System of professional education needed
Posted on August 26th, 2019

Courtesy Ceylon Today

Youth are being forced to go begging for jobs from this regime and then get tear-gassed in return. However, no one today questions this regime as to what has become of its major promise to create one million jobs for youth, Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the SLPP Youth Convention on 24 August, at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre, said.

His full speech verbatim is as follows:

“This youth convention is an important one. First is that when I am in front of you all, I feel that I am standing before the future of this nation. Today, looking at the issues discussed here we can comprehend as to what sort of a future this country has. When I stand before this convention I also tend to recall what happened in the past. My mind goes back to 1970 when I was elected to parliament as the youngest ever MP. Within one year after I was elected to parliament, the youth insurrection occurred. The main operation centre for these rebels was Vidyodhaya where I was employed as well. During that insurgency, several youth whom I had known were nabbed by the Police and the Army. Among the arrestees was one of the young MPs of our Government, the youthful Vasu. When they were apprehended by the Mirihana Police, in order to save them I had to wait, being seated on the staircase of Temple Trees. After that, I can remember the incidents that took place in 1989. From Embilipitiya up to Batalanda, there were several torture chambers. They searched to kill youths who had received higher

education in 1989. I can remember we went on protest demonstrations carrying the corpses of Wasantha and Prasanna who were killed in Tangalle in 1989. For the first time in history, the words human rights were brought to the public domain through the HR Committees that we formed in Tangalle. That was on behalf of scores of youths who were murdered. 

Pada Yathra

When a Pada Yathra was launched from Colombo to Kataragama in 1992, the roads were drenched by the tears of mothers. These youth must remember that if the law had been enacted against the then leaders of the Government not a single leader of the current regime would be able to run this Government. They maintained a torture chamber in the University of Colombo as well. Today most of the Ministers of the current UNP regime were forced to experience various forms of harassment in that torture chamber. In addition, those who went searching for youth to kill them in those days, continue to serve as Ministers in the current regime. We who saved youth from those torture chambers are being harassed by these rulers. That is the nature of the current politics practised here. There was a civil war here for 30 years. Every cent that should have been spent on the country’s future was forced to be incurred for that war. Hence, no Government was able to either create jobs or carry out any economic

development during that period. Hundreds and thousands of youth in the North and South were prevented from leading decent lives due to the ravages of the war. Hence, the biggest service rendered by us to the youth of this nation is the ending of the war within a span of four years. Several generations of youth were saved due to the effective completion of the war. In addition, scores of youth who were

engaged in terror acts were successfully rehabilitated and they were afterwards released to the society within months of the end of the war. We have handed them over to the society for them to become better citizens. 

I can remember when I addressed the nation in 2005 that I stressed that I will not allow the problems faced by us to be encountered by the future generation. In those days, the graduates were jobless. We took the task of providing jobs to such persons as one of the priorities of our Government. From 1948 up to 2005, only 700,000 had been employed as State sector workers. By 2015 we had been able to increase that amount to 1.5 million before we handed over that Government and went home. However, now again the problem of unemployed graduates has come to the fore. Nowadays one can see on television, youth being forced to go begging for jobs from this regime and then get tear-gassed in return. However, no one today questions this regime as to what has become of its major promise to create one million jobs for the youth. We had answers to questions faced by the youth in those days. As soon as I got the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training I introduced the concept of a job to all who have the aptitude to the country. Providing only free education to youth is not sufficient. We were under the impression from those days that they should be given professional education. Their abilities have to be sharpened. We believed that a system of professional education has to be introduced to the country. 

Ocean economy

We also thought about an ocean economy. Having formed a coastal preservation armed unit while protecting the shores we thought having unearthed the resources from the ocean to further improve the country’s economy. For the first time, an oceanic university was created. Just like the way one looks at the gem pits of Ratnapura, we have to look at the oceans as well. Having thought on those lines, we strived to provide a new life to the youth here. When we came to power in 2005, the country’s computer literacy stood at five per cent. We formed Nenasala centres everywhere. The country quickly moved to computer-related jobs. Today even applications are submitted for university entrances through the computer or online. Even youth in villages today are registered for campuses, thanks to the computer education that we introduced. At the time when we left home, we had managed to increase the computer literacy to 50 per cent from five per cent. However, show me at least one instance that this regime had improved a lot of the country’s youth during the past four years. 

The computer literacy which we had improved since 2005 was used to send us home by this regime in 2015. The youth of today must, therefore, understand the current imbalance in the politics of this country. I must recall the late Anagarika Dharmapala. He had thought of the 21st century even during the 19th century when he lived. He not only saved Buddhagaya for the Buddhists of the world but rendered several noble services to this country as well. He was instrumental in the creation of Buddhist schools. Not only that, he also established 52 schools geared towards providing professional training for our students. He thought of providing professional training to children from the school age. To such an eminent person, certain people of this country disparaged him and forced him to leave this country for good.

He, in the end, passed away in India. After that, it was A. E. Gunasingha. It was Gunasingha who had fought tooth and nail to grant suffrage to Sri Lankans back in 1931. Before 1931 those who had suffrage were wealthy, affluent, and educated. However, he fought for the rights of all citizens here and demanded that suffrage should be granted for all and sundry sans any discrimination. Nevertheless, several leaders at the time were opposed to Gunasingha’s demand. However, Ceylon received the right to vote in 1931. What happened afterwards?

Gunasingha who fought valiantly to grant this right was sent home through the people’s franchise. After that, I recall CWW Kannangara. He tabled the Free Education Act in parliament aimed at granting the free education right to all citizens here. However, those who had stood against Dharmapala also rose up against Kannangara as well. They voted against the Act. However, the Act was passed due to the presence of progressive MPs both in the North and South. That was a historic triumph of this country. Nevertheless, at the next election, even Kannangara was defeated and he was sent home. The youth of today must learn these lessons from history. We waged the war and granted freedom for the people and those very people were utilised to send us home. 

The voting rights that were given by us to the North-East after decades were utilised against us. The computer literacy and cell phone facilities that were improved by us were utilised against us. Not only that, the ports, airports and highways that were built by us were utilised against us. They say that the 8 January conspiracy was hatched while travelling on the highway. After that, they showed the highway and uttered lies against the Government. Due to the port that was built by us, this country will become a naval hub in Asia. Then whom will it affect? They did this to all who strived to develop this nation through domestic resources. The youth who are here preparing to take the helm of this country in the future must understand the deep reality of this political game. If we lose heart, not only us but even the country will be defeated. 

You must remember that those who forced Dharmapala to leave this country having flung mud at him are still present in this society. Those who sent A E Gunasingha home who strove to introduce suffrage to this land are still present in this country. Now those who sent those people home are saying that youth must forgo politics. They have uttered that youth should not cast their votes. These people are determined to take away your right to vote. The behaviour of these forces must be understood through history.

These forces always misled the country’s youth. Hence, you must not look near but look far. You have to be farsighted if you intend to take the helm of this country. Hence, I would like to emphasise to the youth of this nation, always think twice about what you hear and what you see. Always learn from past history.”

One Response to “System of professional education needed”

  1. aloy Says:

    Our permanent enemy is still at the gate. Last time the Trojan horse was My3. This time it is going to be the so called Sajth faction perhaps together with My3. Yet they are all one and only the whole of UNP backed by the tiger and the camels(who say we have 30%).
    So, the Sinhalas should stand united and not be deceived. The old guards should retire gracefully.

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