|Why this discrimination?
I thought of writing this letter after having read in your paper (The Island January 14) an advertisement calling applications for the post of principal of a leading private school in Colombo. Certainly I am not interested in the post without having the requisite teaching experience. However I was aghast when I read that the main criteria for eligible candidates that they "should be Christians."
Karl Popper wrote his famous book some decades ago with the title Open Society and its enemies which became the bible of libertarians the world over. I thought that in the 21st Century we have reached a stage where we are inexorably moving towards an open society where there is no room for discrimination on grounds or race (sic), colour, creed, caste or gender. The advertisement does raise certain issues in the context of the values we are trying to inculcate in this enlightened age when liberal democracy and market economy have received almost universal acceptance.
The school may be a private institution but does it mean that non-Christians have no place? Are all the students in the school Christians? If not are non-Christian students expected to learn catechism? Does the government give any assistance to the school? We do not have private Buddhist schools now.
We had many before the nationalization of schools in the 1960s but as far as I know there had been no discrimination on religious grounds by those schools when staff members were selected. In fact, some of those schools had non-Buddhists holding the post of principal. Many of the per diem conflict resolution resource persons speak of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism but what do they think of the advertisement by a leading Christian school.
I was also shocked to see the address given in the advertisement, which was once the
abode of one of the finest human beings produced in this country and one of the brilliant
products of the Ceylon University.
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