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Looking back on all this, I am immensely proud of the staff I used for the English medium project, including the RESC personnel who were most enthusiastic, and my former Sabaragamuwa students who worked with a will. But as I note, not all Zonal directors were enthusiastic, Colombo in particular ignoring the initiative, so that only Ananda College and its neighbour Asoka started straight away of all government schools in the Zone. Needless to say, most of the private schools were enthusiastic, though oddly S. Thomas’ Prep and Bishop’s College did not take it up, because of a rather peculiar attitude to the idea on the part of the then Bishop of Colombo.

The pictures are of the book I put together from his writings for my father’s 80th birthday, in 2001, and then of Rudra Rajasingham, the most gentlemanly of policemen.

Collaborative efforts

I was at the Ministry over the next three days, selecting Project Officers on the last day, for which I had got some of the students who had finished the degree along with Ranga as well as some from the following year to apply. I also met RESC personnel about how they could contribute, and spoke to Lalith again about the aid we needed. That eveing I got to the cottage, and had my cousin Rohan and his wife and a friend for lunch next day, and got through a lot of administrative work, leaving on the Monday morning for the university via the Ratnapura Education office and the Kahawatte RESC and the Balangoda Educational Office, to encourage participation in the project. We had decided to announce that any school that wanted to could undertake English medium, though they would not get additional staff but would have to work with those they had. Unfortunately the programme was publicized through Zonal Offices, and it depended on the enthusiasm or otherwise of Zonal Directors whether there was take up. Thus in the Colombo Zone, which was less that lukewarm, only two government schools opted for the programme, but in the neighbouring Sri Jayawardenepura Zone there were well over a dozen.

We had a Senate meeting that afternoon and the next day I went to the SLMA where we were revising syllabuses and then it was back to the cottage for the night. Next morning I picked up my father’s books from Tharanjee and then having got home to wish him I went to the Ministry where my new staff were in attendance, continued with plans and letters and then got home for the party at which we launched the book.

I saw Peter next morning and was then at the Ministry to send off letters, and after seeing Tara went to the World Bank team at their office, and was pleased with the response. I had then to get to USJP for a concert and to Tissa Jayatilleka’s party, and the next day I was again at the Ministry, though I also went to the Ministry of Higher Education to get their support.

That evening I went with Derrick to see my grandfather Rudra Rajasingham in hospital. He was an outstanding police officer who had become Inspector General of Police, and I was also deeply grateful to him for he had agreed to stand on our list for the General Election. Then I went to the cottage for the night, and did much writing over the weekend, leaving on the night of Sunday July 1st for the university.

Rajiva Wijesinha


August 2022
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