The month of July turned out to be a happy and a significant one for the staff and the students to have both the former and the new directors together at Loyola Campus. Their presence and commitment set an example among the youngsters to grasp the meaning of unity, collaboration, and companionship. Thiranjala Weerasinghe is getting ready to leave to Birmingham to continue his religious formation. The staff and the students thank him wholeheartedly for his unfailing and dedicated service rendered to the Campus and wish him all the best for his future endeavors.
At the moment we keep ourselves busy with finding ways to promote students for the new batch starting from September. It is a tremendous joy to see how the present students show interest in spreading the news about Loyola Campus among their friends and younger ones. It is a sign that learning English empowers our students to come forward to get involved in volunteer work.
There is a rapid growth in mutual respect and understanding between the staff and the students. On one hand teachers try hard to give their best to students and on the other hand students prove that they are interested by completing the works given. We are really blessed with equal number of students in both upper intermediate and elementary classes. Our credit goes to the former director and for all those who worked hard to promote the students to come to Loyola Campus.
In the middle of the month Fr Emil Susantha SJ, the new director visited Karisel and visited the parents of the children of the evening class. Though it was a pre-planned visit, the parents were little shocked to receive a priest in their midst. No wonder that his visit might have created a sense of care.
It would be correct to name the month of July as a silent month. There was a deep sense of silence which was prevailing throughout the campus. The major reason for this was the dwindling number of students. Especially after the last batch which was high in number the present situation is like a big vacuum. Even though the number is less the teachers take maximum efforts to continue the classes in an usual manner. The present situation also reminds us that our focus should be the quality of the individuals who are strengthened through our efforts rather than worrying about the numbers.
Mr Billy and Mr Callum, the Australian volunteers took a month break starting from 22 June until 23 July in order to spend some time with their relatives and friends who visited them from Australia. It was a well deserving holiday for them after all their hard work and constant availability at the campus. During their break they were kind enough to visit the campus with their family and friends. They also had a common interaction with the students which added to the international exposure of the students.
We have been busy with our preparations to commence the next batch. We initiated it by trying to give a new outlook to the campus. We had to place a new iron covering mesh on our well removing the sheets which were on it under the recommendations of the Dengue Prevention unit. We also repainted our walls and planning to make them more attractive before commencing the classes for the new batch. We are also planning to restructure the children’s classes that we conduct within our campus as an outreach programme. Through this we hope that more children will benefit from the opportunity offered to them.
During the month of July Fr Richard Pitchchai SJ, the Director of Loyola Campus- Puthukkudiyiruppu has been out of Sri Lanka attending the Ignatian Immersion Programme in Spain for a period of a month. He is expected to be back in Puthukkudiyiruppu by the first week of August. In the absence of Fr Richard SJ, Ms Vathani Balasubramaniam, the English Facilitator has been entrusted the responsibility of looking after the daily functioning of the Centre.
At the moment in Puthukkudiyiruupu there are no adult students for English language classes. There seems to be a clear lack of a strategy in attracting new students and reaching out to villages in and around Puthukkudiyiruppu. While the Centre has concentrated on classes offered at the Centre, a renewed effort is expected to boost the intake of students from the upcoming batches. As there is a big student population in and around Puthukkudiyiruppu scattered in different villages, the Centre is expected to develop a clear strategy in getting these students and motivating them.
While the students in Puthukkudiyiruppu feel the need for English and Computer knowledge which will enhance their future prospects, the Centre has not yet been able to tap into this group of youth. The Cambridge English Language Programme offered by JWL and the Computer programmes offered by Loyola Campus will definitely become a great source of upliftment for these individuals in recreating a better future for themselves and their societies. In the coming weeks, the staff and the Director hopes to reach out to Principals, Parish Priests and other village leaders in widely advertising the courses offered at Loyola Campus.
Giving a healthy education for every student who comes Loyola Campus is the goal of Loyola Campus- Trincomalee. The Centre strive to progress and help develop the skills of the students. By creating a generation of skillful youth Loyola Campus- Trincomalee hopes to make a change in the society. We strive for progress, not perfection. Our campus is trying harder and harder to achieve this goal.
The students who follow the Cambridge English Language Programme of JWL have sat for the online English Placement Test. While there were a number of disparities in the results that they obtained and the English knowledge of the students, the Centre and Staff have tried to find the best level that suits the students. At the moment all the students are placed in the Elementary class. Progress tests under each unit are conducted and corrections are done regularly.
Mr Luke, the volunteer form Australia left Trincomalee after having completed his term in Sri Lanka. Mr Aiden, the new Australian volunteer has been extremely helpful in conducted the regularly classes. Mr Aiden is involved in teaching at Loyola Campus- Trincomalee and St Joseph’s College Trincomalee. His presence is much appreciated.
Centre for Justice and Change (CJC) an organization established for the promotion of human rights and law in societies have come forward to conduct certificate programmes in basic law, personality development, human resource management, self-evaluation etc. The students of Loyola Campus- Trincomalee are beneficiaries. The classes are conducted on Saturdays. These classes immensely help the students to improve themselves.
Evening classes are running as usual. As the number of students coming for elocution class is more, the teacher who is in charge has decided to divide the students into two batches.
We have been conducting starter course for the 10 standard students at Dickoya School since October 2017. Our plan was to complete this course in six months. Since the grasp of students was so poor, we were able to complete only 6 lessons so far. Constant breaks and irregularity of the students affect the quality of the programme and the staffs are disappointed with the progress of the programme. There was a very positive response from the students of Abbotsleigh, as they were very much interested in GEL program and they came up with innovative presentations during the class hours.
Since there are a few students who come to Loyola campus, we are able to devote much attention to the individuals. We are delighted to hear them speaking in English in the campus. We have twenty Teacher Training students who attend regular classes in Kotagala. Nowadays teachers are very eager to go through GEL programme.
Our students who have gone through NVQ course from January to April, wrote their final exam on 28th July at Nuwara Eliya. Eighteen students were given special training to face the exams confidently.
Fr. Prem, Sr. Sahaya Mary and Mrs. Yogitha have visited six schools and addressed both the students and the parents for the recruitment of next batch. It is still in progress.
Fr. James SJ from Deraniyagala Parish conducted a session on Justice and Reconciliation from the perspective of people who work in tea estates. We had staff training program by Fr. Alexis Premkumar on collaborative leadership. Staff members shared their views and opinions on collaborative leadership and a few themes emerged for future discussion and presentation. Staff members spend their time on Fridays to improve their writing skills and they come to our center on Saturdays to learn phonetics from sch. Zenith SJ.
Loyola Campus Batticaloa has been a source of inspiration for students in Batticaloa and has a remarkable respect among other private educational institutes. The institution has formed a number of students who are now capable of being good citizens with responsibility and accountability. Having understood the importance of education, especially in English and computer skills, this institution is so enthusiastic in providing the necessary knowledge to the students who are learning here.
As this institution is functioning with the motive of improving the educational standards of students in both English and IT, it has also encountered many challenges. The assurance of being a good educational institute is given by the dedicated staff at Loyola Campus Batticaloa. The institution needs to be flexible with regard to the timing of classes as different students have commitments. However, the students don’t lack their usual interest and enjoy attending classes.
The centre was busy with evening and morning classes as usual. A volunteer, Xavier from Australia joined Loyola Campus Batticaloa in the month of July and his presence is one of the highlighted occurrences of the month. The students were so happy to learn from Xavier due to his dedication and enthusiasm. This is the second time that a volunteer has visited Batticaloa Loyola campus.
Regular staff meetings for the month of July focused on the staffs and students. A meeting with the students who had followed the courses was held on 14 July 2018. Almost all the students attended the meeting. Overall, July has been a very productive and enjoyable month for the staff and students of Loyola Campus in Batticaloa.
Fr George Tokes SJ, the Director of Loyola Campus- Mullaitivu has taken a number of initiatives in encouraging the students and children to attend the music, dance and art classes conducted at the Centre. There is a good demand for these classes and the parents are quite interested in sending their students. In order to encourage the students in acquiring these skills, the students form dance class was invited to perform on the feast day of St Ignatius of Loyola, 31 July for the Jesuits who are working in the Northern Mission. The students performed two dance programmes. Jesuits and the parents who were invited for the occasion enjoyed and appreciated the performance of the students.
Fr George Tokes SJ hopes to visit a number of schools in and around Mullaitivu in spreading the news about the new intake in September 2018. The Centre needs a effective strategy in getting more students and winning the confidence of parents. This will definitely lead towards an increase of student numbers. As the Centre develops English and Computer teachers will have to be recruited. Finding qualified and competent teachers who are committed in serving the students remain a challenge for the Centre. At the moment the Centre is in look out for qualified teachers who can be a part of the academic programme of the Centre from September 2018.
The Centre hopes to have a good batch of students for the next intake that will stabilize the academic programme offered at the Centre in collaboration of JWL. The Cambridge English Programme of JWL will definitely assist the students in Mullaitivu and help to bring out the best in them.
The month of June brought about many changes both within the Campus and within the mindsets of the students. The month began with ‘World Environment Day’ in which students partook in small activities and watched numerous short videos and speeches concerning the wellbeing of the earth. This day was not only beneficial in enhancing the students’ ability to speak publically in English but also in the development of their understanding of the growing environmental issues in our world. As a result of this day, students came up with numerous plans to encourage sustainability within the Loyola Campus including; disposing and separating garbage, using less plastic and planting more trees. The day also included the planting of a tree within the campus symbolic of the progress of the students’ environmental maturity.
This month also brought about more changes within the staff of our Loyola Campus with our longest tenured staff member, Dina Nirushana, leaving to Peradeniya National College of Education. Her commitment and work within the campus has been greatly appreciated and she has made a huge impression in the lives of all of her students not only through her ability to teach English but also through her generous nature. She will be missed deeply within this community and we wish her all the best for her future endeavours. The departure of Dina Nirushana also came with the recruitment of a new staff member, Thigashan, who will be taking both Elementary and Pre-Intermediate classes. Bro. Francis S.J also said goodbye to the campus in order to pursue his higher studies. During his short tenure at the campus, he helped us immensely for the campus maintenance also conducted spoken Sinhala classes.
The GEL classes are being conducted for A2, B1 and B2 level students in spite of the low number of students. The less number of students in a way has given us a chance give individual attention for each and every student. We also have ample time to conduct various class room activities to develop the practical English skills of the students.