Advanced Technical Education Institution, Affiliated University Colleges, Arjuna Aluwihare, British Council, C W W Kannangara, Chandana Ruwan Jayanetti, Education, English, English Association, Galle, General English Language Training Programme, Jaffna, Kandy, Kurunagala, Labuduwa, Matara, Ministry of Education, National Education Commissio, Oranee Jansz, Reflections in Loneliness, Sanghamitta College, Tara de Mel, University Grants Commission, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Speech as delivered by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha as Chief Guest
At the Launch of Reflections in Loneliness
By Chandana Ruwan Jayanetti
I am both pleased and proud to be here as Chief Guest at the launch of Chandana Ruwan Jayanetti’s ‘Reflections in Loneliness’, a collection of poems and prose. I am pleased because the book is a fine example of creativity. It covers a range of emotions through poetry, while the prose recreates a lost world which reminds us how swiftly the fabric of society is changing.
My pride however is perhaps the greater feeling on this occasion, for Chandana is one of the first pupils in a new programe I started, which will remain perhaps my most enduring contribution to this country. He was also one of the best, and amply justified the faith we had in our rural youngsters, when we offered them an opportunity that had been zealously guarded before by the privileged.
I refer to the opening up of tertiary level qualifications in English, which commenced at the Affiliated University Colleges in 1992. I had long been complaining of the fact that English continued to be the preserve of an elite, but those in charge of educational policy thought this was only proper. However President Premadasa appointed a visionary University Grants Commission Chairman in the form of Arjuna Aluwihare, and he embarked on a brilliant initiative to expand opportunities in this sector. Having met him by chance at a social event at the British Council at which I was then working, I was drawn into his orbit, and ended up leaving the Council to take charge of all his new English initiatives.