Unique and novel contribution to human resources development
Sri Lanka has a very high literacy rate as well as a very high
primary and secondary school enrolment for many decades. Government
policy over the past six decades to provide education free of cost in
his mother tongue to every child has enabled very positive results in
However, the successful results of such policies have not been
realized in respect of post secondary education.
Though such tertiary education in the Universities, Colleges of
Teacher Education, Technical Colleges and similar institutions have also
been provided free of charge for the past five decades, the numbers of
places available particularly in the state managed/financed universities
have been extremely small.
Furthermore, Universities have been established without any policy or
planning whatsoever but essentially for political purposes resulting in
much unnecessary expenditure, with minimal return by any yardstick
including increase in student numbers.
The consequential problems have been further compounded by the
reluctance of the government to officially recognize and permit
institutions and organizations to award degrees either through private
Universities or other similar institutions as is the practice in many
countries throughout the world including Asia.
The cost and quality of graduates produced by the State university
system have been further compromised over the past three decades by
providing many courses of study in three media, political interference,
encroached into University autonomy and absence of a coherent and
sustainable higher education policy.
The establishment of the Institute of
When the Chemical Society of Ceylon (founded 1941), was transformed
into a Professional body titled the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon in
1971 (incorporated by Act of Parliament No 15 of 1972), four of the
twelve aims and objectives in the Act made specific reference to
education & related matters, namely
i) to promote education in Chemistry at all levels
ii) to promote the acquisition, dissemination and interchanged of
chemical knowledge by establishing and maintaining libraries.
iii) to conduct or provide for the conduct of qualifying examinations
for all grades of membership of the Institute and to promote, provide or
approve courses of study for such examinations.
iv) to conduct or provide for the conduct of examinations for the
award of diplomas, certificates and other distinctions in such branches
of Chemistry as the Institute may from time to time deem necessary and
to prescribe, approve of provide courses of study for such examinations.
At that time there were only two Universities producing Science and
Chemistry Graduates in Sri Lanka; its potential membership and actual
membership of the Institute were also relatively small; there were only
a few active members and officials, all of whom had to carry out the
organization of their professional body at their respective work-places;
the Institute had hardly and funds, no office and no employees.
However, our forefathers who laboured very hard for the establishment
of this body of Chemists recognized & realized (that in the context of
the very limited post secondary educational opportunities available,
particularly in any of the basic scenes) the urgent need to facilitate
and provide for human resource development in Chemistry through its own
efforts, however difficult and daunting the challenge appeared to be.
Ironically, the seventies were also characterized by an era of acute
foreign exchange difficulties and consequent shortage of even basic food
items leave alone chemical and laboratory equipment for post-secondary
educational courses; this made the anticipated task of the Institute
even more acute and problematic.
Laboratory Technicians Certificate
Course (LTCC) subsequently transformed to a Diploma in Laboratory
Technology (DLTC) programme in Chemistry
Researchers as well as academic & school teachers need trained
laboratory technicians / technologists at a middle level to perform
support/routine tasks in their respective laboratories. However, up to
the seventies, there was no programme in Sri Lanka to train technicians
or any of the basic science areas.
Our Institute therefore recognized that it was its primary duty and
obligation to fill this lacuna: a two year programme was therefore
formulated and academic input was provided to commence and sustain such
a programme at a leading educational establishment known as Aquinas
College of Higher Studies.
Using unused science laboratories (formerly used for B.Sc London
external degree programme) available there, the LTCC programme has
thereafter been conducted without any break with all the academic
expertise provided by the Institute.
During the Silver Jubilee year of the programme in 1998, the LTCC
programme was upgraded to that of a Diploma in Laboratory Technology in
Chemistry (DLTC) with an enhanced/ revised/lengthened course content.
The 33rd of such programmes was commenced in 2005 in our own
headquarters building (Adamantane House) at Welikada, Rajagiriya. A
total of 621 LTCC/DLTC diplomates have been so far produced through this
pioneering programme of the Institute.
This programme remains even today as the only such programme in any
of the basic sciences. The shift of the programme to our own premises
also resulted in a drastic increase in the student intake to over sixty
from less than thirty earlier.
It is with joyous pride and a feeling of accomplishment & achievement
that we record that these middle grade personnel produced by our
Institute have readily obtained appropriate employment in laboratories
in both the public & private sectors in Sri Lanka. This programme was
commenced as a service to the needs of the scientific community in Sri
Lanka without any projected financial benefit to the Institute or its
Such a laudable and exemplary effort of our forefathers needs our
everlasting tribute and acclamation! The Sri Lankan government through
its Scientific Affairs Ministry made a modest grant contribution towards
the programme in its initial years.
To be continued
Questions and Answers
Revision of Pension-Retired before
Question: I am a pensioner drawing my pension from the
Divisional Secretary, Kelaniya. Though I have written to the Director
General Pensions with a copy to D.S. Kelaniya neither of them has
replied informing me whether my pension has been revised. (Copy of the
above mentioned letter is attached.)
I was in the category of Middle Level Technical Officers at the time
of retirement from Government Service and am entitled to the revision
according to Salary scales of the above category. I would be very much
obliged if OPA could persuade the Director General of Pensions and D.S.
Kelanniya to revise my pension accordingly and if my Pension has been
revised already to inform me the procedure adopted with details.
Answer: The Pension No. given by you is incorrect. We
contacted the Divisional Secretary, Kelaniya and he informed that the
proper procedure has not been followed by you when requesting for a
revision in the Pension. Therefore you may contact the Accountant at the
Divisional Secretariat Office at Kelaniya (Telephone 2920047)
W & OP for a Mentally Affected Child
Question: I am a retired Graduate Teacher. I have a mentally retarded
male child who is 28 years old now. After my demise my wife will be
entitled to my pension to be paid for the upkeep of my mentally retarded
son. In order to make this possible what are the actions I should take
now. Please explain in detail.
Answer: Your mentally affected child is entitled to get your
pension after demise of your wife or yourself if you happen to outlive
your wife. Your child will be entitled to this pension until his
In this regard you have to request the Pensions Department with the
photocopy of the Medical Certificates relating to the state of mental
illness of your son along with your W&OP number and other details.
The Pension Department will issue an application form to be filled by
you which will be forwarded to a Medical Board appointed by the Pensions
Department. You will have to appoint a guardian who will be authorized
to receive and manage your sonís pension allowance after the demise of
Historical Survey Plan
Question: How to obtain a copy of a Plan of Kandy during 1930
depicting historical sites drawn by the Survey Department for
Answer: Old Survey Plans drawn by the Survey Department are
not available for sale in the Department. These Plans are available with
the Department of National Archives and a tracing or copy could be
obtained from them after giving them the purpose for which it is needed
on the payment of a fee.
The procedure to be followed in obtaining a copy can be inquired by
telephoning 2696917 or writing to Director, Department of National
Archives, No. 2, Reid Avenue, Colombo 7.
Unfair Trading Practices
Question: A leading dealer in Electronic items insist on a
100% pre-payment when the equipment to be repaired is with them, and
they have a lien over it for non payment in case of default by the
customer. Payment should be only on delivery. Further the Company
insists that the customer should deposit the money into their Bank
account without accepting money at their office.
This is for them to cut their costs and put the burden of depositing
cash collections to the customer. They should accept credit cards and
even cheques since delivery is only after receiving payment from the
Customer. Will the Consumer Affairs Authority take action to stop this
type of practice adopted by Companies?
Answer: According to the Consumer Affairs Authority while
running a business every possible measure should be taken to reduce the
burden on the customers. Further the following practices too should be
* Insisting on the customer to make 100% pre-payment for the repair
at the time of handing over the article/equipment.
* Not making arrangements to accept money at your office but insist
on depositing money into your bank account.
* Making no arrangements to accept credit cards and cheques for the
easiness of the customer.
Licence for Graphite Mining
Question: There is graphite available in a land owned by me. I
need to obtain a licence in my name for mining. Although I approached
the Divisional Secretariat office I was not given any clear instruction.
Please let me know how I should proceed to obtain a licence.
Answer: The licence for mining is issued by the Geological
Survey and Mines Bureau at No.4, Senanayake Building, Galle Road
Dehiwela. They issue 2 types of licences, one for surveying for the
pressure of graphite and the other for mining.
You have meet the Deputy Director mining in order to find out the
procedure to be followed in obtaining a licence. They also have a
regional office in Ratnapura where also details can be obtained. Tel No.
of the Dehiwela Office is 0112725751, 0112725746.
Public Funds are peopleís money, and have to be expended for the
benefit of the people. If we want to eradicate corruption, we have to
have stringent laws. Corruption, is not only taking bribes, but if
politicians and public servants expend public money for their exclusive
benefit-that is as much corruption. We should have legislation
introduced or, tell the people that legislation must be introduced that:
a) if politicians and public servants award themselves car permits,
when they have already been allocated official cars, free petrol and
b) awarding themselves tax-free salaries, when everyone else over the
threshold has to pay taxes,
c) expending 80 million rupees per bullet-proof cars for ministers,
when each minister is allocated 4 other cars anyway,
d) expending valuable foreign exchange on unnecessary trips abroad,
in this age of teleconferencing,this way the quality of politician and
public servant will improve.
Scandinavian countries and Singapore have very strict laws to curb
expenditure by politicians, of public funds on themselves.
If they refuse to pass these laws, we should go public, and tell the
people that they want to continue to use their money for the use of
If any politician or public servant does not submit to the relevant
authority their assets, within a period to be decided, they would be
disqualified from holding such office, and should be prosecuted. If
Parliamentarians pass laws conferring benefits on themselves though
clothed in legality, it is as much corruption.