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SLFP opened Law education to all

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party Government opened up law Education to children of ordinary families that was earlier available only to privileged families, said Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris at Kuliyapitiya.

Law education in Sinhala and Tamil was a farsighted decision of Sirimavo Bandaranaike and this enabled the passing out of many of law graduates each year providing opportunities to children of ordinary families where before law education was open mainly to children of privileged families.

“Although education officials at that time told Mrs. Bandaranaike that this was not possible as the required textbooks were in English, she instructed them to proceed with the resources available,” Minister Peiris said at a meeting addressing graduates from the North-Western Province who were employed under the Graduate Employment program of the Government.

“Only those from privileged families were enrolled in the Law Faculties of the University and the Law College. There were no opportunities for those from other backgrounds to obtain law education and the main reason was that knowledge of English and Latin was required to study law. Therefore, there was a perception in the society that law education was only for the higher classes, but. Sirimavo Bandranaike changed this.

In 1975, she ordered education officials to commence law education in Sinhala and Tamil. Baduddin Mohamed, the then Minister of Education advised her to defer her decision until the required textbooks were available in Sinhala and Tamil. But Mrs. Banadranaike ordered that this be implemented with available resources as she strongly felt that the required texts would be published, once there was a demand.

When lectures at the law faculty commenced in Sihnala and Tamil, children of poor families and those from difficult areas were able to enter these faculties and obtain legal education. Now many lawyers pass out to the society each year due to this farsighted intervention of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Government.

Outdated methods of education give no benefits to the present society. Education methodologies should change according to the societal needs and the present social system. The University system too should transform to overcome future challenges.

we should be ready to make use of those who finish their education after studying for many years. The students become disenchanted with society when it does not happen and it could direct them to erroneous pathways.

This was apparent in incidents that occurred in the past. Such an environment led to young men and women taking up arms shedding blood and spreading fear in the 1988-89 period. I know this very well due to my experiences as a member of the Commission on Youth Unrest, which was appointed to comprehend the causes for such actions. Governments of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and its alliances have always taken steps to prevent such conditions occurring again. Accordingly 48,000 graduates have been given employment by this Government,” he said.

Prof. Peiris further stated that the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was spending a colossal amount of funds to improve education, health and infrastructure while conducting a humanitarian operation to liberate the North.

He also stated that he felt immense satisfaction seeing many legal textbooks he has written in Sinhala being widely used by students, although he had his own legal education in English and Latin.

Athula Wijesinghe, Chief Ministerial candidate of the United People’s Freedom Alliance for the North-Western Province stated that Governments of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party always gave jobs to the educated and the intelligent.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike provided jobs to a large number of graduates of the North-Western Province even in the year 1970. Jobs were also provided to all graduating from universities of Sri Lanka. But less than 5,000 graduates had been given jobs by the United National Party Government that was in power for a seventeen-year period between 1977 and 1994.

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