On the trail of the SDG Action Campaign, the UNLOCKED team met up with Rev. Father Piyal Jayathilaka, the principal of St. Xavier’s College Marawilla. Situated on the A3 main road, in the middle of a growing suburb in the Puttalam district, St. Xavier’s stands strong with a student body of over 1,700 students. However, according to Rev. Jayathilake, his school comes under the threat of flooding during the rainy season almost every year.
The school leads by example when making its students aware of sustainable good practices, supporting the students to build a water conservation system that nurtures a garden that provides free breakfast to the students. Ironically, this sustainable garden perished in a recent flooding in May. The principal, staff and students unanimously attribute these recent gushing of water to poor town planning and road construction.
“Our school now sits at a lower elevation from the road due to years of poorly thought out road construction” – says Rev. Jayathilaka. He adds, “though they have added many layers of carpet to the road, there is no real drain system to dispel the rainwater that gathers on it. The water floods in to the school, damaging school property and disrupting the student’s education”.
Lending his voice to the ongoing UNLOCKED conversation on “Climate Change and Urban Resilience”, the reverend principal adds that there should be a national level policy preventing such road construction or any other form of urban development project without due research on the adverse effects that it can have on the surrounding environment. “What might seem like a minor incident to many officials is disrupting many lives, disrupting the education of more than 1,700 students’ and impacting their future” says the reverend principal.
The reverend points to two of the building in his school premises saying; “look at the two buildings, the way they have been constructed side by side, one blocks the ventilation and sunlight to the other. The increased heat inside the building forces us to waste more power to keep it cool and lit inside. I hope that we can have better standardized planning for all our schools in the country”.
A passionate educator, reverend Jayathilaka calls for standardized infrastructure planning in public institutions, that helps the schools face climate change and related challenges with sustainable solutions. “start at the schools, lead our children by example so these children will inherit a better future”- he concludes.
UNLOCKED is an open space for you to let your voices be heard. Till August 2019 the space is open for you to express opinions on how Sri Lanka can build resilient cities and towns that can withstand the challenges of climate change while actively reducing it. Connect with us through [email protected]
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[…] The Unlocked.lk team met up with Dr. Novil Wijesekara to discuss his latest research on the comfort levels of students in schools. The research focuses on conditions inside classrooms such as humidity and heat. As we discuss climate resilient urban planning on Unlocked.lk, the research highlighted adds an important perspective on the need to integrate sustainable planning for schools. Click to read the article on the need for school infrastructure. […]