After ten posts about university work earlier in the mid-nineties, I return to my later work with Kithsiri, going into the aftermath of the General Election of 2001. I deal here with the problems that beset both the Ministry of Education and the English medium programme when Ranil Wickremesinghe became Prime Minister. Though his Education Minister Karunasena Kodituwakku was supportive, Ranil was against the programme and wanted it stopped. He also decimated the Ministry by ignoring his advisers who wanted Lalith Weeratunge appointed as Secretary, purely because of a personal grudge dating back to the days when Lalith had been a personable youngster in the Ministry of Youth Affairs which had been Ranil’s first Ministry.

Coincidentally the Daily News today carries my review of Tara de Mel’s book about her efforts at reform, and the challenges they faced, though she is too proper to name names about those who destroyed so much good that she did. I shall reproduce today that review, which makes clear who the enemies of promise were, on the literary blog literary blog http://rajiva2lakmahal.colombo.wordpress.com/

The pictures are of Lalith and those he claimed were his mentors, Charitha and Ranil, the former still registering his worth though the latter was incapable of this.

Ranil’s vengefulness

Next morning I went to the NIE and then to the Ministry where the new Minister, Karunasena Kodituwakku, assumed duties. I had known him and he seemed delighted to see me, and when I told him about the English programme and asked if he wanted me to continue with it, he said I certainly should. His next comment about it was to ask why so few schools had taken it up, and why we had not involved his old school Royal College. I told him that Royal College boys were not my first priority, but that they seem to have suffered because the Colombo Zonal Director had not favoured the project. Kodituwakku promptly remedied this, and whereas we began the first term on 2002 with just under 100 schools, by the second we had over 400. And throughout his tenure, he was solidly behind the programme – unlike the Prime Minister who, he told me, had surprised him by telling him he should abandon it. I continue grateful to him, as the country should be, that he did not give in, and English medium has thus far continued, though not as successfully as it would have done had Tara continued in charge.

I went on that day to the exams department and again the NIE and then back to the Ministry, and was back again there the next day – having first gone to the UGC to leave records, I presume for Arudpragasam – and was sad to find Lalith in a state of uncertainty about his future. After the election I had called up Charitha Ratwatte, Ranil’s right hand man, and suggested they keep Tara on but he started gabbling, which I knew meant he was not positive. I had thought this likely since Tara was identified with Chandrika, so I then suggested Lalith, and Chari said he thought it would be a good idea. In fact the committee to nominate secretaries, which he belonged to, did recommend Lalith but for personal reasons, spiteful ones, Ranil ignored them and appointed a disaster called V K Nanayakkara.

Instead Ranil brought in someone who President Premadasa’s Secretary Wijeyedasa told me later had been a pain. When told to do something, he would look up Administrative and Financial Regulations, and then say that it was impossible to act as instructed. 

Coincidentally the Daily News today carries my review of Tara de Mel’s book about her efforts at reform, and the challenges they faced, though she is too proper to name names about those who destroyed so much good that she did. I shall reproduce that review today on the literary blot

Ranil’s vengefulness

Next morning I went to the NIE and then to the Ministry where the new Minister, Karunasena Kodituwakku, assumed duties. I had known him and he seemed delighted to see me, and when I told him about the English programme and asked if he wanted me to continue with it, he said I certainly should. His next comment about it was to ask why so few schools had taken it up, and why we had not involved his old school Royal College. I told him that Royal College boys were not my first priority, but that they seem to have suffered because the Colombo Zonal Director had not favoured the project. Kodituwakku promptly remedied this, and whereas we began the first term on 2002 with just under 100 schools, by the second we had over 400. And throughout his tenure, he was solidly behind the programme – unlike the Prime Minister who, he told me, had surprised him by telling him he should abandon it. I continue grateful to him, as the country should be, that he did not give in, and English medium has thus far continued, though not as successfully as it would have done had Tara continued in charge.

I went on that day to the exams department and again the NIE and then back to the Ministry, and was back again there the next day – having first gone to the UGC to leave records, I presume for Arudpragasam – and was sad to find Lalith in a state of uncertainty about his future. After the election I had called up Charitha Ratwatte, Ranil’s right hand man, and suggested they keep Tara on but he started gabbling, which I knew meant he was not positive. I had thought this likely since Tara was identified with Chandrika, so I then suggested Lalith, and Chari said he thought it would be a good idea. In fact the committee to nominate secretaries, which he belonged to, did recommend Lalith but for personal reasons, spiteful ones, Ranil ignored them and appointed a disaster called V K Nanayakkara.