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Prospects appear bleak without modifying our educational framework – President



President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced plans to introduce a modernized education system in the country that can effectively address upcoming global challenges and incorporate modern technology. He highlighted the critical role of science and technology in various sectors of the world economy. Notably, he pointed out that areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, energy storage, blockchain technology, and genome science have significant impacts on the global economy.

President Wickremesinghe made these remarks during the 2019/2020 annual prize giving ceremony at Anula Vidyalaya in Nugegoda yesterday (16). He stressed the importance of moving forward collectively towards the future, steering away from political traditions fixated on the past. He underlined that progress for the country depends on embracing a novel education system.

During the event, President Wickremesinghe also honoured accomplished female students from Anula Vidyalaya, Nugegoda who excelled in the recent advanced level examination. He expressed gratitude towards the dedicated teachers and was presented with a commemorative gift by the school’s principal, marking the historic occasion of a President visiting Anula Vidyalaya in Nugegoda.

Further addressing the gathering, President Ranil Wickremesinghe extended his appreciation to the teachers and students, acknowledging the substantial progress of Anula Vidyalaya. He reflected on the school’s humble beginnings and its transformation into one of the country’s leading educational institutions. Emphasizing the school’s role in shaping future generations, he highlighted the evolution of the education system over the past five decades.

“During the time of President J.R. Jayawardena, the education landscape primarily consisted of textbooks. However, today’s educational paradigm has integrated the use of cell phones and computers. This evolution also extends to the realm of transportation, as the concept of electric vehicles was non-existent in the past, but now they are an integral part of society. The rapid advancement of science and technology is evident, necessitating a contemporary education system to thrive in this environment.

It’s evident that a country’s progress hinges on an education system that aligns with societal needs. To construct a prosperous nation, it’s imperative to nurture a promising future generation. Education stands as the cornerstone for laying the foundation to empower this generation to surmount challenges.

The need of the hour is an education framework that is forward-thinking and future-oriented. Our nation must be equipped to confront the potential challenges arising from climate change. The global phenomenon of climate change warrants meticulous study, as exemplified by the current environmental crises in Europe. The United Nations’ decision to advance the climate change agenda’s implementation by a decade, due to the urgent nature of the issue, underscores the gravity of the situation. Nations worldwide are gearing up to fulfil the climate agenda by 2040, a decade ahead of the original 2050 timeline.

The modern world economy thrives on various sectors driven by scientific and technological advancements. Artificial intelligence, robotics, energy storage, blockchain technology, and genome science represent just a fraction of the fields influencing the global economy. It’s paramount that we ready ourselves for these transformative shifts.

Economists project that the integration of these technologies could contribute a substantial $300 to $700 trillion to the global economy by the mid-21st century. The world is progressing within this economic trajectory, necessitating our proactive preparedness.

Much like the readiness exhibited towards the apparel industry in the 1970s and 80s, we must now embrace these emergent technologies. This calls for a fundamental overhaul of our education system. A proliferation of universities specializing in these domains is imperative. Furthermore, proficiency in languages such as English, Chinese, and Hindi is vital. Schools and higher education institutions must be established as centres of knowledge dissemination in these fields. Consequently, our strategy encompasses the establishment of non-state universities alongside state institutions. A scheme akin to the subsidized loan systems abroad has been devised to enable students to pursue education in non-government universities without financial constraints interrupting their academic pursuits.

Today, you belong to the Gen Z generation. The succeeding generation, referred to as Gen Alpha, must be equipped to navigate a vastly transformed educational landscape, possibly acquiring knowledge through mobile devices. This paradigm shift in education necessitates our proactive adaptation.

While politicians tend to focus on past matters, as students, our attention should be on the present. Yet, we set our sights on the future, compelling us to recalibrate our approach and surge ahead. Those tethered to historical perspectives must be bridged to the present, where insights into the future are attainable. Without modifying our educational framework, our prospects appear bleak. Progress is only conceivable through the adoption of a novel educational system.

While factories, edifices, and thoroughfares can be constructed, the absence of education jeopardizes our future. Thus, as a government, we are resolute in our commitment to institute a fresh education system, ushering in a promising future for our nation.”

In attendance at this event were Minister of Education Dr. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Transport, Highways, and Mass Media Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation Pavitra Wanniarachchi, President’s Senior Advisor on National Security and Presidential Chief of Staff Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka, Members of Parliament Jagath Kumara and Major Pradeep Undugoda, along with Governor of the Western Province Air Marshal Roshan Gunathilaka. Also present were the principal, teachers, a significant assembly of students and parents.

(President’s Media Division)


Excise officers who kidnapped Beedi businessman remanded




Five suspects including the Tangalle Excise OIC who were arrested over kidnapping and assaulting a Beedi businessman in Walasmulla, have been remanded till October 5 after being produced in the Walasmulla Magistrate’s Court.

The Excise OIC, two other excise officers and a driver from the Tangalle Excise Station and an army sergeant are among the remanded suspects.

The business license of the businessman residing in Maraketiya, Rajapuragoda in Walasmulla expired on June 26.

A team of excise officials including the OIC of the Tangalle Excise Station had arrived at his house on September 18 and seized the Beedi leaves.

Excise officials had demanded Rs.1.4 million from the businessman not to take legal action in this regard.

They had taken the businessman away in a three-wheeler, beaten him up, and then had taken an amount of Rs.1 million by force.

A nearby CCTV camera has captured the excise officers kidnapping the businessman.

Meanwhile, the four Excise officers were interdicted by the Commissioner General of Excise.

The decision has been taken following the instruction of State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.

The four Excise officers were interdicted over the allegations of assault and soliciting a bribe from the Beedi manufacturer for not implementing the law against him for possession of Beedi leaves without a license.

Related News: 

Excise officials kidnap beedi businessman & forcefully take Rs.1mn

4 Excise officers interdicted for assaulting Beedi businessman

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Nandiyas, Sri Lanka’s oldest turns 109




The 109-year-old Magala Kottachchi Nandiyas, a resident of Kappettiagoda in Galle, is the oldest citizen in Sri Lanka, the National Secretariat for Elders confirmed.

According to his identity card, Nandiyas was born on June 3, 1914. Nandiyas, who lives a very healthy life even now, is a farmer by profession.

Although he had only gone up to grade five, he can read and write.

It is said that the reason for this senior citizen’s healthy lifestyle is the toxic-free nutritious diet.

Until recently, he has cultivated potatoes, sweet potatoes, and even cassava in his home garden.

He is a father of four and a grandfather of four grandchildren. The youngest grandson is now five years old.

Nandiyas is fondly called ‘Loku Aiya’ or Big Brother by the whole village.

The beloved wife of Mr. Nandiyas had passed away some time ago.

Although he has recently developed a hearing impairment, his memory is still intact.

Source – Dinamina

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Port City to be ‘Colombo Financial Zone’: President




President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that a new legislation has been drafted to transform the Port City as the Colombo Financial Zone.

President Wickremesinghe said this in his address at the 2023 Commercial Mediation Symposium at Colombo’s Hilton Hotel, the President’s Media Division said.

The event was organized by International Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre (IADRC).

The President underscored the significance of international trade agreements and the need for Sri Lanka to become a center for alternate dispute resolution.

He urged legal professionals to look beyond Sri Lanka’s borders and specialize in emerging fields like AI, Blockchain and green energy to secure the nation’s competitive future.

“Now we want Sri Lanka to be a center. One is the new legislation which will replace the port city to make it a Colombo financial zone with jurisdiction for offshore activity. The new law has been drafted. And we will see the light of day before the end of the year.”

“Secondly, the BOI will be replaced with the Economic Commission. Which is also looking at the resolution of disputes. We will be entering a number of free trade agreements. We have got one with Singapore. We are about to finalize one with Thailand. We are discussing with India to upgrade the agreement. Talking with Bangladesh. And more than that, we are moving to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). That’s the largest trading community in the world. So this means that alternate dispute resolutions are going to be important.”

In a final call to action, he offered government funding to support learning and expertise development in these new areas, inviting all stakeholders to join in the journey towards a more efficient and forward-looking legal landscape in Sri Lanka.

President Wickremesinghe emphasized that Sri Lanka must position itself as the central player in the region. When examining Singapore as a benchmark, Sri Lanka should strive to match or surpass Singapore in various aspects, except for cost, where it should maintain a competitive advantage.

This approach is crucial because there exists a noticeable void in this region, which Sri Lanka can effectively fill if it acts swiftly.

“This is the key lesson to be derived. Furthermore, it is essential for all lawyers and individuals involved in legal services to broaden their perspectives and explore opportunities beyond their current scope,” the President added.

Meanwhile, he acknowledged the long-standing reliance on trial courts and stressed the importance of embracing alternate dispute resolution methods.

Highlighting the government’s commitment, he mentioned the establishment of the Alternate Dispute Resolution Center in 2018 and expressed support for its continued growth.

President Wickremesinghe urged the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Investments to collaborate on supporting these initiatives.

“Alternate dispute resolution, arbitration, both have a long way to travel in Sri Lanka and that’s our problem. We have to first find ways of how we can adjust to this process. You need a change of culture. Change of culture where disputes can be resolved in the shortest possible time. Which means we are in a way wedded to the old concept of the trial court? Whether we have a domestic inquiry, we all want to follow the same procedure. I don’t know why. But nevertheless, this is one of the challenges that we have to face.”

He emphasized that success in dispute resolution was crucial for Sri Lanka’s aspirations to be an outward-looking economy.

The event was attended by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, State Minister Anuradha Jayarathne, Judges of the Supreme Court, Attorney General, Former Attorney Generals, Retired Judges of the Supreme Court, Resident Representative of UNDP Azusa Kubota, Secretary to the Ministry of Justice, IADRC Chairman Dr. K. Kanag-Isvaran, Director & Secretary General of IADRC Dhara Wijayatilake, legal professionals and the representatives of reputed companies in Sri Lanka.

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