Dr. Kannangara's greatest achievement 'gem of free education' -
KURUNEGALA: Late Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara was an eminent
educationist who worked unceasingly to bring about reforms in education.
He became a Minister of the Legislative Council in 1923 and Minister of
Education in 1931.
As Minister of Education he realised that the prevailing education
system at that time was unsuitable at the time newly awakened
nationalistic ideas were growing in the people. In his education Reform
Bill of 1938 he made changes which he thought the educational system
needed said Speaker W.J.M. Lakubandara soon after he unveiled the
Kananagara statue at Ibbagamuwa Central College, Ibbagamuwa recently.
The Speaker officiated as the chief guest at the year 2006
Kannanagara memorial ceremony held at the Central College auditorium.
He said that Dr. Kannangara's greatest contribution to education was
his scheme of free education. The prevailing system divided the society
into two classes, the English educated attending the denominational
missionary schools and the vernacular educated attending State schools.
Dr. Kannangara advocated one state system of schools. Though many
were against this scheme he was determined to provide equality of
educational opportunities to all children.
Speaker Lokubandara observed that the most important step taken
towards providing high quality education for the talented children of
the masses was the establishment of Central Schools and was referring to
the poor village child who lacked the educational opportunities to bring
out his talents and abilities.
He said Dr. Kannangara was also keenly aware of others, who like
himself lacked the economic means to proceed for higher education. To
overcome this disadvantage he provided for the first time a system of
scholarships to talented needy children. The evidence of the success of
the Central Schools and the Scholarships Scheme is seen in the existence
of capable and talented administrators, doctors, engineers, scientists,
educationists and athletes who are now in every sphere of public life.
Speaker Lokubandara said Dr. Kannangara was patriotic and honest
in-everything he did, including politics. He was an idealist whose motto
seemed to be "never give up", whatever you believe in. Despite great
opposition he carried out the necessary Educational Reforms. Considering
his services to the cause of education we could say that men, women,
boys and girls of Sri Lanka owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dr.
Kannangara, the Father of Free Education.
Athula Wijesinghe Chief Minister NWPC, Minister Coconut Development
Salinda Dissanayake and several others also spoke.