Much more here about how we started English medium, a massive undertaking I can now see though it was great fun at the time. We had to train teachers and get materials ready and arrange for distribution and monitoring of the books, while also enthusing principals, not at all an easy task in less than six months. But I had great support from Tara and from her principal Additional Secretary, Lalith Weeratunge, whom I met now for the first time.

The pictures are of him and Saman Liyanage.

Hectic work for English medium

On the Sunday I went to Getamanna where I met the students and also the old AUC English Instructor Liyanage who had entered for the Sabaragamuwa MA, and then after dropping in at my uncle’s and at the Radiant and Nimalka’s I went to the university. I had classes there next morning and a Senate meeting and taught there on the next morning too before returning to Colombo, collecting the proofs of my father’s book from Tharanjee en route.

Next morning May 30th, I went to the Ministry to be interviewed for the English Manager post Tara had decided on, and then I met the Educational Publications Department which Tara was trying to reform from the rentseeking dump it had been, and then after meeting Jolly about the project I left for the airport. This was for yet another German Commonwealth Literature Conference, this one in Freiburg, but I also had time beforehand in Thailand, where Peter too was visiting, so I was only back on the night of Sunday the 10th. The next morning I was taken by another Codipilly driver, who had picked me up the previous night, to the university in time to lecture, and then I went on Wednesday to the Academy for a couple of meetings on the programme as well as the Study Board, before getting back to Colombo.

Next morning Kithsiri took me to the Ministry to begin work, and I also drafted a proposal for World Bank support, with three components, Teacher Training, Book Production, and Monitoring. There was a British High Commission party that evening and the next day we had a CLD workshop at the American Centre, which was attended by Sunil and three of his mates, and other administrators including from Diyatalawa and NGOs. Peter came round for drinks that evening, and I worked at home next day and on the following I went to Madola to see Jothini’s new baby. After accounts with Shantha, and my uncle’s to deliver an invitation for the launch of my father’s book on his birthday, I got to the university, though the campus was closed so it was only administration next day. I then went after lunch to the Academy where we finalized marks, and I stayed over and went to the office next day to deliver books before getting back to the university and then Colombo. I saw the principal additional secretaries at the Ministry then, including Lalith Weeratunge, who impressed me very much at that first meeting, and we also discussed the preparation of books, which I realized I had to do myself for no one else would have got them ready in time for the first Year 6 group who were to be allowed to start English medium in 2002.