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This account reminds me that I had still to work on the promotion of English writing by Sri Lankans, as to which Anne Ranasinghe had been an able successor with regard to Channels, the journal we established when the English Writers Cooperative was set up. The picture is of illustrations which I found great fun for the Health component of the English medium materials we developed for Grade 6.

Books of all sorts

Back at home I edited the health text, for the team we had set up under Nirmali to start translating the textbooks was working apace, and with delightful illustrations added. I prepared my articles that night, and then went to the Ministry next day but found the meeting of Zonal Directors had been cancelled. I worked there all day, ending with a meeting of the Advisory Committee we had set up, and got home with Nirmali who was on it.

I had dinner at Jeevan’s that night and next morning went to the Ministry for a meeting of the Trainer Trainers we had got together, and then went to the cottage where I marked papers after which Peter joined me for dinner, having brought a picnic himself. I marked papers there net day and then got to Colombo for the birthday party of my niece.

I was at the Ministry next morning, and then met the Cambridge University Press people at home with Nirmali, whom they already knew well. It was then I think that she introduced me to their Sri Lanka representative, Mr Govindan, who became a great friend and published a lot of my work over the next few years, including the Handbook of English Grammar which they got some Indian universities too to prescribe.

We had lunch at the Cricket Club, and then I went to the World Bank to meet their international education expert, and then produced memos to make the Colleges and the RESCs more productive. Next morning I went to the Ministry where my university students also turned up to badger me more, and then I marked SLMA projects after lunch and went in the night for an FNS dinner at the Oberoi. I worked at home the next day, a poya, with an EWC meeting in the evening at Anne Ranasinghe’s and drinks at Peter’s before getting home to write my article.

Next morning I was again at the Ministry, where we finally got formal acceptances from the World Bank of our project proposals, and then after a meeting of the unit I had set up I went to the cottage, collecting materials from Ingiriya on the way. Next morning I went to the university and was delighted to find that IK had received his appointment, though it was only after I had badgered Tara, who had become Secretary of Higher Education too when the cabinet was reshuffled. I therefore agreed to take on the Dean’s post, and then I went with Chandra and Dr Wickremaratne, who had replaced IK as our science representative for the Study Board at the Academy.

Rajiva Wijesinha


August 2022
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