There were only three Education Ministers who had a vision for the national education system in Sri Lanka and the spine to take pragmatic decisions; they were C.W.W. Kannagara, I.M.R.A. Irriyagolla and Richard Pathirana, Small Crops Exports Development Minister Reginald Cooray said.
Addressing a ceremony held at the Mathugama C.W.W. Kannangara Maha Vidyalaya to mark the entrance of Grade 1 students to schools in 2012 in the Mathugama educational zone, in which Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana was also present, Minister Cooray who was also a former Education Minister went on to say that the education system in the country in the colonial era had been centred in favour of the elite until Mr. Kannangara introduced free education.
“Thousands of children of downtrodden families were able get a better education and enter universities under the free education system that led to a huge social and cultural transformation. Many professionals such as scientists, doctors, engineers, administrators and technocrats serving the country and abroad are the direct results of the free education system,” Minister Cooray stressed.
It is the responsibility of the government and the education authorities in particular to carry forward the policies of Mr. Kannangara.
It is an unforgivable crime if the students were not provided the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the free education he gifted to Sri Lanka with much sacrifice and dedication. Education ministers must act with commitment and dedication to achieve these objectives, he added.
Education is not meant only to pass examinations and obtain certificates but to produce useful and law abiding citizens with moral values. (Sandun A. Jayasekera and S. Madawala)