Extract from Newsletter No.6 of 62 Group
There are about 299 Boarders and 154 Day Boys in College.
The total School Fees only, @ Rs.1,500/- per student, from
450 students, is about Rs.675,000/-. The total Boarding fees
only @ Rs.2,000/- per student, from 300 students is about
Rs.600,000/-. The total collection of fees is therefore about
Rs.1,275,000/-. A large proportion of students do not pay
their fees on time. The aggregate Wage Bill of all Employees
is approximately Rs.875,750/- per month. The total salary
of 39 members in the Tutorial Staff is about Rs.305,518/-
plus E.P.F, E.T.F (and Pension). The total salary of 56 members
in the Minor Staff is about Rs.254,950/- plus EPF and ETF.
The total salary of 15 employees handling Administration,
Accounts and Miscellaneous, exceeds Rs.100,000/- plus EPF
and ETF (and Pension). The Food Bill of the Boarders is Rs.325,000/-.
postage, printing, stationery, petrol, bakery, maintenance,
laundry, library, sick-room, chapel, games, telephone, water,
College stores, travelling, general expenses, electricity
and security services etc, etc aggregate to approximately
Rs.400,000/-. Thus, the total collection of fees, i.e Rs.1,275,000/-,
even if made on time, is not sufficient to meet the monthly
commitment, i.e Rs.1,600,000/-. College has 15 employees in
the Administration and Accounts Section etc. to handle a student
population of 450. Yet, Royal, Visakha, Isipathana, STPS Kollupitiya,
Alethea, Stafford, CIS and STC Mt with student populations
of 8000, 4288,400,1009,990,740,1270 & 2280 respectively
have 15, 15, 15, 10, 10, 07, 16 & 15 employees respectively
handling Administration and Accounts. Even in 1983 when there
were 1,247 students at Gurutalawa, there were only 37 minor
employees. Today there are 56 minor employees.
are 18 employees attached to the kitchen; 4 each attached
to the Farm, Conservancy and Keble; 03 each for Class Rooms,
Driving and Bakery, out of the 56 in the minor Staff. At least
18 employees are on contract or temporary. There are 15 members
on the Tutorial Staff of 38 on contract or temporary basis.
However, there are only 05 on contract or on temporary basis
in a minor staff of 56. The rest have been made permanent.
The proportion of students to paid employees is 4 :1 (which
is very high). Perhaps 20-25% of the employees may be redundant.
Somebody appears to have blundered down the line by generously
issuing permanent letters of Appointment. 07 members on the
tutorial staff get less pay than those in the administration.
An English Assistant Teacher and a Kindergarten Teacher are
paid even less than Conservancy Labourers. In Dr. Hayman’s
last year, ie. 1962 when there were 300 boarders (ie. the
identical number as at present) and the boarding and school
fees was approximately Rs. 125/- per month, there were only
3 employees handling accounts and administration. No student
was in arrears of fees. The staff was contented, the campus,
buildings, gardens, could not have looked better. The staff
were totally resident on the campus, fully involved in sports
and extra curricular activities, for no additional allowances.
Today more than 50% of the staff quarters are vacant, abandoned,
and not maintained. The involvement of most of the staff with
the college ceases as soon as classroom work is over. Boxing,
Tennis, Gymnastics, Hiking, Cross Country Runs, Outward Bound
School, Bird Watching, Physical Training, Horse Riding, Scouting
are things of the past. The present generation of Thomians
do not enjoy these outdoor activities. Swimming, Basket Ball,
Badminton, Volley Ball, Hockey etc. are played superficially.
The college magazine has disappeared.
Library is not updated. All buildings, and facilities like
electricity, water service, telecommunication, sanitary, drainage,
gardens, accommodation, food, have deteriorated to such an
extent that the system hangs on a thin thread. Roofs of the
Dining Hall, Class Rooms, Dormitories are all leaking and
hence any new furniture put in by well meaning old boys are
bound to deteriorate rapidly. Despite the fact that college
can boast of two highly qualified members on the teaching
staff having over 20 years service at Guru, some vital areas
of tutoring like English have been thoroughly neglected.
The Primary Section is said to have a capacity of 300 Boarders.
Yet there are only 76. Even girls who apply will be taken
to the Primary Section and allowed to continue up to Ordinary
Level. They do extremely well in work and carry away many
prizes, but do not participate in any extra curricular activities
and are not afforded any facilities for Sports. Visiting mothers
sleep with their sons in the Primary Section Dormitories.
These children of 5 years or so are expected to consume the
same food prepared in the main kitchen for all adults. Proper
alternate lighting has not been provided for these young children
during power cut hours. Teachers were providing same at their
expense. The co-op stores were reported not to have any candles.
Several dogs have made the Dining Hall their home. Parents
bring rice parcels and have access to the Dining Hall to consume
same. Parents are found within Dormitories visiting children.
are accommodated in the sick-room to give moral support while
students sit the Ordinary Level Exam. Couples who are not
parents of the same child had made use of these opportunities.
Despite employment of two drivers for the college vans they
were driven regularly for normal college errands by Accounts
staff. The Vans were used for personal errands of such staff
and misused on the basis of errands to purchase vegetables.
During holidays in the absence of the Head Master the vans
were used to learn driving on the Tennis Court; the Campus
was given out to Garment Factory girls for camps; the Head
Master’s Bungalow was made available for partying to
Police Officers and Garment Factory Officers. Farm animals
have been sold and proceeds not credited. Farm and College
property, eg. Deep Freezers, Bicycles, and Vehicles were retained
by office staff in their homes. Beds and other items of furniture
were removed out of the Campus by office staff. Beds taken
to the grounds for the “First Aid Post” during
Sports Meets find their way in to the adjoining villages.
Building materials brought to the campus by way of donations
or otherwise find their way out of the campus. Boarders who
pay for food have almost all their meals from the Canteen
on Standing Orders placed by Parents.
take short cuts across areas normally “out of bounds
“. Cattle, dogs, and cats are permitted to graze and
loiter in areas of unprotected wells. Discarded footwear ,
soiled garments, animal dung and other refuse, float in wells
, supplying water. Senior students tie pieces of cloth to
their taps in toilets and washing areas to filter worms coming
through. Non availability of proper electricity and water
to staff quarters despite deductions being made on that score
from their salaries. Failure to attend to basic urgent and
essential maintenance and repairs of Staff Quarters. Students
leave the college campus during the lunch interval to purchase
and consume food from boutiques at the 6th Mile Post. Senior
school leavers are reported to pile up and make a bon fire
of their mattresses on their last night in school.
Bricks, Broken glass and other objects are stuffed in to toilet
commodes by school leavers that night as a mark of protest
against a non caring College. The doors of Dormitories of
younger students are forced open by Seniors staying on for
their O’Level, and their cupboards, and suitcases are
broken open and personal belongings like clothes removed.
Windows are forced open and students break out of the Campus
in the night and proceed to Welimada Church for Christmas
service during O’Levels. Senior Students rag and assault
Juniors the day before the latter sit for their O’Levels
so that a riot breaks out and the Police are summoned to quell
it. According to the last Head Master this was supposed to
be a “Tradition”. We know nothing about it.
of reading and writing facilities in the dormitories. Harassment
of tutorial staff and malicious delay in payment of their
salaries on the due date, by Accounts Staff. Failure to deposit
cash collections as required. Levying tuition fees and other
charges from students when not due. Large scale irregularities
in financial controls of the Accounts Department, particularly
where purchases are concerned. Entertaining Invoices from
“Friendly” suppliers long after alleged date of
supply. Paying the same Invoice several times over. Irregular
purchases are made of groceries etc. from Welimada and payments
are made haphazardly. Not making purchases from the most convenient
places and going all the way to Bandarawela. Not being able
to purchase items at wholesale prices although purchasing
is on a regular basis. Confidential information/ documentation
between the Head Master and the Manager of the school being
intercepted and leaked out to interested parties, by office
staff who are hostile to the Administration and moles operating
in close proximity to the Head Master and who have access
to the Head Master’s Room. A note in the Fees invoice
sent to parents has a warning that boys whose fees are in
arrears will be sent home without notice. Instances are reported
of boys having been packed off by bus in this manner. Pension
and Provident Fund deductions made from salaries of staff
not being remitted as required in Law.
computer from the computer room in the new Dining Hall and
Administration block which had its soft opening immediately
before the last AGM spirited away within weeks and found dumped
in a dustbin minus its Hard Disk which contained confidential
and sensitive data. The computers were therefore removed elsewhere
for security reasons. Monies requisitioned to make purchases
of items for sale at the last Thomian Fair have been frittered
away without proper accounting. Some of the items for sale
never reached Mt. Lavinia. 37 Credit Sales Memo Books of the
Farm are not available and are unaccounted. Minor staff are
reported to partake of their meals before students and some
times seated at the Staff Dining table. Cooked food is taken
out of Campus. This is reported even on the occasion of the
Re-Union Dinner. Groceries in fair quantities are surreptitiously
removed from the campus daily in small quantities. Employees
have found numerous foot paths out of the campus instead of
the main gate. The fences around the campus have all been
of the college grounds have virtually been given up and its
present use by college is virtually on an understanding with
the villagers. The minor staff are found idling during working
hours without attending to their work on a regular basis.
Labourers have been promoted to supervise labourers. Currently
any student seeking admission is taken in. An undesirable
student taken in without verifying his school leaving documentation
had on one occasion inculcated the “drug abuse”
habit for the first time at Gurutalawa.
previous Head Master was forced to abruptly adjourn staff
meetings when the staff had become too hostile. Prefects who
are supposed to enforce discipline have been stripped of their
duties, en masse. Offensive posters attacking staff members
have been displayed in the college hall. Vulgar and indecent
comments concerning staff members have been found, and senior
students have been sacked for these misdemeanours. It is strongly
believed that these were instigated by other staff members.
Without Resident Masters in charge of dormitories housed adjacent
to the dormitories discipline is difficult to be enforced.
The standard of English has hit very low depths.
students come from a completely different social background.
There are no Old Boys on the tutorial staff. The quality of
the tutorial staff has fallen. Until recently, the minor staff
and the administration staff were very indisciplined, took
advantage of the weak administration, were virtually running
the show, and treating College property as their own. The
above ills and short comings are the cumulative result of
years of poor management and administration and lack of long
term planning. Dr. Hayman served the college for an unbroken
period of 20 years. He had a vision. He was alive to the needs
and plans for the future. From 1963 to date there have been
almost 14 Head Masters. There has been no continuity of policy.
Each has had his own agenda and priorities. There have been
murders and suicides on the Campus.
OF THESE GLARING SHORTCOMINGS ARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE PRESENT
HEAD MASTER. HE IS MAKING A VALIANT EFFORT AND STEADY PROGRESS.
HE HAS THE SUPPORT AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE OBA AND OLD BOYS,
AND NOW EVEN A GOOD SECTION OF THE STAFF. DESPITE THE CO-OPERATION
GIVEN BY ALL OF THEM THE RESULTS OF THE POOR MANAGEMENT AND
ADMINISTRATION OF HIS PREDECESSORS VISIT HIM AND WILL OVER
TAKE HIM GOING BY THE STATISTICS AND FACTS SET OUT ABOVE.
ALL THE EFFORTS, THE GENEROSITY, SACRIFICES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
MADE BY WELL MEANING OLD BOYS, PARENTS, AND STAFF IN WAIVING
ALLOWANCES OR CONSTRUCTING BUILDINGS OR PAINTING, RENOVATING,
REFURBISHING DORMITORIES OR CLASS ROOMS OR GIFTING SPORTS
OR OFFICE EQUIPMENT, CLASS ROOM FURNITURE, ETC. WILL NOT AND
CANNOT AVERT THE SIMPLE ARITHMETIC OF FINANCIAL VIABILITY.
NEW BUILDINGS OR PAINTING DORMS DO NOT A DEBIT BALANCE IN
THE BANK WIPE OUT. THE SOLUTION WILL HAVE TO BE FOUND IN CHANGING
MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION TECHNIQUES, THE CONCEPTS OF
THE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION AS A WHOLE AND OPENING THE DOORS
AND WINDOWS TO FRESH IDEAS AND VIEWS IN LINE WITH TO DAY’S
NEEDS, REALITIES AND MARKET FORCES. MODERN TRENDS AND CONCEPTS
SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS OPTIONS HAVING IN MIND THE UNIQUE
FEATURES AVAILABLE ON THE CAMPUS. THESE ARE NOT MATTERS A
WELL MEANING AND CAPABLE HEAD MASTER CAN ACCOMPLISH BY HIMSELF.
cannot be resolved even by an efficient and dedicated Manager
single handed assisting the Head Master. The Board of Governors
is far removed from realities and unaware of the ground situation
which is hidden from them. Those responsible, mistakenly though
with good intention, perhaps wishing to cushion the higher
ups, hide the truth. The Bishop, is too busy and preoccupied
with a vast array of responsibilities to single handedly find
solutions with the Head Master.