C.W.W. Kannangara, who is considered the father of free education, always devised and implemented plans targeting the welfare of future generations rather than the next election. Kannangara’s vision is a practical vision which is applicable to the present day, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said.
He was speaking at the national ceremony to commemorate the 134th birth anniversary of the educationist at the Hewaheta Madya Maha Vidyalaya last Saturday.The minister also said the school was the country’s first green school.
Minister Kariyawasam said that even though most politicians devised plans with an eye on the next elections, C.W.W. Kannangara eschewed such practice as he was concerned about the welfare of future generations.
“He acted as a real state leader to ensure the security of future generations. Everyone should strive to create a knowledge-based society by adopting Kannangara’s policies to suit present-day conditions and needs,” he added.
“Kannangara not only suffered election defeat due to his forthright polices, but also faced economic as well as other difficulties later in life. The free education system introduced by him has enabled children of even underprivileged families to excel in education and occupy important positions here and abroad,” the minister said.
Minister Kariyawasam, who acknowledged the services rendered by past governments to develop the education sector, said that even though private education had come to the forefront today, the government had taken steps to strengthen free education during the past three years.
One aspect in the endeavour was the introduction of the Suraksha Insurance Scheme for the benefit of 4.5 million schoolchildren. Steps had been taken to establish two schools with classes up to G.C.E. Advanced Level, teaching all subjects in each divisional secretariat division, the minister said and added that he had also taken steps to provide necessary human resources to schools by appointing 4,000 principals, recruiting 852 persons to the Education Administrative Service, and appointing 1,190 new recruits to the teaching service.
There are plans to recruit another batch of over 800 teachers and over 1,000 persons to the Education Administrative Service. Provincial Councils too had been provided with the necessary funds to fill teacher vacancies in schools run by them. The teacher shortage in national schools would be solved by the end of this year, Minister Kariyawasam said.
Teacher transfers at national schools had not previously been carried out for 30 years. As the Education Minister, he said he had tackled that issue without any fear. Plans were also afoot to recruit over 3,000 teachers as student counsellors, as well as a batch of 3,800 sports instructors, the minister added.
Former Provincial Councillors Shanthinie Kongahage and Gamini Wijayabandara, Education Ministry Secretary Sunil Hettiarachchi, Provincial Education Director Tilak Ekanayake and Principal Kapila Priyantha were also present.