Nalandians win two international competitions
Nalanda College Principal Ranjith Jayasundara.
Education should mirror the country’s future economic development as
in Japan which formulated its education system to produce a matured work
force to undertake post war development, said Nalanda College principal
Ranjith Jayasundara in an interview with the Sunday Observer commenting
on the Sri Lankan students’ recent achievements at international
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Two teams of your College have won first place at international
competitions held in India and the USA. Your comments?
A: These achievements are evidence of the country’s education system.
Compared to other countries, even in the Socialist Bloc free education
is available only in Sri Lanka. Free education introduced by former
Education Minister and Father of Free Education C. W. W. Kannangara in
the 1940s is unique. Today Sri Lanka is reaping the results of the
farsighted educational reforms implemented during the last decades.
A group of Seven Nalandians participated in the second International
Festival of Bio Technology in Lucknow, India last month. Eighty groups
of students from Singapore, Russia, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh,
Nepal, Bhutan and India took part in the competition.
Although Bio Technology is not a popular subject in Sri Lankan
schools, it is widely acclaimed internationally and Indian schools.
The Nalanda team which won first place at the International
Students Bio Technology Competition held in Lucknow, India.
The Nalanda team which won the Oracle Thinkquest held in
In India, it is in the school curriculum and the city campus is
equipped with full fledged laboratories catering to 50 students at a
In the absence of such advanced laboratory facilities our students
depend on the internet and on the media. Our students acquired a
thorough knowledge at the end of the event as they had researched the
subject.The Nalanda team of students won the Junior Overall
The other international event in which the Nalandians excelled was
The Oracle Think Quest Competition held in California USA. Students from
52 countries including USA, Australia, France, Germany, Singapore,
India, China participated in the competition on software development.
It is a rare achievement for Sri Lankan students to be victorious at
defeating their rivals such as USA, France, Germany, Singapore, China
and India. On the other hand, it has proved that the Sri Lankan students
are competent enough to vye with their counterparts for victory.
Q: What significance could be attached to the achievements of these
A: Our society is well organised and also open. So are the people.
Children are keen to study global matters outside the school curriculum.
Although Bio Technology is not a popular subject in Sri Lanka, Nalanda
College students won the junior overall championship. On the other hand,
the government’s aggressive campaign to popularise e-learning,
Information Technology and international languages mainly the English
language has given a new lease of life to the education system.
Q: The second largest allocation in the Budge is for Education, for
the development of school education. This is an investment for the
future of the country. Can you elaborate?
A: Development of education is the government’s top priority. This is
justified by the reforms introduced and the huge investment made on
education. Our students have excelled internationally and the high level
of education is recognized. This is the proof of Government’s sound
education policy.Skilled human resources are a must for the development
of education. A classic example is how Japan moulded the education
system to successfully face the challenge of post war Emerging as an
Q: President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself has underscored the importance
of quality school education. Sri Lanka ranks high in Information
Technology in the region. Your comments.
A: The country is fortunate to have a leader who is very sensitive to
the future well-being. His emphasis on e-learning, IT education and
English education conceptualized a new dimension in education.
Q: Educational opportunities enjoyed by urban students are denied to
rural counterparts. Your comments.
A: The main objective of the one thousand secondary school
development project launched by Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena
is to ensure equal educational opportunities to students in all parts of
The demand for popular schools in the cities should be discouraged.
Adequate facilities, teachers and library facilities should be provided
to all schools irrespective of their locations.
The 54 Central Schools setup under the free education scheme
introduced by former Education Minister, the late C. W. W. Kannangara
witnessed the beginning of a new era in education. The one thousand
secondary school program of the present government is a landmark in the
context of the educational development.
Q: The main stakeholders of the country’s education are teachers and
students. Parents also have a major role to play. Your comments.
A: There is a positive change in school development activities in the
last ten years. Parents specially, mothers show a keen interest in their
children’s education and school activities. Students spend only a few
hours-less than eight in schools. Parents have the responsibility to
give a quality education and mould the future of their children.