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More preschool education training centres needed for
Recently the Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education Faculty,
Faculty of Education of the Open University of Sri Lanka called for applications
for a course of study titled “Certificate in preschool education programm.” This
is a one year course of study for preschool teachers and those interested in the
field. As per the advertisement the course of study is to be conducted in the
Sinhala medium in Colombo, Kandy, Kurunegala and Matara, while the course for
Tamil medium students will be conducted only in Colombo and Batticaloa.
It appears that the authorities have not taken into consideration the training
needs of the prospective Tamil medium candidates in the upcountry areas
especially in the Central and Uva province. Is it because the plantation
children are not eligible to have quality preschool education? There are
hundreds of young plantation women working in preschools in the Nuwara-Eliya,
Kandy and Matale Districts and some Districts in Uva province. Many of them have
not had the opportunity of a proper training in preschool education. The present
Open University course would be a blessing for them. However if the course of
study is going to be held in Colombo and Batticaloa, the question will arise as
to whether the plantation girls could benefit by this. Although it is a distance
course of study, one needs to visit the centers on and off for review sessions,
workshops, tutorial classes, library reference, evaluation and consultations.
One would accept that in the present security situation in the country, it would
be extremely difficult for the young plantation girls to travel to Colombo, and
to find temporary residential facilities in Colombo. In addition to this,
travelling costs will be an additional burden on them. All this will finally
deprive these young women of benefitting from this valuable opportunity..
The Open University has regional centers in Kandy and study centers in Hatton,
Badulla and Bandarawela. If the present course of study could be started in any
of these plantation area based centers, hundreds and hundreds of plantation
youth will join the course of study. The brochure issued by the Open University
says that a new course of study could be started in any of the centers if there
are more than fifteen students. There is no doubt that if the course of study is
started in any one or more upcountry based centers, hundreds and hundreds of
present preschools teachers and other aspiring candidates will apply. It is the
duty of politicians such as Mr. Chanthrasekaran Minister of Community
Development and Inequity Eradication, the Deputy Minister of Education Mr.
Satchithananthan, Mr. Arulsamy Minister of Education Central Province and others
to take up this matter with the authorities of the Open University and other
relevant authorities, to impress upon them to start the course of study in at
least one center each in the Central and Uva provinces. Failure to attend to
this matter immediately will deprive the plantation children of receiving
quality preschool education on one hand, and employment opportunities for a
large number of plantation young girls.
Remembering Mahamaya Devi – The mother
The Full Moon on this Vesak Day, so serene,
Shone brightly, casting its mellowed golden beams,
Over the sylvan garden at Lumbini
The ideal place for solace and peace
To the melodious songs of birds and dancing trees,
The fragrance of flowers scenting the breeze,
Beautiful Mahamaya Devi, King Suddodhana’s queen
With her retinue rested here, enjoying peace
This day we should reverently remember,
Mahamaya Devi the Queen Mother,
To whom a prince was born, named Siddharta,
Who enunciated the eight-fold path to attain Nibbana
His knowledge of life was boundlessly vast,
None could equal nor ever surpass
Ending suffering in Sansara, he found at last,
And attained Buddhahood and showed us the path
Let us on this eventful day remember,
With gratitude and bow in prayer,
To that mother who gifted a noble teacher,
To the world, he preached the Dhamma
As done in our homes, worship and adore,
Our mothers who bore hardships untold,
Let us not forget to say the same prayer every morn,
To Mahamaya Devi, mother of the greatest being ever born.
“Dassa Masa Uurekathwa, Posethi Uddhi Karanag
Ayu Deegan Vassa Sathan, Mathu Padang Nama Mahang”
By G. A. D. Sirimal
The Postal Department and discipline
I read in your papers of an allegation that the Postal Ministry was involved in
a tender that was illegally awarded, and that the Supreme Court had given a
ruling and fined the postal department. It was also reported that the Ministry
had sent a foreign parcel on State Service without paying the postage and
without declaring the contents. These are very serious irregularities to which
the Secretary should have been answerable.
I understand that the people involved in these irregularities are still there,
although others have been dismissed for much lesser offences. How is it that the
office of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Public Service Commission and the
Ministry of Public Administration have been turning a blind eye in connection
with the irregularities committed by the Ministry. Is that not favouritism shown
to officials with political patronage?.
I hope that the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Public
Administration will follow up the revelations in the Press..
No wonder the public service is going from bad to worse!
S. L. R. de Silva
Lessons that govt. and bureaucracy can learn from Singapore
1. 2008 school text books are not ready till April 2008.
2.. NIC for GCE (OL) and (AL) candidates are not ready by December or August.
3. PAYE and other Tax Tables are not printed on time for April Salary
preparation for the changes made by previous years (November) Budget.
4. Maximum price level contracts with the manufacturers of gas and milk powder
to be expired by 30th April, but not re-negotiated till 29th April 2008.
The above are some of the headlines that appeared in the Sri Lankan media which
reflect bad planning of government ministries and state bureaucracy.
I wish to quote my own experience on a practical issue that I encountered in
During February/March 1998, I was a participant of a seminar in Singapore.
During this seminar, the media spoke about the supply of water to Singapore from
Malaysia, which was under contract and that the current contract was due to
expire in 2012. You may be aware that there are no natural resources in this
City/Country other than the air they breathe. Malaysia has indicated their
planning of the increase price prior to negotiations.
Again I got an opportunity to visit the same country in 2002, July/August period
and then the media discussed the supply of drinking water to the participants of
the country’s National day parade including the Prime Minister using the
recycled water from the new plant. That was the phase I of the supply of water
project and next was to improve the technology to convert the sea water to
usable water for drinking and washing which they achieved by 2007.
Latest information we have is that Singapore Government is one of the few
countries, which informed its citizens not to get into the situation of panic
buying of food items including rice, since the government has sufficient stocks.
What we know in our country is that although every one was aware of the rice
crisis since December 2007, and we had all resources at our disposal (land,
water, seed paddy, and human resources) till the crisis hit us, all the
ministers and bureaucrats were only talking and doing nothing. Even at this
stage other than importing of rice, no plans have been made for the use of
freely available resources in our country.
In the mid 1960’s Mr. Lee Kwan Yu wanted to Singapore to be like Colombo. By
1990’s he made his vision and mission a reality far beyond 1960 Colombo. I need
not to say where Colombo and Sri Lanka stands when compared with present day
Is it worth paying salaries and later pensions, giving duty free vehicles and
many more other benefits to government servants, parliamentarians in the
legislature, and have over one hundred ministers to make policies and another
set of advisors and supporting staff to them?
Al Haj M.L.M. Jabir - A man of unwavering faith
It has been two years since Marhooom Al Haj M.L.M. Jabir left this world, and
not a single day passes without a thought or fond memories of him recollected by
his beloved wife or his children. As time passes without him around, memories of
him, his values, his deeds and his wisdom are recalled and appreciated more and
Our father or ‘Pa’ as we affectionately called him was a man of unwavering
faith, strong principles and great foresight. In most situations he would see a
side that no one ever thought of. At times we disagreed with some of his
decisions. But eventually we came to realise that he was always correct and that
it was we who were incorrect. We are still realising and experiencing the wisdom
of his actions. The present day Management Gurus are asking companies and its
employees to think-out-of-the-box. This was second nature to our beloved Pa.
Every thing Pa did was with a purpose and as far his children were concerned,
the purpose was to instill, encourage and educate with the ultimate objective of
making us better human beings. During school holidays we were taken on trips to
different parts of the country. And at the end of the trip there would be an
essay competition with prizes. The objectives of the trips were two-fold; one,
for pleasure and the second for education. Similarly, he would take one or more
of us for walks in the evening. He loved nature and the outdoors. Such walks
would eventually end up in a relative’s home. Again, done with a purpose! He is
always the first to propose to make an occasion out of an achievement by anyone
in the family so that achiever gets the recognition, and others get the message
that success is always rewarded.
One of the most important traits Pa instilled in us was the habit of reading. A
voracious reader himself, we remember and still treasure some of the books,
periodicals and other useful publications he got for us. He was a firm believer
of the saying “Reading Maketh a Full Man” and to drive home the point, he would
almost always present us with a book as a present for our achievements.
Pa was also an ardent crossword puzzle solver. Recent medical research has shown
that this is an activity which aids the elderly to retain their memory power. He
was practicing it long before they thought of it! Thanks to Allah, his memory
was sharp till the moment of his passing. All of us dabble in crossword puzzles
and hope to carry on his practice.
Pa loved his family immensely and he also loved his relatives and friends
equally. A great believer in strong family ties, he made sure that every
occasion and festival was a family affair with everyone attending. Festivals
especially were an exciting series of events; the day before the festival, the
girls helping in the preparation food and other goodies, frantically giving
finishing touches to the dresses to be worn for the occasion, boys polishing the
floor, furniture etc. On the festival day everyone taking a bath, wearing new
clothes and going to mosque for prayers and looking forward to sitting together
and partaking in the special food prepared for the occasion with light banter
and laughter. He’s the happiest observing these because he strived to achieve
Another value Pa taught us was “If it has to be done, it has to be done!” If
something was required to be done around the house, he would be the one to start
doing it, making us all join in and in the end rejoicing in a job well done!
Family unity is foremost in his mind this is how he strengthened the bond
amongst his children by doing things together or playing carrom or bridge with
them in the evenings. What he wanted to instill in us was to be independent but
united, think and analyse situations intelligently and to look after our affairs
by ourselves and not be a burden unto others. He was a very strong believer in
this and he virtually lived a life without being a burden to anyone including
his own family. Almighty Allah blessed him even in his passing which was without
a burden to anyone and with a united and loving family by his side.
Marhooom Al Haj M.L.M. Jabir was a wise, disciplined, loving man, a beloved
husband and a great father.
May Almighty Allah bestow on him the blessings of Jennathul Firdous!
His beloved wife and children
Al Haj S.M.Sabry - A true friend
Sometime in everyone’s life, there comes a jolt with the news of the death of
someone close, a parent, a sibling, a relative or even a good friend. I had such
a jolt recently when one of my friends called me up early in the morning with
the question, ‘Have your checked your e-mails’? When I said, ‘Not yet’, he came
out with the sad news that our mutual friend Sabry had passed away peacefully
after a brief illness. This was indeed a shock to me as I had met him a few
Sabry retired from the position of Auditor General in August 2000 after having
served for nearly eight years in that prestigious post. The position of Auditor
General, one enshrined in the island’s Constitution, calls for professional
competence but more importantly, a sturdy independence and utmost integrity.
Sabry met these requirements in more than full measure and served in that
capacity with honour and distinction. His professionalism, vast experience, fair
and unbiased judgment played a vital role indeed. His strong sense of ethics and
justice in the execution of his duties was outstanding and he was bold and
forthright in the face of opposition.
Sabry also served as a member of the Council of the Institute of Chartered
Accountants and on many important committees of the Institute, which included
the post of Chairman of the Examinations Committee. Since qualifying as a
Chartered Accountant, until his demise, he made an invaluable contribution to
Born on August 13, 1940, Sabry was the youngest. in a batch of Audit
Superintendents selected on the results of an open competitive examination held
in June 1966 He was a bright student who carried away many prizes, and had the
rare distinction of being equally proficient in all three languages. After
qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he could very well have moved to a more
rewarding job in the private sector, He chose, however to remain in the State
Audit. His professional competence and dedicated service resulted in his
reaching the zenith of his career as the Auditor General of Sri Lanka.
A devoted husband and father, he preferred to spend his retirement with his
family, instead of accepting any foreign assignments.
Sabry was a very private person and shunned publicity and personal glory.
Simplicity and humility were the hallmarks of his life. Pride, pomposity and
prejudice were anathema to him. A true practicing Muslim, possessing deep faith
in his religion sustained him throughout his life.
Dear friend, it has been my privilege to have been your good friend for over
three decades. I moved out of Sri Lanka first to the Middle East and then to
Canada but our friendship was maintained and fostered. Whenever my wife and I
paid our infrequent visits to Sri Lanka, your wife and you always made us so
welcome and we were showered with lots of affection and kindness. Both of you
were gracious enough to pay us a visit on the day before we left Sri Lanka, and
little did I know that I would be meeting you for the last time.
I can no longer count on your genuine friendship and words of wisdom and solace.
Your loss is an irreparable one to your beloved wife, Fahima, your children and
other family members but I am sure they have accepted God’s will with grace.
I can only repeat the words of the poet:
“Your life was so gentle and the elements so mixed in you
That Mother Nature would stand up and say to the world,
‘Here was a Man’.”
May the earth lie softly on your turf, dear friend
Dona Lisina Senanayake (nee Samaraweera) [1911 - 1980]
Twenty eight years have passed by which happen to be nearly a lifetime to me, a
period that passed by without my beloved grandmother Dona Lisina Senanayake.
Time and again, I cannot help, but realise the trauma of missing your dearly
loved presence around me, a ‘presence’ which fulfilled my every need as an
infant, and which I cherish most , as long as I live. Dearest Aththammi, you
have been, you still are, and you will always be special to me.
You were a warm human being, who has always spoken kind words, and even gone
that extra mile to heal a wounded heart of anyone who needed your help. The days
and times I spent in your loving tender care, at our ancestral home, in the
heart of Kurunegala, better known among friends, relatives and the neighbourhood
as ‘No: 55,’ was the most contented period of my life. They indeed were the
‘best days of my life,’ as you were right beside me, bringing meaning to every
I recall the memories of many a moonlit night that we spent together, in our
warm home, located beneath the mighty elephant rock in Kurunegala. You used to
read bedtime stories to me, as I fell asleep on your lap. I also recall, how you
would remain silent, bearing the pain, when I used to pinch your arm every
night, before I would fall asleep. I was only a child and had I known, my
‘unconscious pinch’ hurt you even a bit, I would have never even dreamt of
continuing with my habit.
When Vesak arrived each year, we used to illuminate the entire house with oil
lamps and lanterns, with the assistance of domestic help. I have heard many a
time, later in life that my grandpa, your beloved husband, built this eminent
home for you, before he welcomed you into his life as a picturesque young bride.
The enlarged version of your wedding portrait, which hangs on the wall of my
home, clearly exhibits your enchanting personality as a young, brisk, delicate
skillful and stylish bride, wearing a pair of ivory colored court shoes, who
even kept up with the fashions of the times.
The private driveway, which led to the entrance of ‘No: 55,’ the Walauwa built
by my grandpa, for the queen of his life, kept the house distant from the main
Kurunegala-Kandy highway, yet distinctly visible to the road. As the house was
situated in a much higher elevation, you and I, along with other family members
used to enjoy the annual Peraheras of the most renowned ‘Athkanda Raja Maha
Vihara,’ from home. The same Vihara remains our family temple forever, as we
remain loyal to it, continuing all religious conducts and duties with the place,
even after your demise.
I recall your frequent visits to the Vihara, the generous offerings of ’dana’ to
the monks. Since your demise, it was the late Ven. Kallanchiye Chandananda, who
conducted duties as the chief incumbent of this historic Vihara. Your children
and all your grandchildren including myself closely associated the late Ven.
Chandananda for many years, until his demise, a few years back. Every time we
visited the temple, the chief incumbent would never forget to bestow his deep
respect, gratitude and prayers to you, recalling you as a person who had been
outstandingly devoted to her religion and temple. “Senanayake Menike (or Loku
Menike) has done great deeds to the Vihara, which could never be forgotten,
ever,” he would always say. Moreover, you were a woman who had deep respect
towards your husband. I recall my mother saying that, every time that you were
to visit the temple with your children, you would kneel down and worship your
‘better half’ and make the children do the same, before leaving the house. Not
only did you bring seven children to this world, but also you inculcated values
on them. After the demise of Seeya Pappa (your beloved husband), you strongly
and firmly faced all challenges in life, overcoming every single obstacle, with
patience and determination.
You taught me how to believe in myself, how to love, respect and share, yet
never let myself down. Compassion was what you were all about, and you taught me
to be wise. Knowing that my veins carry your blood, brings a feeling of pride
and joy, simply knowing that, I am a grandchild of a grandmother, so humane.
I will always love you. May you attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana!
In memory of…
Don Clifton Kuruppu Wijeratne and
Amara Kuruppu Wijeratne
Somewhere, there’s a road
I am seeking,
To the city of Yesterday
It had splendid mansions
Built for me,
Named Childhood, Girlhood, Youth,
Womanhood and Motherhood, All
Filled with the glory of love,
To nurture, cherish, and guide
Every step of the way I trod.
Years passed, and you went away,
You had to go. Death
Claims all beings alike
So long ago it was,
Vain now is my search
For that road and city
Buried ‘neath Time’s jungle-tide
Only memories of you,
Stand firm like beacons of light
May you attain Nibbahna’s perfect peace!
With love and gratitude,
Your only child,