(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasizing the importance of expanding language knowledge beyond Sinhala and Tamil, announced the implementation of the “English for All” program in all schools and universities across the country by 2030.
Participating in the 10th commemoration of the late Mr. R.I.T. Alles, a renowned educationist and founder of D.S. Senanayake Vidyalaya held at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall in Colombo yesterday (16), the President said the program necessary to provide English knowledge to the university students as well will be prepared.
On the occasion of 10th commemoration of the late Mr. R.I.T. Alles, the autobiographical book “My Path” was also launched. Symbolizing the presentation of the book to a thousand principals, the President presented the book to ten principals.
Addressing the government’s efforts to reform the education sector in Sri Lanka, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the commitment to realize Mr. R.I.T. Alles’s vision of “Education for all.” He stressed the end of students losing opportunities for higher education due to financial constraints and advocated for discontinuing the practice of selling property to send children abroad.
President Wickremesinghe outlined plans to establish new universities in both the public and private sectors to ensure access to higher education for all students in Sri Lanka. He assured government support for those in the private sector contributing to this initiative.
Additionally, the President invited the Sinhala and Tamil Diasporas to return to Sri Lanka and participate in establishing new universities, as a means of supporting education for the country’s children, emphasizing a shared responsibility for the nation’s progress.
The President further said;
Every parent in our country aspires to provide quality education to their children. This education should extend beyond Sinhala and Tamil, encompassing languages like English, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and Korean.
We are focusing on implementing the “English for All” program by 2030, with an emphasis on imparting English knowledge to both school and university students. Recognizing the need for attention to our higher education system, despite the existence of a supposedly free education system, many individuals pursue education abroad. We aim to adopt successful education systems from around the world.
Contrary to the misconception that free education means providing money for universities, in other countries, students receive concessional loans and financial aid to choose their preferred universities. In our country, the University Grants Commission makes the selection. But we must ensure opportunities for students without compromising on the quality of higher education.
Our goal is to increase the number of universities and elevate the standards of existing ones within the next five years. Additionally, we plan to establish three technology universities similar to General Sir John Kotelawala University. We encourage the establishment of non-government universities and invite individuals like Dr. Harsha Alles to leverage their experience in starting new universities.
To alleviate the financial burden on students, we offer concessional loans, eliminating the need to sell land or send children abroad for higher education. The growing number of universities in our country is attracting students from foreign countries.
To the Tamil and Sinhala Diasporas, we extend an invitation to return to Sri Lanka and participate in establishing new universities, as a means of supporting education for the country’s children, emphasizing a shared responsibility for the nation’s progress. Mr. Alas has set an example in this regard.
Education is a right for everyone in our country, and the government is committed to supporting those in the private sector who contribute to this noble cause.
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena,
I am delighted to be part of this occasion as we reminisce about meeting the exemplary figure from Royal College 60 years ago, who also happens to be our teacher – Mr. R.I.T. Alles. His life serves as a model for all of us, showcasing a remarkable journey that has left an indelible mark on the field of education in our country. Mr. Alles can rightfully be hailed as an educator who ushered in a revolutionary change.
Under his guidance, the school evolved into a hub for nurturing exemplary citizens and he exhibited pioneering leadership in the education sector. Not only did Mr. Alles make a significant impact at Royal College, but he also founded D.S. Senanayake College, redirecting the path of children’s education onto a new trajectory. His profound knowledge in education and administration became evident as we engaged with him not only in the classroom but also in various extracurricular activities of the school.
My close association with Mr. Alles, particularly during his tenure overseeing the cadets, provided us with invaluable discipline and training, lessons that have continued to strengthen us in life. He consistently emphasized the significance of respecting the teaching profession.
Mr. Alles was forward-thinking, consistently striving to align education with the evolving world. His life example stands as a beacon for the principals appointed today, offering invaluable guidance for their professional journeys. The contributions made by Mr. Alles to the field of education will undoubtedly benefit several more generations to come.
Minister of Education Dr. Susil Premajayantha,
As of today, D.S. Senanayake Vidyalaya, under the visionary leadership of Mr. Alles, accommodates approximately 6,000 students across 157 classrooms from grades 1 to 13, all of which have been transformed into friendly classrooms with government funding. The entire school is equipped with Wi-Fi, reflecting a commitment to embracing technology for education.
Addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the five-year scholarship exam, a focus has been placed on the crisis in primary education. The aim is to streamline the educational process, ensuring that our children’s education remains in step with the technological advancements shaping the world.
Efforts have been made to mitigate delays in education. All textbooks for the year 2024 have been printed, and the first batch of uniforms is set to be received before the end of next month. Additionally, plans are underway to provide lunch to every student. In collaboration with UNESCO, coupons are being distributed for the production of school shoes for 800,000 children, supported not only by government funds but also aid from the French Government over the next four years.
This comprehensive approach, coupled with the presence of notable figures such as Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha, Minister Tiran Alles, Presidential Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, MP Udaya Gammanpila, and President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, signals a concerted effort to revolutionize the education system in the country. The event saw the participation of Dr. Harsha Alles, family members, principals, school students and special guests, emphasizing the collective commitment to advancing education.