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For the reintroduction of English medium in government schools I received much support from foreign agencies, with the British and the Canadians particularly keen to help. Meanwhile I was also working on the house for Kithsiri, and I mention here for the first time the workmen from his village who became an integral part of my life over the next two decades and more, building too at Getamanna and at Lakmahal when adjustments were needed.

The pictures are of the book and of Neluka Silva with whom I edited it.

Professional and domestic efforts

I taught as usual on Monday and Tuesday with interviews on the Tuesday for new staff and a meeting of a Convocation Committee and the Faculty, and then I went to Kandy. I spent the night at the Codipilly hotel there, perhaps because I was late, and next morning I had breakfast with Ayra before going to the Mahaweli College which had now taken over from Pasdunrata as the leading College of Education for English. All this was to check on what was going on in English education, and so after lunch at Derrick’s I went to the Kandy RESC and the Penideniya Teacher Training College. I then had to go to Peradeniya University for an interview for Walter Perera’s promotion to a Professorship and then went to Derrick’s for the night after also talking to the Vice Chancellor about what I have described as a Penideniya Centre, though what that was meant to be I cannot recall exactly, since typically nothing came of it. Possibly it was an attempt by the university to take over the Training College.

I took Kithsiri’s family back next day and played cards at Nirmali’s over drinks but had dinner at home and worked on the English programme. I was at the Canadian High commission next morning and then went to the Ministry, getting back in time to go to Peter’s for dinner. On Saturday we had a CLD workshop at the American Centre, and got back after lunch, to meet Jeevan and also Prasanna to collect his plan for Kithsiri’s house, after which I went to the cottage for the night.

Kithsiri went next morning to see the local workmen he proposed to use, while I worked on the English initiative but also finalized the book of the Council conference. We stayed over that night too and I went to Colombo next day, to work at the Ministry and also see Sue Maingay at the Council about the book and other possible work together.

Next morning I went to the NIE to talk about the Primary English Language Project which David Woolger had been asked to run. But another David who replaced him after his sad death was a disaster, and when a Primary Maths project came up the Council bid to run it failed. By now Tara had seen the English programme as a way of instituting vital reforms of the curriculum, and I realized how essential this was in Maths, for the NIE head of Mathematics, a very bright man, told me when I mentioned that I found the Grade 6 maths curriculum absurd, that that had not been changed even though there had been changes at primary level. The result was chaos, with students unable to progress smoothly.

Rajiva Wijesinha


August 2022
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