing secularism is the clause in the constitution about giving prominence to Buddhism and its pledge to preserve it. We as Sri Lankans would have to face a greater danger in future because of some developments that can destroy the little “religious freedom” or the “freedom from religion” that is left with us. To put it directly it is the islamization that I am talking about. First of all I would like to ask you several questions and I expect your/your members’ response.
    1. By trying to introduce secularism to Sri Lanka, do you plan to create a uniform legal system for all Sri Lankans?
    2. Do you accept Islamic Sharia’h law (even partly) being included in the legal system?
    3. What is your opinion about the status of the muslim women in the Sri Lanka’s current legal framework. If you do some research you will find that,
    a. The minimum marriageable age for both sexes in SL is 18 yrs but for muslim women it is 12 years.
    b. The polygamy is illegal but muslim men are exempted.
    c. There is no regulation on genital mutilation but it happens in this country, again muslim kids are targeted.
    d. Property inheritance laws for both sexes are not discriminatory. But for muslim women it is different, they do inherit only a half of what a muslim man inherits.
    The Islamic sharia’h law is practiced in marriage issues and inheritance issues. I want to know your response regarding this.
    4. If you were vigilant about the current affairs of this country, you will notice a particular trend that muslim youth are being radicalized and they have started following a particular muslim leader known as Dr. Zakir Naik. He can be a great threat to the (some what) secular society that we live in. Instead of questioning and reforming their faith these muslims have started practicing their religion literally. There is a new trend of targeting non-muslims in Sri Lanka and converting them into Islam. I do not know what idea you have regarding this but I see it as a danger to the society that we live in.
    5. Do you think secularism along with Islam is practical? Well my answer would be NO.
    6. What is your idea about the destruction of Buddhist temples in Kooragala, Pothuvil and Deegawapiya by Muslims? I have to say the clause in our constitution as giving prominence to Buddhism has not been really effective.
    Finally what I have to say is thinking about secularism in a country that is targeted by islamists is utterly nonsense without fighting Islam. If you introduce secularism now it might help the islamists in their cause in long term rather than making Sri Lanka a secular country. Therefore you should give priority on removing this Islamic plague. I hope you would consider this seriously and reply me. After all we all want to make Sri Lanka a better place to live in.

    • Thanks, nadeesh, for your serious involvement in the discussion. But your question is more a blog than a question and it requires another blog to answer!

    • Nadeesh, I am a secularist, working for a secular Sri Lanka and I whole heartedly agree with you regarding the threat of Islam (not the ‘Muslim’ community but ‘Islam’). I firmly believe that removing religious perspective from governance and common law, includes removing any religious laws or exceptions from common law based on religious faiths.

      The Sharia law has to go away from Sri Lankan common law along with many other provisions for undue state patronage for Islam.

      I understand that http://www.secularsrilanka.com is not currently very explicit about removing “Islam” from governance, although you will realize it very soon if you read through the material there. I think it should be made more explicit to avoid misunderstanding that “only” the favoritism to Buddhism is the problem. NO! I do believe Islam is equally or more problematic.

      The current undue patronage to “Religion in General” has created an environment for Islam to thrive. Thats what I believe. If government can stay above religious dogma, they can do a better job in stopping Islamization.

      I am planning to write more on this matter in SSL forum http://groups.google.com/group/secular-sri-lanka-discussions/browse_thread/thread/4b296f08733986aa


  5. @nadeesh

    Thank you for the valuable comment. I do realize the increasing level of Islamic activities in the country. And I always had this doubt whether Islamizaion will support the idea of Secularization just because secularization in SL context will battle mostly the dominant religion (Buddhism or more precisely the Buddha Sasana). And it makes their job a little easy.

    Anyhow that’s my personal thought; I posted your comment to Secular Sri Lanka discussion group (see http://groups.google.com/group/secular-sri-lanka-discussions/browse_thread/thread/4b296f08733986aa ). There are many intellectuals’ who are discussing on various topics. I highly recommend you to participate on the Secular Sri Lanka discussions (link http://forum.secularsrilanka.com/ )

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