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Sunday, 3 April 2011

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Treat all schools alike



We know today the parents make a tremendous sacrifice to provide a good education to their children. We should however make them dutiful citizens endowed with good qualities.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, an ardent cricket fan, prior to leaving the country to watch the World Cup cricket finals in India had called upon all Sri Lankans here and abroad to rally round the Sri Lankan team in a bid to win the Cricket World Cup - 2011 as a tribute to Muttiah Muralitharan who will retire from ODIs after the world cup match at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, yesterday.

While the Sri Lankans around the world had high hope that Sri Lankan team would bring the World Cup back home and Indians taught to win the coveted prize President Rajapaksa paid homage at the Lord Venkateswara hill shrine near Tirupati, in India for the success of the Sri Lankan team. On Monday when he met the foreign media at the Temple Trees President Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka would not support any one killing innocent civilians and could not accept the violation of the sovereignty of any country.

“I always believe that the people are right, but no one should harm the innocent citizens”, he said.Responding to questions on the effects on Sri Lanka’s foreign remittances due to the ongoing crises in West Asia and North Africa, and the economic crisis in the West, the President said that the country has to look for alternatives and Korea is one such alternative.

He said the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has not asked for an extension so far but it would be granted if a request is made.

At the swearing in of elected heads of local government institutions held at Temple Trees recently President Rajapaksa told them to work for the country and repose their trust in the government.

“You will be going to your respective areas and will perform your duties as explained to you by the General Secretary of the UPFA and the SLFP General Secretary. Filling marshy lands, approving buildings on reclaimed lands and renting out buildings are not your job. People judge you by your actions. Remember that the people are watching you and if you work for your perks they will not forgive you”, he said.

“Since 2005, the people have voted for us to win six elections. Many allegations have been made by the Opposition against us. If they see a building here or there, they say it has been taken over by us, the President said. Only the Opposition slings mud at me, but for you it will be from both outside and within, the President said. Even the international forces level allegations against us. The Opposition only helps them, to do so. Charges of war crimes and other allegations are made and the aim of the Opposition is to topple this government”.

The voters reposed trust in us and voted us to power overwhelmingly in the local govt. elections. Our people cannot be deceived though the Opposition attempts to do so. The Opposition went to Tissamaharamaya not to canvass for votes. Even in Kataragama they lost. But the UNP was not interested in winning local elections. What they wanted was to topple the government and asked the people to vote for them to do so but it did not happen.

By making us victorious, they have placed heavy responsibilities on us. Our methods are not the best, but we have done well at the elections and the people are with us. Like, the Cabinet, the MPs and myself you too bear responsibility to your village. What you are doing is for your children’s future and for the future of the people”, he said.

“During the recent elections, there were many personal conflicts and lots of infighting within the party organizations in some areas. The people have made their decision and so has the party. You have to respect these decisions while discharging your duties. New legislations would be made to help do this. Under the new laws to be passed, the administration of the Local authorities will be governed by these laws. It is imperative that all have to work together in harmony to make the new local government laws administratively effective. Earlier cheques were signed by chairmen or heads of local bodies. Under the new law, it will by done by the secretary of the local body” or any other government official”.

“New laws will be passed and the administration of the Local Authorities will be governed by such laws. Let me tell you of an incident that was brought to my notice, the President said. A Western Province PS which was collected the highest revenue of Rs. 4 million, pays Rs. 3 million to a private garbage collecting company. This PS is not under the control of the UPLF. With the new legislation that will be enacted and this type of mismanagement will not take place”.

“It has also been brought to my notice that our elected party members do not work in co-operation with our party officials. The district organizer is an important official. It is he who may have recommended you for nomination as a party candidate, the President said.

“The people voted for you because of the trust they reposed in you, the government and the Party. So preserve the trust”.

“Your services are meant for the good of all in the village. Do not spend all funds allocated to your councils, only for the ward you represent. Voters will not like this and your council members too will not. Make sure that you work with all party officials harmoniously.

Do not fail to attend to all party activities since it is obligatory on your part to do so. Participation is important. We have strengthened the party and all around us to serve the people”, the President said.

Addressing the ceremony - the Richmond College inretrospective - held at the Richmond College, Galle, President Rajapaksa said that the schools should be able to produce a disciplined future generation to the country and the country’s education system should be able to mould them to be good citizens who respect all ethnic groups in the country.

The Richmond College inretrospective gives me plenty of satisfaction. It is the alma mater of my father, Grand-father D.M. Rajapaksa, D.C. Rajapaksa and my elder brother Chamal Rajapaksa as well. I too had my primary education there. So I am happy that I could be present today.

Although the missionaries started the Richmond College, yet it produced a generation to fight imperialism and render some service to the people of this country.

The education imparted by the Buddhist schools was not confined to the books alone. Similarly the Richmond College too had extra curricular activities. D.M. Rajapaksa the leader of the College’s sports groups fought the imperialists through the strength gained out of such activities. That should be the path which we should open for all our children. That is why we provide facilities such as renovating this sports complex to our children.

We know today the parents make a tremendous sacrifice to provide a good education to their children. We should however make them dutiful citizens endowed with good qualities.

As the children belonging to rich, middle class and low-income families are reportedly suffering from nutrition deficiency, it is time for us to be keen about the food we provide for our children. A rich diet is a must for the intellectual development of the child. I believe that our children should be fed with what is cultivated in the country itself.

It is the school that gives birth to the modern citizen who could conquer the world. The education is competent enough to eliminate differences of caste, creed, race and whether one is small or big. Schools should not be categorized into national popular and village schools or those in difficult areas and this practice ought to be done away with. It is our responsibility to make available facilities to each and every school and upgrade them to provide a quality education to our children.

The new state-of-the-art 10 neurosurgery unit built, at a cost of Rs. 2.8 billion, at the National Hospital, Colombo was opened by the President on Thursday. The 300-bed super-specialty tertiary-care facility, with a roof-top helipad to provide air ambulance services, is one of Asia’s most advanced neurosurgical units with special focus on neurotrauma, neurology, and neurosurgery.

The building comprises eight operation theatres, six intensive care units each with 66 beds, one unit with 228 beds and one observation unit is partially funded by the Saudi Fund for Development.

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