'No military training for students'
The role played by the three armed forces in educating the students at the Leadership Training Programmes is only a small portion of the training and it cannot be considered 'militarization' or 'military training' as many refer to it," Military Spokesperson, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said to Ceylon Today.
He said the training programme, where university entrants are given training on leadership skills, at 22 centres around the island, has been misconstrued by the Ceylon Teachers' Services Union, Ceylon Teachers' Union and the Inter University Students' Federation.
"The armed forces, police and the National Cadet Commission (NCC) provide facilities, resources, leadership instructions, and activities promoting growth of personalities and self-confidence. In the two-week period that the training lasts, the work done by us forms a very minor role. University lecturers and the University Grants Commission (UGC) manage the bulk of the work being done in these camps," Brigadier Wanigasooriya pointed out.
He emphasized that everything is implemented in line with the policies drawn up by the Higher Education Ministry regarding the training programme."These programmes are definitely not militarily-lead processes. We also do not claim to the experts in the field of leadership, but we do have some expertise, which we share with the students," the Brigadier said.
Referring to the claims by several teachers' unions regarding the use of army camps to carry out the training programmes, he said, "I don't think there are any other locations in Sri Lanka which can provide accommodation to as many as 10,000 students at a given time. If they have a problem with the military camps hosting the students, then they must also come forward and offer an alternative solution."
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