publishing what might have been a speech by me last week, you had an introduction from a recent article in ‘Ceylon Today’. My attention had been drawn to a Sinhala version of this in ‘Mawbima’, and I had written the attached letter to Hon S B Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education, with regard to one item in the article. I hope you can publish this letter in full to make the position clear, if possible with this covering letter.

I would be sorry if propagation of what appears in ‘Mawbima’ or ‘Ceylon Today’ seems to contradict my appreciation of Minister Dissanayake and what he is trying to do. I should add that, while the President does not mince his words, he has never made any criticism of Minister Dissanayake or suggested it when we have spoken about Education.

My appreciation of the Minister’s commitment and perceptiveness goes back to 2002, when I accompanied a former IMF Consultant who had innovative ideas about education and training to meet several Ministers. Minister Dissanayake, unlike most of his colleagues, understood the proposed interventions and the urgent need for reform. Sadly that initiative got nowhere, but when he was appointed Minister of Higher Education I recalled that conversation, and was most optimistic. This was justified by his plans but sadly delays elsewhere caused problems.

Given the work he has done, he is one person who should not be moved even were there any reshuffle, because that would send the wrong message about the government’s commitment to reform in this sector.

Yours sincerely

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

SB - 3 Dec 2012