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Mihintalava - The Birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhist Civilization

President scores another 'first'

PRESIDENT Kumaratunga has reached one of the highest pinnacles of renown in the educational sphere in the Asiatic region by "coming first in the class" in the educational ratings of the Asia-Pacific Bureau of Education.

We congratulate her on this rare achievement and join the world in applauding her for the distinction she has brought Sri Lanka.

As our front page news report indicated yesterday, some of the President's achievements are as follows: all primary school age children are in school, access to secondary schooling is highest in her class, adult illiteracy is steadily being reduced; public basic education is completely free and State financing is adequate for delivery of quality inputs to each pupil.

The cumulative result of this steadfast commitment to education is that Sri Lanka has earned third place, after Thailand and Malaysia, in the league of Asiatic nations which have performed resplendently in public sector educational achievements.

Sri Lanka has, of course, been renowned for her welfare system which has earned for her a top-notch position in the provision of educational facilities for all.

'Free Education', for instance, has been considered down the decades as a golden legacy which Sri Lanka has unselfishly bequeathed to her children. However, if not for President Kumaratunga's efforts, this legacy could have suffered steady erosion.

It is very well known - for example - that more and more provincial, public schools were being closed between 2002 and 2004 when the UNF held sway.

The then regime's commitment to public sector education left much to be desired but the President stemmed the rot by taking education and higher education under her purview once again in April 2004 and by injecting new life into the system.

Once again, fortunately for Sri Lanka, not only is education for all at State expense on the agenda but so is educational reform. Particularly noteworthy have been the achievements in Mathematics and Science at the GCE Ordinary Level by our secondary students. These have picked-up over the past year.

Equally significant are ongoing efforts by the present educational authorities to usher in a student-centred education. Educational innovations have blossomed under this new paradigm and education is being rendered very rewarding in emotional terms.

These achievements are premised on the belief that the younger generation is the country's life-blood. A practically-oriented education with a high ethical content is being introduced and herein lies one of the keys to a happy future.



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