Colombo (LNW): Instead of shutting down schools, educational authorities should prioritise their protection and preservation, said Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, addressing the opening of the new Matika Mata Uphara building at Wellawatta Vaishaka Vidyalaya, associated with Lindsey Girls’ College in Colombo this (16) afternoon.
Vaishaka College, established in 1935 through the generosity of philanthropist E.S. Fernando, faced potential closure in 2016. However, with the intervention of the current “Dasasil Mata, Matika Mata”, previously known as Sri Devi de Silva, the school was rejuvenated and linked with Lindsey Girls’ College in Bambalapitiya.
Full Statement by the Prime Minister:
“All those officials holding positions in the education sector in Sri Lanka should think deeply about the issue of school closures. We never got more schools from the government. It is the schools that our people built with great difficulty that have brought this country to the highest place in the field of education. We must not forget that.
Under the program to integrate all schools for a national education programme, our country has reached the pinnacle in the field of education. We have to move forward in the world by overcoming challenges.
E. S. Fernando family is a most respected family in Wellawatta. One can recollect the great service rendered by Mr E. S. Fernando by establishing Vaishaka College, which originated with such a profound name and produced a large number of students who have succeeded in an array of paths.
Wellawatta is a place of literature and culture. The world famous Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda was drawn to Wellawatta because Wellawatta is a literary haven. It is very important for us to preserve the identity of Wellawatte as a nation.
We have been taught two factors, responsibilities and duties. Our duty is the position we hold. Responsibilities are the obligations we have to fulfil on behalf of human society. These children are the future generation of our country. The role of teachers is to fulfil the duty and the responsibility should be to perform more duties to make our children good citizens.
As responsible citizens is there any possibility to see the closure of this successful school for a trivial reason? This is a good eye opener for education officials. As the Prime Minister, it is my duty to recall these. Eight hundred schools built by our elites and given to us in distant regions have been closed. This is the statistics. We cannot start all those schools again for the villagers.
If any resource is received for education, if it is donated for education, let’s add it creatively to the school. If you can produce children equipped with all three languages, you are beginning another chapter for their future. We believe that when they leave the fifth grade, they will be interested in adding information technology knowledge for the betterment of their future.”
Most Ven. Thricunamale Ananda Thera of Bambalapitiya Siri Vajiraramadhipati Aggamaha Pandita, along with the Mahasangha, Desashakthi, Deshakeerthi, Diriya Mata, Mathika Mata Bhikshuni, the former Speaker Deshmanya Karu Jayasuriya, MP Yadamini Gunawardena, as well as teachers, parents, and students participated in this event.