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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.
Sr. Maiontika who was the part time staff left for India for her tertianship and Sch. Zenith joined the team as a part-time staff on 11thJune. We had both the welcome and farewell Mass on 21 June. Sr. Maiontika was appreciated for her commitment and creativity. She thanked Loyola Campus for the opportunity given to her to reach out to the students at margins. Sch. Zenith explained the staff the purpose of regency during Jesuit formation and requested support to realize his goals.
There is drastic progress in the attendance of the Dickoya GEL programme. Now almost all the students attend the classes. The reason was that the school principal intervened and warned the students that they would be out of school if they do not attend the GEL programme. The number increased from 40 to 80 and managing them in two classes was a huge challenge. After a discussion during the staff meeting, the Centre divided the students into four classes and we have requested one B1 level student to volunteer along with three staff.
We conducted the online placement test for the students who follow the GEL programme of JWL on 18 June at the centre. Since the students at teacher training college had gone for teaching practice, we could not conduct for them. There is a huge gap between the results of the online test and the written and oral test we conducted in the beginning of the course.
There is a huge decline in the attendance of the students at the teacher training college. 54 students participated both in written and oral placement test on 14May. But at the end of May, the number decreased to 12. There were many reasons for the decline. The Centre hopes to strategize its involvement at the Teacher Training School in order to provide better opportunities for the teachers in training.
A number of programmes have kept the staff and students busy at Loyola Campus- Hatton. It has been a month for a number of new initiatives and programmes. It has indeed, brought new life and a lot of hope for the Centre.
Loyola Campus- Hattonbegan the Global English Language (GEL) programme of JWL at the Teacher Training College (TTC) in Kotagala on 15 May. The placement test was conducted the same day. There were about 54 teachers who took part in both the oral and written placement test. Placement test indicated that most of them were in Pre-Intermediate level with a few exceptions and so we decided to follow B1 English Unlimited Book. The classes at the Training College is for four days a week from Monday to Thursday for one hour each day. This initiative od training the teachers in English is expected to bring so much good for the students in and around Hatton.
Tertiary Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) has introduced a new rule for the final exam of the computer students. All the students who pass in the entrance exam are eligible for the final exam. There were no entrance exams in the past. Entrance exam fee is Rs. 500. Though forty students were registered for the final exam with TVEC, only eleven students have given their name for the entrance exam. Since students had completed their studies in April, many students do not show interest in taking part the entrance exam.
Staff of Hatton had a one-day tour to Trincomalee. The Centre is grateful to the Jesuit community for the accommodation and Fr. Aniston for his hospitality.
Loyola Campus- Hatton moves ahead in attempting to serve the most needed groups of people in and around Hatton. To this end, the Centre has taken a number of initiatives. Through creating a network of collaborators Loyola Campus- Hatton hopes that the cause of uplifting the life and dignity of estate population will be a reality.
The Certificate Awarding ceremony of the first bath of students from Loyola Campus- Hatton was held on 11 April 2018. Mr Siva Rajendren, the President, College of Education, Batticaloa was the Chief Guest. Fr. Dexter Gray SJ, the Provincial of the Sri Lankan Jesuit Province was the Guest of Honour. In his speech, he emphasized that Loyola Campus is not only for Tamils or Sinhalese but for all the Sri Lankans. Fr. Milroy, the Country Director of Loyola Campus, insisted that the main purpose of Loyola Campus is to Educate, Empower, Transform and bring Reconciliation among the people.
The students skillfully performed all the speeches, songs and plays in English. The starter students acted a wonderful English drama about the pros and cons of modern technology. Sr Maiondika worked hard to train the students. The students of Abbotsligh School performed a short skit on ecology and it was trained by Ms. Sindhuja, the English Facilitator.
Thirty-seven students of starter level and seventeen of Elementary level wrote the final exam on 27thApril. Earlier on 25thand 26ththey wrote their computer exams. Unfortunately some of them could not complete their exam due to their carelessness and Ms. Gunavathani ordered them to reappear once again for the exam in the near future.
Eleven students sat for their NVQ final examination on 29 March 2018. TVEC issued 18 NVQ certificates and the students received them on the Graduation day. Forty students who follow English courses at present, had also applied for NVQ Exam. Only 32 of them were selected to appear for the exam. TVEC has been requested to conduct the exam for the second batch students in May 2018. The delay in conducing computer exam by the TVEC affects both attendance and result of the exam.
Women’s day at Hatton started with the video clippings of Ms Michelle Obama’s address during the international women’s day in 2012 and the message of the UN Secretary General on the international women’s day in 2018. The elementary class female students shared their thoughts on what the international women’s day personally meant to them. And the male students took an oath that they would respect women and support the cause of women along with their female colleagues. Sr. Maiontika, FMM sister who is teaching English to the students as a temporary staff coached a skit on women issues. Other staff trained a few other students to prepare a programme for women’s day celebration on 8th.
Loyola Campus- Hatton organised a parents’ meeting which was attended by around 50 parents. Ms Sindhuja, the English Facilitator moderated the meeting. The students arranged the programme. All the students performed on stage in English. Fr. Premkumar shared the aim, activities and the history of Loyola Campus and CSC with the parents through a powerpoint presentation. Ms. Yogitha, the administrator of the Centre for Social Concern facilitated the interaction of the parents. Some of the parents expressed their joy about the work of Loyola Campus.
The staff felt the need to have regular training to enhance their capacity in teaching. Three English Facilitators had the training on 15 March 2018. Each Facilitator presented one lesson from the text book and others gave feedback. It was more of mutual learning.
Sr. Clare, an ICM sister from India known for her expertise on street play, playback theatre, stress management, flower theropy and theatre of the oppressed spent three days with our students from 26thto 28thof February and gave a workshop. She motivated the students to develop their personality through various theatric skills. The exercises given to the students helped them to come out of fear, explore their creativity and discipline their behavior
Loyola Campus Hatton is blessed with 197 students in three locations. At Loyola Campus Hatton there are around 132 students: 44 for starter English course, 26 for elementary and 62 for Computer Application Assistant course. The Centre also gives English Starter course at two government high schools: there are 35 students at Dickoya TMV (Tamil Maha Vidyalaya) and 30 at Abotsligh TMV.
The Centre has 62 students doing their Computer Application Course in three batches. Till recently, the students of Loyola Campus Hatton had only 8 laptops and 7 desktops. A few students in each batch could not have access to the computers due to lack of sufficient computers. However, the Centre hopes to expand the infrastructure in order to offer best possible service to the students.
At the end of two months an evaluation of teachers and thee academic programme of the Centre was conducted on 27 February. It was quite helpful in obtaining a first-hand experience on the performance of the Centre from the students.
The facilitators along with the students went to Sri Pada for a picnic on 16 February. More than 55 students, four staff and 4 FMM sisters took part. The path was so crowded that it took 6 hours to reach the top. They were thrilled to see the sunrise and the beauty of the nature from the hill top.
Loyola Campus Hatton started the New Year 2018 with enthusiasm and hope. The campus is full of boys and girls mostly those who have just completed their GCE Ordinary Level exam. They bring a lot of joy and desire in learning English and computer skills. More than 60 boys and girls have enrolled for the courses at the moment. They remain faithful to the classes and the timetable.
Unlike the previous batch most of the students who have enrolled in January 2018 come from the tea estates. The Centre’s efforts in visiting estate schools and parishes for recruitment have yielded good results. The placement test for the new batch was conducted on 8 January. To our surprise there were already 30 students who sat for the placement test on the first day itself. Gradually more students started coming.
The inauguration of Loyola Campus- JWL English classes at Abotsligh School was held on 22 January. The classes will be conducted for Grade 9 students. Around 60 students along with their English teachers participated during the inauguration. Grade 9 students had their placement test on the same day. Later they were divided into two classes. The classes at this school will be for two hours a day and three days a week.
Five diocesan priests from Tamil Nadu, India visited Loyola Campus Hatton on 24January. Their visit was primarily for a feasibility study of assisting the war affected Tamils. The director requested them to address the students. They motivated the students in acquiring important skills that can bring their better economic and life opportunities.
It was a month full of activities and excitement. The students who commenced their classes in September 2017 had the last month of classes. They were eager to complete their course successfully. Many of them were expecting the results of GCE advanced level exam by the end of December. The Centre and the staff feels quite pleased with the improvement the students have shown.The four months period where the students were a part of Loyola Campus education programme, has brought a number of changes in them. It is not limited to their ability to speak in English alone.
The students had their final exam on 18 December. Loyola Campus- Hatton also arranged a parent-teacher meeting on 19 December. It was helpful in a number of ways. The parents had an opportunity to witness to the learning environment of the students and also discuss with the facilitators and staff about areas of their concerns. The annual staff evaluation was on 20 December. The facilitators and staff evaluated the administration of the courses at Loyola Campus- Hatton and the strengths and weaknesses identified during the last couple of months. The students had their Christmas celebration and farewell on 21 December.
The students were also busy writing articles for the upcoming issue of Vidyana, Loyola Campus magazine. As the theme proposed, ‘Forgotten Heores’, the students wrote about people and communities in their locality they consider had witnessed heroic qualities. One such group was the the sanitation workers who keep Hatton clean. To write the article about them, a group of students along with the Dean of Studies Sr Sahaya Mary FMM visited Aluthgama village and interviewed the people. Such efforts gave opportunity to interact with the marginalized and motivated them to be people oriented.
Fr. Premkumar SJ gave this workshop on 15 and 21 December. He started the workshop from his own captivity story in Afghanistan and explained about the sources of the conflict in the world and the need for peace building in the world especially in Sri Lanka. Since women and children are the worst affected due to conflicts, they become natural promoters of peace. The students were asked to imagine Sri Lanka in 2050, Sri Lankan education in 2050 and women in Sri Lanka in 2050. The students were actively involved in preparing charts and presentations on their vision of Sri Lanka 2050. The ultimate aim of Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) and Loyola Campus Sri Lanka is to bring reconciliation in the world. This workshop attempted to bring awareness among the students on reconciliation and peace building.
Formal inauguration of the first Global English Language (GEL) course and 9thComputer Applications Assistant course took place at Loyola Campus- Hatton on 10thOctober. Zonal Director of Education, Mr. Sridaran was the Chief Guest and Fr. Milroy SJ, the Country Director of Loyola Campus- Sri Lanka and Mr. Davakumar, the Inspector of Police, Hatton were the guests of honour. The entire program was in English except the speech by the Chief Guest and the presentation on Loyola Campus-Hatton by the Director.
The visit of Fr. Milroy SJ and Thiranjala Weerasinghe from the Country Office has brought a few useful changes at Loyola Campus- Hatton. The Computer Application Assistant course which was conducted by the Centre for Social Concern (CSC) for the last eight batches will be a part of Loyola Campus- Hatton from the 9thbatch.
The inauguration of Global English Programme at Dickoya School, Hatton was held on 23rdOctober. The course will be conducted for the benefit of 9thstandard students. The aim of this program is to reduce the dropout rates in the estate schools after Ordinary Level Exams. Since many fail in English, secondary education is a distant dream and blue collar jobs in Colombo become the easy solution. Around 80 students along with their parents and the teachers participated in the inauguration. The Principal of the school welcomed the staff of Loyola Campus- Hatton. Fr. Premkumar explained the historical development of Loyola Campus through a power point presentation. On the same day the students had their placement test and they were divided into two classes. The classes at this school will be for two hours a day and three days a week.
Loyola Campus- Hatton has commenced its outreach programme of educating the estate children who receive less opportunities and attention through conducting classes at one of the remote estate schools at Dickoya, Hatton. Loyola Campus through its collaboration with Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) attempts to bring education to those who need it the most. By providing education opportunities for the generation of young men and women, Loyola Campus attempts to create change in the society where human person enjoys a sense of peace, liberation and freedom.