We have to arm youth with the latest technology – Gota
Posted on August 26th, 2019

Courtesy Ceylon Today

SLPP’s Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, during the SLPP Youth Convention, held at Nelum Pokuna on 24 August, answered questions of youth who participated in the convention.

Excerpts: 

There have been several issues that have emerged within the education sphere of Sri Lanka for youth. After the GCE O/L and GCE Advanced Level exams, scores of youths tend to face the issue of unemployment. Only 18 per cent tend to get qualified for University education. Even on that front though there are jobs in the sphere of science and technology jobs for others are limited. 

What is the solution that you intend to give on this topic?

A:  First of all, I convey my wishes to the SLPP Youth Convention. The 21st century has been described as a century geared towards knowledge. In the Asian economy, to such spheres as agriculture and fisheries, what is important is knowledge. If our youths are to march forward then they have to be armed with aspects such as knowledge, technology, talent, and aptitude, etc. We have to create youths who are capable of doing jobs in these fields. In the first two years, the facilities at universities, technology facilities have to be improved.

Our universities have to be brought in line with those in Asia. You need to formulate long-term national policies for this task. The youths who are capable of doing jobs that are created through the economy must be discovered through the education system. Also, as a short-term measure, the issues that are existent must be addressed as well. If the intake of students to campuses are to be increased, the infrastructure facilities at those institutions have to be improved. In addition, technical schools and industrial schools have also to be further developed. Towards that end, having roped in the private sector, an economy geared towards technology has to be introduced. Even for those who received education in the arts field, several jobs can be created in the management service sector through this. The best solution will be to give prominence to the field of education. 

Though some may not be able to go to campuses even after passing Advanced Level, they will be able to go forward through technology rather than being left in the lurch. Recently I met a youth who was educated at my alma-mater, Ananda College, Colombo. He gave me valuable advice regarding social media here. I then inquired from him from which university he had learnt so much about this subject. He told me that he had failed his Advanced Level exam.

However, this young man happens to be the owner of a firm that pumps millions of dollars into this country. He is the owner of a firm that produces video games, releases it to the internet and earns revenue through it. This particular company is being run by him and one of his friends. They have gone very far on this front and now they even offer pieces of advice and instructions to other firms as well. They have learnt all this through the internet. I asked him what has to be done by our youths in villages if they were to be followed. He told me the Government should provide high-speed access. 

He also told me to equip the young generation with knowledge of the English language. He informed me that if these two things are done, the sky will be the limit for the youth here. Do not be downcast or do not take a backward step. There are many opportunities for you out there. There is no limit for the distance that could be covered through technology. What is needed is for you to strive for it. Make an effort to fulfil your dreams. They must be provided with professional training and they should be allowed to go even higher in their chosen profession.

What are the solutions you envisage to give to the issue of the cost of living and education of estate sector people?

A: The tea industry is a valuable component of our economy. However, the future of the estate sector youth has to be borne in mind. The environment has to be created for them to lead decent lives in that sector. In order to further improve the quality of education, the infrastructure facilities have to be further developed. The youth of the estate sector has shown a tendency to move to the cities lately.

Instead of that, a system where they could earn an income in their sector has to be formed. Just like providing higher education, their income has to be improved through several measures. Through the limited land space, they have through technology and from agriculture, other income spheres could be unearthed. When we head towards Nuwara Eliya, we pass through several major towns. However, on a trip there, there is no development that could provide an income for those towns. Hence, we intend to focus on city or town development. Also, at the same time, there are several such towns that have to be developed. Afterwards, having introduced machine technology to the tea industry that field has to be made more beneficial to the country. In the tea industry more than the quantity the quality has to be improved. After having spoken to trade unionists, through a revenue-sharing system the income of youth engaged in the tea industry could be improved. Especially through education opportunities, these youth could be provided with the scope to obtain top employment opportunities.

You had rendered a sterling duty towards the ending of the war. After a decade, the bombs have again begun to explode. What are the measures you intend to take to rid the country from this extremist terrorism? In addition, this regime which came to power having promised to usher in good Governance failed miserably on that front. What are the measures you intend to take to usher in genuine good Governance?

A: This regime never gave a care about national security when in power. The intelligence units were crippled. If the intelligence reports are not received by the relevant bodies, it is impossible to face up to any impending calamity. The rulers of a country, have to always bear in mind the importance of national security. If a regime fails to give pride of place to this aspect the consequences of it will be terrible, to say the least. Every nation in this world gives pride of place to national security. If there is no security, the economy of that country, cannot be revived no matter how hard you strive for it.

 The country will also be unstable. Hence the intelligence reports are extremely important. In this country, the units such as the SIS, Police and the TID and intelligence units of the armed forces were active. Back in 2005 each of these units which operated separately was merged by us and it paved the way for the successful completion of the war a few years later.

 Even to maintain the current situation, the intelligence units have to be developed. Due to the collapse of the intelligence units, the receiving of information is lethargic. It is due to this reason that the 21 April Easter Sunday terror attacks took place. The intelligence units have to be revived and there are no two words to it. In addition, this regime tainted the concept of good Governance. Due to this reason, even the meanings of those words have now been twisted. The people gauge good Governance through the aspects such as whether there is national security, whether they could seek a decent job to sustain themselves amidst the steeply rising cost of living, whether a suitable school could be sought for their children, whether they could build a house commensurate with the income that they draw, etc. If these areas are not effectively covered the people will consider such a Government as a failed regime.

 In addition, if the people have no opportunity to air their views to the Government of the day, then they should have the chance to elect a regime that could give air to their grievances. That is the democratic right of the people. If that right is violated then the concept of good Governance will never see the light of day.

There is a suggestion being spread around the country, that in the event of you being elected President, it will signal the death knell for democracy here?

A: That freedom was never taken away from the masses, during the time that I served as the Defence Secretary. If you take a look at the newspapers that were printed during the waning days of the war, you will realize the amount of flak that had been directed at the security forces. The franchise of the people is the most valuable component of democracy. During the Mahinda Rajapaksa era, the NPC was formed. As the Defence Secretary at the time, I worked a lot in the Northern Province.

We took measures to stage free and independent elections. As a result of those measures, the TNA won the election. One of the salient points of democracy is for polls to be staged on time. A Government under my watch will respect these basic values of democracy. Polls will never be postponed for any reason. The right to practice whatever faith of your choice, the freedom of media and the right to air views will be ensured. Mahinda Rajapaksa had always stood for media freedom here.

Hence, in a regime head by him, there will be no danger to the freedom of the media.

Ten years had elapsed since the end of the hostilities. The then Rajapaksa regime did a lot of work towards the development of the North-East. Nevertheless, he failed to win their votes at the last poll. Though the current regime has not done any work to those areas, they invariably tend to receive the votes from those people. How do you plan to tackle this issue?

A: The infrastructure facilities for the youth of these Provinces to lead decent lives were developed by the Rajapaksa regime. The train services were developed, Rail tracks were laid. Drinking water and electricity were provided. In addition, when we were planning to create jobs there we did not have sufficient time to implement those programmes.

The lives of these people have to be resuscitated akin to other provinces of this country. Hence I urge the youth to join hands with us instead of being tied to politicians who are not willing to shed traditions and customs and practice archaic systems.

You were instrumental in ushering a lot of improvement to Colombo. Instead of shanties, new houses were built. What plans do you have up your sleeve concerning the poor people here?

A: During my stint as the Secretary of the Urban Development Secretary the policy of the President was the creation of a suitable environment for the low-income families to lead decent lives in the metropolis.

Towards that end, we created an effective programme. Towards this programme, we not only incurred Government money but other measures as well. When building houses we paid attention to the roads, the areas where sports activities are held, pavements etc. We never evicted people forcibly.

However, the falsehoods that were created by our political rivals were taken to the people. They attempted to portray that we were striving to give prominence to our supporters. However, today people know the truth. We had planned to build 50,000 houses. Out of that number we had been able to construct 20,000. After this Government came to power, those houses were distributed. The private sector of Slave Island, the shanty dwellers and the UDA having joined forces we formulated a system to construct houses without any State expense.

Today, those houses are being distributed by this regime. Our intention is to further take this programme forward and to grant houses to those living in shanties and improve their livelihood. Also having received the support from the private sector to those in the middle-income group, to those beginning new lives and at a price that they could pay we intend to provide houses to them.

2 Responses to “We have to arm youth with the latest technology – Gota”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Too many promises that are economically unsustainable.

  2. aloy Says:

    I think his vision is correct and is the right way forward. Technology first, infra development second.

    He should keep in mind that not only our permanent enemy is at the gate, they have taken a Trojan horse in, with a tiger, a camel (facilitated by his own brother) and Jeppos in the form of Yahapalanaya. If they can fool the masses again it will appear in the form another Trojan horse, the Sajith faction perhaps supported by the current prez, My3.

    He will have to fight with all those forces to come to power which will be a formidable task.

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