Serve poor students in remotest areas, President tells teachers

Posted on June 5, 2007  /  9 Comments

COLOMBO: President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday urged the teaching community to serve the poor and the less-privileged students in the remotest areas of the country and thereby protect the country’s ‘Free Education’ mechanism.

President Rajapaksa was speaking at the handing over of appointment letters to Diploma Holders in Teaching to 2,599 new diplomates.

Making a symbolic handing over of appointment letters to a selected number of teachers who had successfully completed their training and qualified to receive the ‘Diploma in Teaching’ for 2007, the President asserted that his Government aims to provide equal opportunities in education to all, sans any irregularities, irrespective of one’s race, religion or region.

“A deficiency of Tamil medium teachers did exist in the past, but we took immediate steps to remedy the shortage. We appointed Tamil stream teachers in the North-East and the estate schools. Irrespective of the region you are now appointed to, go and serve happily sans any prejudice of race, religion and caste, or whether they are rich or poor.

Don’t confine them only to rote learning but identify their talents, and develop not only their knowledge but also their attitudes, and produce a creative younger generation,” the President said.

He pointed out that around 500,000 students had sat the G.C.E. O/L last year and around 25,000 had failed in all subjects they offered.

He asked why this was so and directed the Education Minister Susil Premajayantha to take remedial steps to avert such a situation next year.

“These failures are however not the offspring of teachers, who make sure that their children are through.

If that same effort is made in imparting education to all students of the school, we can make Sri Lanka one of the most literate countries of the world,” the President opined.

Recollecting the ‘success story’ of Mahavilachchiya Central College in Anuradhapura, and its teacher Nandasiri Wanninayake, the President urged the teaching fraternity to emulate the exemplary teacher who has performed wonders and revolutionised the lifestyle there in Information Technology and English.

The President noted that ‘Teaching’ was per se a great service and a noble profession, instead of being only a job. He urged the new youthful appointees to refrain from seeking transfers to locations close to their homes.

The President said that whatever crises are encountered, his Government will never cut the funds allocated to education. “I view the uplift of education not as a duty but as a profound responsibility of the Government,” he added.

Chancellor of the Kelaniya University Ven. Velamitiyawe Kusaladhamma Thera, Western Province Chief Minister Reginald Cooray, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha and Ministry Secretary Ariyarathna Hewage also spoke.


  1. The item says: President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday urged the teaching community to serve the poor and the less-privileged students in the remotest areas of the country and thereby protect the country’s ‘Free Education’ mechanism.

    Why the teaching community is reluctant to serve in the remote areas? Because there aren’t enough facilities for teachers to stay there. Because sometimes it is not safe. In some cases it involves traveling which makes the process unproductive both for teachers as well as students.

    So what President wants the teachers to do is to make sacrifices so that even the students in the remote areas get good teachers.

    But will this ever happen?

    Even if that happens will it ever happen just by President saying so?

    For a start why not the President, through the education ministry provide a decent incentive for teachers to serve in remote areas? I do not mean tiny allowances they are being given now but incentives of some value. Why cannot they do so?

  2. Samantha Samarawickrama

    Just praising an individual won’t help. His services have to be taken in a national level to enhance the capacities of other teachers. Otherwise this will end nowhere.

  3. Although annoymus forums take a path to throw mud creation tension among community, seems growing constructive. We would like to request the operators to make the site authentic by

    1. Providing trusted user registration system which enables user ids and passwords, so that credit and responsibility will go to posts and people who write will take responsibility for what they write.

    You may have to use better technology to enable collboration, communication and also build a revenue model for covering technical costs. drupal, joomala or wordpress are technology options. You can get a free word press account, in case if you dont want to host it your self. How ever its limited in features, as well as free hosted lacks authentication.

    Long run you could operate even as a physical organisation with the members you collaborate trough the web.
    We belive that it’s a constructive way of doing something, how ever its started,
    Somethings come up when need arise, but it can keep being in the dark.

    Finally we all have to go main stream, collaborating in educational development

    You may be aware that Sinhala Unicode Group is collboration among stakeholders, making a constructive discussion to take benefits of ICT to the community. It included core ICT professionals, ICT policy makers and ICT Acadmic Experts.

    Shilpa Sayura ( is a project that focusses on handycapped student communities around Nenasala.

    It’s a digital self learning programme for students in rural Sri Lanka was a pioneering effort named ‘Shilpa Sayura’ or ‘sea of knowledge’. It was initiated and developed by E fusion ( in February 2006 and was funded by the ICTA e-Society Programme (

    We believe ‘Shilpa Sayura’ could contribute to addressing the issue of the shortage of school teachers, especially in distant rural area one which continues to be a setback to the county’s educational system. The ‘Shilpa Sayura’ e-learning package covers eight school subjects, in Sinhala from grade six to O level. Shilpa Sayura’s simple interactive means of self study caters to students in remote communities with no access to urban educational resources. Still in its pilot stage Shilpa Sayura now operates in 20 ‘Nenasalas’ or tele-centers located in distant villages and promotes the concept of self learning among students in these secluded communities.

    The ‘Shilpa Sayura’ pilot project has been a success story, the programme now it needs to expand via the 380 Nansalas or rural tele-centers located island wide. The next phase would be the transformation of Shilpa Sayura into a National project to strengthen rural education and bridge the gap between rural and urban students.

    Shilpa Sayura Event on June 14 -15

    The success story of showcased in the Kandiyapitawewa village community in bintenna plains of monaragala district. A Technology and Cultural Festival is scheduled to be held from 9th to 15th June to commemorate the success of Shilpa Sayura E learning programme in the rural ICT community of Kandiyapitawewa in Monaragala. This seven day event will bring together ICT and Education Experts, Donor Agencies, Nenasala Operators, Students, Teachers and Media Personal.

    Shilpa Sayura believes this event would usher in a new era and empower our rural communities through the use of ICT and would hopefully capture the attention of aid and funding agencies. We cordially invite all stakeholders to come and observe and experience this unique community ICT event.

    A festival of live folk music, art and dances and ancient folk drama “Sokari” has been put together for the benefit of all visitors and will be staged on the evening 15th June at Kandiyapitawewa,

    Visitors can acquire and share community ICT knowledge as well as enjoy sessions. For further more information please contact the event manager and Shilpa Sayura Project on 0112 802820

    This invitation is from Team who organizes the Event for Shilpa Sayura
    You all are welcome.

    We also make this opportunity to thank people known and unknown who encouraged, assisted and collaboted with us to develop Shilpa Sayura an ICT concept that can change the way how rural students study.

    Thanks again

    Niranjan Meegammana

    I am making this note authentic by posting it first on ShilpaSayura Project Forum Too.

    Hope you value our comments.

  4. The above post is only a self promotion. We Sri Lankans are very good at promoting our ownselves and Nirannjan is no exception.

    May we know the actual facts? Like how many are really benefited from this project? The true impact shown in figures? a cost benefit analysis etc rather than these self promotion exercises.

  5. Coordinator, Education Forum

    Niranjan’s suggestions are most welcome. A few of us are tossing around ideas about improvements to the site and his suggestions will be also thrown into the lot for consideration. Currently we are thinking of stating a set of values (freedom of choice in education) for the site but inviting two or so others with contrary values (free education for all) to contribute. The objective is to have lots of dialogue and let the visitors make up their minds.

    Leaving lengthy write-ups in lieu comments as Niranjan has done can be a problem, because it puts other commentaries way down in the page and takes attention away from them. The solution I guess is for him to start a personal blog and put a link to that on his commentary.

  6. Thanks Corrdinator,

    Niranjan could have easily used link which is about Shilpa Sayura in the same discussion forum instead of jumping in to this thread. The only reason Niranjan jumped into this thread is that this thread became very popular due to the wide publicity this news item got from almost all daily newspapers in Sri Lanka. Rather than questioning others’ morality Niranjan has to question how ethical he is. He must understand the difference between posting a comment to a discussion forum and posting an advertisement into a paid space. We feel sorry for desperate Niranjan who is having hard time in promoting his Shilpa Sayura (this could be a good product too – God knows)to pay electrcity bills of his company. People do have hard times. But learn to to go through the hard time. The ex-teacher president praises in this thread, is a living example. Learn morality yourself than seeking cheap publicity. This is the second time you faced a similar controversy within less than a month. You became a similar laughing stock when you sheepishly tried to defend late V. K. Samaranayake in another blog at a time whole country was being exposed about his malpractices. Niranjan, get your horoscope read. Nothing goes right for you. Take a break man. You will lose the credibility you have grown over the years if you act this stupid anymore. People will give you only 2-3 chances. If you don’t make yourself correct you will be in the garbage bin. So, please keep out of blogs for some time and comeback afresh. (May be you should consult a counselor.)

    Do something of your own and win awards like that MicroImage guy does. Don’t ridicule yourself by becoming a cardboard hero. Let people judge you. Don’t judge yourself by selfpromoting ‘advertisements.’ Do you know that there is an English term for such activities. Blowing your own trumpet!

    If you are intelligent you will take this as a constructive criticism but with your behavior during the past month we know you have “suddenly” become as stupid as you-know-who. We want you to regain the credibility and deliver what you have been delivering and much more. We know you have the talent. But, don’t use short cuts. They don’t last long. Learn corporate culture from Wijitha Yapa Bookshop or have your address here we will send you some good read on corporate culture. You are losing your head and this will affect others who work for you and those who trusted you. I am not attacking you. As a long observant of your work and recent behavior all I see is you need counseling, nothing else.

    If you write your usual nonsense as an answer to this comment, i will stop advising you anymore. I have other important work to attend. So, don’t expect me to answer your (possibly stupid) answer to this posting.

    Web 2.0 is very strong and none of us can become heroes because Web 2.0 can bring us to zero within few seconds. Traditional press is losing its place in the world and Web 2.0 bloggers are bringing down big Dinos such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, etc. Remember it was a chameleon who destroyed an elephant, not another elephant or a lion. So, rather than criticizing Web 2.0, understand the trend and face it. Those who failed to read Web 2.0 dearly paid for the mistake. Rather than being ‘too local’ understand new trends of the West. Whether we like it or not what starts in the West will come to us. You and I may refuse Sirasa copying American Idol as Superstars but rest of the country embraced it. This is the truth. You are not too late my dear. You still have time to regain confidence of the friends and foes alike. Bye. Don’t hope to see you here again on the same topic.

  7. Dear Admin

    This Topic is relevent to Shilpa Sayura, as it’s an Educational project operate in remote,rural locations.
    We posted the press release to build awareness. How ever if you find the information is not useful, please remove it. Sorry we have used this forum.

    We invite Mr. JW, and also invite Mr. Annoymous to any of Shilpa Sayura Locations to see how useful it is. Its not fair to launch an attack on our hard effort with out even seeing it. Thanks for your suggestions on corporate culture which is making profits, but we will still focus on rural communities.

    I am sorry this comment was too long, we will not write to this forum. This place dont welcome ppl like us.
    Thanks for all support

  8. Niranjan, it is not correct to say that the Ed forum does not welcome people like you. We need all sorts of people. The more diversity we have the better the discussion. As a policy we do not edit any comments, because it is hard draw the lines. For Example, I personally believe that hot air by people in power deserve extra harsh words. Somebody else might have his/her own pet peeve. Generally, we try to steer the discussion away from personal insults to substance.

    I felt terrible the first time I read a personal insult on my personal Web site. However, it is a small price to pay for this wonderful opportunity we all have to test our ideas in a open forum. I am learning to harden myself against insults and try to control my own harsh words. I hope you do too and stay with us. With time, the Web etiquette will evolve for the better, I believe.

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