• Revising overnight at SRI's library
Uda Mattala school presents a very striking commentary on the current state of development in Sri Lanka.

Two kilometres away stands one of the government's most ambitious and controversial projects - a new international airport.

Environmentalists claim it is unsafe because it lies on the flight path of migrating birds.

A brand-new and as yet deserted airport expressway runs close to Uda Mattala school. 

Leave it to drive to the school, however and a very different picture of the country emerges. 

Highway gives way to rutted track and beyond it, a school with almost no facilities. 

The usual lack of government funding was compounded by the actions of its former principal who ran up huge arrears on the electricity bill and mismanaged the school so badly that only child ever passed the grade five exam. 

The new principal has worked hard to change things and we tried to help in 2012 with the construction of a library sponsored by HSBC.

The school is now using this library to help students revise in what we have dubbed the kamikaze O-level class. 

For two months ahead of their O-levels, the grade 11 pupils revise overnight, Monday to Friday. 

The first shift is from 7pm to 11pm, followed by four hours sleep on the floor of an adjourning classroom until 3am, then another four hour shift from 3am to 7am.  

Teachers stay with them on a rotating basis, with the principal himself overseeing the class on the night that SRI visited. 

In 2014, SRI would like to help the school a lot more, firstly by giving it better IT facilities. 

The current IT teacher, Hasitha, gave up a job as a software engineer in Colombo to become a teacher back in his home town.

He is currently struggling with just one computer and a classroom that is completely open to the elements.

Nearby Uda Mattala village was also once known as Baddegama and is famously the setting for Leonard Woolf's classic novel, The Village in the Jungle.