Lecture on “Digital education and religious space” | Sunday Observer

Lecture on “Digital education and religious space”

1 August, 2021

The Institute of National Security Studies, the premier think tank on National Security established under the Ministry of Defence Sri Lanka organised a closed door lecture titled “Regulating the Digital Educational and Religious Space” which was held on July 29, 2021 at the conference hall of INSS.

The guest speakers for the event were Professor Rohan Gunaratna, Director General of INSS,. S.H. Harischandra, Secretary, State Ministry of Dhamma Schools, Pirivenas and Bhikkhu Education and Shabry Haleemdeen, Chairman of Wakfs Board.

Rear Admiral Dimuthu Gunawardena, Director (Communication and Publication), INSS moderated the event.

He welcomed the guest speakers and opened the floor to a comprehensive dialogue on the regulating of digital, educational and religious space. The audience comprised representatives from Ministries, Tri Forces, intelligence agencies and academics.

Guest speaker at the event Professor Rohan Gunaratna said that current ways of terrorism and extremism cannot be addressed only by the law enforcement agencies and military or both. These services must work in cooperation, collaborations and partnerships. He reiterated three important aspects. Initially, other countries have taken measures to curb terrorism and extremism by partnering with religious, educational and digital institutions.

S. H. Harischandra, Secretary, State Ministry of Dhamma Schools, Pirivenas and Bhikkhu Education; B. Damayanthi Wickramathilake made a presentation on several aspects including a historical background of the Sri Lankan education system.

She also presented the scope of education; pointing the importance of education as a balanced integration of knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, social behaviour. It was expressed that formal education is the structured and systematic form of learning and emphasised that education of a certain standard can only be delivered to students by trained teachers, based on a standard curriculum. She also said that education is a compulsory right, guaranteed by enactments of law and gazette regulations.

Shabry Haleemdeen, Chairman of the Wakfs Board elaborated on the, role of the law and the functions of a Wakfs board. He elaborated on the quazi judicial function of the board; why it has been practised from 1505, even during the times of the Portuguese, the Dutch and why it was codified by the British as “Mohomadan code”. He said that it has now been made mandatory for all Moulavis’ to learn Sinhala as a compulsory language. He also said that; the Act provides power only to govern the shrines and mosques but not the Madrasas. He told the audience that all audits of mosques and shrines are carried out by the Government and fiscal management are strictly supervised by the Wakfs Board.