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)


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