|Saturday, 5 April 2003|
by Ananda Kannangara
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga yesterday spoke lengthily on the importance of moulding the characters of the younger generation in the country.
She said that Sri Lanka has a large number of children who indulge in various violent activities due to the behaviour of a section of elders and also politicians in the country.
She said that these two groups have deep commitments and responsibilities to change this situation considering the future of the younger generation in our country.
The President made these observations at the 158th Annual Prize- Giving ceremony held at Royal College, Colombo. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were also present on the occasion presided by Royal College Principal H.L.B. Gomes.
Speaking on the new Educational Reforms introduced by the Government in 1997, the President said that education must be given the priority as the minds of children could be moulded only by giving them a good education.
"Even poor countries give top priority for education considering their future generation."
Kumaratunga said that the education in South Korea has developed to a greater extent comparing with the education in our country.
"During 1950s the economic situation in Sri Lanka was far behind than in South Korea, but gradually they surpassed us due to the introduction of a better education systems for the benefit of their children."
"Today 68 per cent children in South Korea are engaged in higher education compared with the 3 per cent of children in our country."
She said that after 1994 the Government introduced teacher training colleges in many parts of the country in order to develop the education.
The President also said that the then Government established a separate Ministry for Vocational training for the benefit of children in order to direct them for various employment avenues.
"We also introduced two most important subjects of Information Technology and General English for GCE (A/L) classes after 1994."
She said that the then Government established the Presidential Task Force to develop every public sector in the country especially the field of education with the help of intellectuals, educationist, University lecturers, members of non-governmental sectors etc.
"We have another objective of giving the benefit of the best education to every child in the country by establishing schools such as Royal and Visaka Vidyalayas in every part of the country.
"So the people will not have to go behind politicians and asking for better schools for their children.
Principal H.L.B. Gomes said that English medium was re-introduced at Royal College with two classes in the Mathematics and Biology streams.
'In addition to this we commenced English medium classes in grade 6 classes."
The Principal also expressed the view that he was very confident over the performances of children in these classes and said that there was no need for any Royalist to seek education in the English medium elsewhere.
Gomes also thanked various school base organisations including the "Rajakeeya Suparisara" for the support they extend towards the development of the school.
Minister of Higher Education Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, School Education Minister Suranimala Rajapaksa. Trade Minister Ravi Karunanayake and MP Gayantha Karunatillaka were also present.
Produced by Lake House