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This records my first acquaintance with the higher levels of vocational training, with a workshop at what in accordance with principles I pushed became a university a few years later. But then I record the election of 2001 which set educational reforms back given the perverse personality of the new Prime Minister.

The pictures are of Priyantha Kulatunga and Neomal Weerakoon and Walter Perera.

The election of 2001

The next day I had a different workshop at the National Institute of Technical Education (NITESL) which letter became the University of Vocational Technology, something I pushed when I was on the National Education Commission for I felt it was time we ceased being exclusive and opened degrees out even more widely than Arjuna Aluvihare had done with his Affiliated Colleges.

I went after that to the cottage, where the electrician also had to be paid now, in addition to the carpenter. I marked papers that evening and the next day too, Sunday December 2nd, and paid the workmen and got more materials, and also prepared my report on the Technical Education workshop. But I also much enjoyed cooking both lunch and dinner, extravagantly as usual.

Next morning I went to the NIE and then the Ministry, and in the afternoon went to the EASL accountant, before a dinner at the British High Commission. I was at the Ministry again next day, and again at the accountant’s in the evening, and then I had to check on Walter Perera’s publications for his next promotion. I gave him marks next day and set a paper the Examinations Department had requested for me for something called the Oriental Society, which for some reason demanded an English paper, and then after working with Nirmali on the project I finished marking Walter’s publications and set another Oriental paper and moderated papers for the South Eastern University.

That day, December 5th, had been the General Election which Chandrika had called when she lost her parliamentary majority, and on the 6th it was clear that the UNP had a majority and Rani Wickremesinghe became Prime Minister. I had in fact voted for the UNP, for the country was in steep decline, and indeed Peter had told me before he left that he had never seen a country collapse as swiftly as this had done during the three years he had served her.

I continued that day with the reports and papers I had been working on, and next morning posted the report on Walter and went to the Elections Secretariat, I think because the Liberal Party had contested one or two districts. I stayed at home that day, and over the weekend that followed, seeing Hapugoda on the Sunday with South Eastern papers and Priyantha and Neomal who were working on the book of the earlier CLD project Jeevan had started, and having dinner at Nirmali’s with Ena.

On Monday I went to the NIE to begin a workshop on teacher training and then I went to the university and then to the Academy for a Study Board, staying over that night to enter retest results and going to the university next morning. There was much administration that day and the next day I taught, and went for the night to the cottage.

Rajiva Wijesinha


September 2022
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