|Malik Candappa, an Old Boy of Guru, the immediate Past President
of the Canadian STC OBA Branch is in Sri Lanka. He visited Guru
on July 02 2008. He was accompanied by MPD Perera of his vintage
and also by LJ. He had discussions with the Headmaster and was
shown round the Campus by the HM as well as Mr. Jacques Huyghebaert.
He had with him a donation of $ 2500 for Guru which was being
transmitted through the Guru OBA. This was handed over to the
HM in his Office. At the HM’s invitation he addressed
the Prefects and also answered their questions. The HM entertained
Malik and the others to lunch. Almost all the vegetables for
lunch were those grown in the Farm.
Vegetable cultivation is being done on a large scale. Breakfast
and Dinner is provided for 420 persons. Lunch for 500. Chicken
is from the Farm and is given at least thrice a week. Eggs
are given daily, sometimes for breakfast but mostly for dinner.
The Milk for tea after breakfast, and in the afternoon is
provided from the farm. No longer is milk powder purchased.
300 loaves of bread are supplied by the College Bakery. The
students are given any quantity of bread that they demand.
There is no limit. Efforts are being constantly made to improve
the quality of food. However, considering the fact that the
current monthly Fees paid by boarders is Rs 7,000/-the food
provided has to be in keeping with that amount. The School
Fees covers all expenses including the Salaries, Allowances,
EPF, ETF, of the Academic and Non Academic as well as the
entire Support Staff; Electricity; Water; Telephone; Repairs
& Maintenance of all services including Motor Vehicles;
Sports Equipment; etc, etc.
Farm expenses are also considerable. Animal feed for the
Cattle Horses and Poultry has to be purchased. There are 09
Cows, 01 Bull and 02 Calves. 03 Cows are in the family way.
There are 705 Layers. The number of Broilers varies week to
week. Approximately 550 to 600 eggs are produced every day.
The excess is sold outside. Farm produce ie. Chicken, Eggs
and Vegetables are sold on credit to the College kitchen at
subsidized rates. Thus, the income is not collected immediately.
The names of the first batch of Horses are Charity, Faith
and Hope. The latest addition is Scooby Doo. Two other Horses
with inspirational names are also expected shortly. About
40 students joined the Riding Club at the inception. Presently
there are about 25 members. Students are charged Rs. 600 a
month as Membership Fees. There are 02 support staff to take
care of the Horses.
The College has recruited a Lady, Kalpana Kandage as Manager
of the Farm.
The College Co- op Stores is well stocked. It is to be reorganized
shortly. Sales are made to student are well as other campus
Residents. As a large part of the sales are on credit, this
income too is realized much later.
Some students delay in the settlement of fees. This creates
a problem for the management. But the Authorities are strict
There is a new Matron, Jennifer Barthelot at Keble. She is
a great help to the Authorities in managing the very young
children far away from their homes. She has utilized her own
finances to effect repairs and improvements at Keble.
There are 158 Juniors and 85 Senior in the Boarding. ie.
a total of 330. The total number of students on the Roll is
approximately 510. 180 - are Day Scholars. A decision has
been taken not to admit any further Day Scholars.
Meals are taken at 2 sittings. The Seniors and Juniors separately.
Thus the School Time Table is adjusted accordingly. At the
moment there are 25 tables in the Dining Hall. 6 students
are accommodated to a table. The Hall is large enough to accommodate
the balance 30 tables required to seat the entire Boarding
for meals at one sitting. However apart from the tables and
benches, plates, cups, saucers, and cutlery are also required
to be purchased.
The Night Toilets of the Junior Dorms were provided anew
by the OBA. The Girls’ Toilets at Keble were done by
Ladies College- Colombo. The Boys Night Toilets at Keble were
done by OTAUK. The Day Toilets for the Boys and the Staff
Toilets for those members resident outside the Campus at Keble
needs to be done and is next on the agenda.
We highlighted the state of the roof in the Wickremesinghe
Block. It could have collapsed at any moment. The roof has
now been repaired. Images are placed below.
The Orchard of old is now being made use of for vegetable
cultivation. It was heartening to observe the Persimmon and
Fairy Balls, Fruit Trees still growing though they do not
appear to bear fruit now. The Persimmon Tree can be seen in
the same spot. The Fairy Balls tree is immediately in front
of HM’s bungalow. Images of these are also placed below.
Trees adjacent to the Orchard are being felled as required
for urgent repairs to the roofs of the buildings. The roofs
of Keble in particular, are in need of urgent repairs. Not
only the roofs of the Class Rooms but even the roofs of the
Dorms are leaking and require urgent attention. Funds are
not available to purchase necessary building materials. Timber
which is at hand is therefore being made use of. Timber is
being stored in the old Lab.
Prep for Seniors is now being held in the Class Rooms above
the Dining Hall, whilst the Juniors have Prep in the Dining
Hall below. An additional Prep at the request of those students
sitting for public exams at the end of the year has been allowed
by the HM. They study late in to the night and are provided
with Coffee by the HM, who ensures that they do not get up
to any mischief.
The quality of food is constantly monitored and the students
have a big say in the preparation of the Menu. Wherever corrective
measures have to be taken the HM ensures speedy and effective
In the matter of Sports the lack of competent coaches is
a great drawback. For too long females had been recruited
in large numbers to the Staff. This had contributed to the
erosion of good discipline and the poor standard of sports.
Support groups of Old Boys, particularly from Australia, led
by the indefatigable Peter Weerakoon are addressing this problem
and already funds have been remitted to the OBA for this purpose.
The OBA have taken in hand a massive project to re-do the
Toilets of the Junior Dorms. Fund raising events have been
organized. Many Old Boys have given very generously to this
cause. The Senior Vice President of the OBA, Mahen Ranasinghe,
has led the way with a massive personal contribution.
We observe that the College Band is without equipment/ instruments.
It was pathetic and disheartening to learn that for every
College function or event, when the Band is required, instruments
are borrowed from the Muslim School just opposite.
As a large number of Computers were donated by Ed Rowlands
from Australia the IT Unit is functioning satisfactorily.
The HM hopes to purchase more up-to date machines and software
The Swimming Pool and its Purification Plant have both been
repaired and they are running smoothly. Krysantha Weerawardena
and MPD Perera were instrumental in getting things moving
and expended much finances and sweat in this regard. Krysantha
visited Guru on atleast 04 occasions in connection with repairs
to the Engine of the Purification Plant. MPD Perera, provided
a sophisticated Brush/Cleaning Apparatus for the Pool.
The HM is also preparing a ‘List of Needs’ at
Guru prioritizing urgent requirements.
The HM has constant and regular interaction not only with
his Prefect Body but also with all students and Staff. He
is readily accessible and available for consultation and discussion
at all times. Despite the fact that there are the inevitable
black sheep and incorrigibles amongst the students, Support
Staff, and Staff, the HM is able to keep the community together
because of his tactful handling and humane approach to all
the usual problems that beset and would prevail in a Boarding
School. Most of these are those that have been handed down
to him after years of unforgiveable neglect and apathy. He
is tackling these one at a time, and doing his best to find
solutions. It will naturally take time to find solutions for
all the problems. Patience and tolerance is required. The
OBA as well as individual Old Boys have serious concerns but
are displaying a commendable degree of understanding, patience
and willingness to advise, co-oporate and assist wherever
possible. No longer are the Authorities and the OBA on a path
of confrontation. This augers well for the College. What College
and the OBA lack in Funds is truly loaded with that special
and singular love and affection which Guru Old Boys and their
well wishers have for that Unique Seat of Learning. That bond
is not so readily and richly found in the case of other schools
and their Alumni. The HM needs the sympathy, understanding
and support of all those who have Guru at heart.
Images of this visit appear below.