|Friday, 2 July 2004|
by Chandrani Marasinghe and Jayasiri Munasinghe
The country was dragged into a crisis during the past two decades as citizens of this country did not develop the spirit of tolerance to respect others' opinions, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said yesterday.
Addressing a ceremony at Tholangamauwa, Dudley Senanayake Central College, to mark the inauguration of 'Navodya' rural schools development project, the President said citizens should make an effort to develop the spirit of tolerance to respect others' opinion if they wanted to take the country forward.
President Kumaratunga said all religions promote the idea of tolerating others' ideas and to respect each other's views.
"Even our enemy has the right to have his own opinion. Today we are facing all these crisisses in this country as we have failed to value the opinions of others," the President added.
"We should not allow this to happen to our younger generation," the President added.
President Kumaratunga said under the program 'Country Forward', the Freedom Alliance Government has given priority for the development of education, especially inculcating qualities of this nature among students.
The country had a better education system closely linked with the temples in villages during ancient times.
This education system was further developed during the time of the late C.W.W. Kannangara, the President observed.
Sri Lanka was listed 10th according to literacy rate among 150 countries in the Third World. "We inherited a good education system among other countries compared with the other Third World countries," the President added.
She said there should be a system to enable students to absorb knowledge through the education system.
"In 2004, when the People's Alliance came to power there had been no glimpse of a program to provide the latest knowledge in the world for our school children," the President added.
The President recalled that through the Education Reforms, the People's Alliance Government initiated a program to enable students to absorb the latest knowledge in the world.
This program was implemented by uplifting material resources through the changes in the school curriculum, the President added.
"Parallel programs were implemented to improve qualities and values among the younger generation. But even those programs which required little funds, were suspended during the two year UNF rule", the President lamented.
President Kumaratunga said despite providing education, there had been no program to provide employment to who completed their education after 1977.
The youth had to go after politicians even disregarding their dignity to obtain jobs. "We should see an end to this system," the President added.
The President said citizens of this country tend to lean towards divisions and organise themselves in those petty and narrow divisions.
"When international communities like the European Union talk about the use of a common currency, legal system and even common language disregarding their religions, languages and other interests, we move towards division of the country," the President added.
"We should not go towards these petty ends of dividing ourselves," the President added.
The President appealed to all to join hands to free the country from the present crisis.
Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Tara de Mel, Advisor to the Education Ministry R.S. Medagama and Director General of Dangerous Drugs Control Board Sujeewa Ranaweera also spoke.
Produced by Lake House