Published on: March 12, 2024

President Advocates for a Principled Education System at the “Sesquicentennial Banquet” of Wesley College

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of education instilling resilience in children, encouraging them to confront challenges with unwavering principles. He made these remarks while attending the “Sesquicentennial Banquet” of Wesley College Colombo last night (11) at the Shangri-La Hotel Colombo as the chief guest.

President Wickremesinghe commended Wesley College Colombo for its pioneering role in nurturing individuals crucial for the nation’s development. He expressed the nation’s gratitude to Wesley College for its significant contributions.

Established in 1874 under the Methodist Missionary Education System during British colonial rule, Wesley College Colombo has served as an alma mater to numerous notable figures, including pioneers of Sri Lanka’s independence struggle, governors-generals, political leaders, businessmen, scientists and professors, who have made significant contributions to the nation.

The keynote address at the celebration was delivered by Prof. R. Somanathan, an alumnus of Wesley College, who is currently serving at the University of San Diego, USA. The theme of his address was “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Future of Learning and Teaching Methods.” The event also featured by colourful performances by veteran musicians including Alston Koch and the DeLanerolle brothers.

In recognition of the President’s presence at the anniversary celebration, he was honoured with a special commemorative gift and a book compiled on the 150th anniversary of Wesley College and its illustrious history.

During the speech, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the pivotal role Wesley College has played in shaping the nation’s leaders and fostering a spirit of resilience and courage among its students.

Reflecting on the historical significance of Wesley College, President Wickremesinghe lauded the school’s distinguished alumni who have left an indelible mark on the country’s history. He paid tribute to notable figures such as Former Principle Henry Highfield and distinguished alumnus of Wesley College including Sir Baron Jayatilaka and Sir Oliver Gunathilake, emphasizing their pivotal roles in Sri Lanka’s journey towards independence and nation-building.

President Wickremesinghe also acknowledged Wesley College’s commitment to producing well-rounded individuals equipped to tackle challenges and make meaningful contributions to society. He highlighted the importance of education beyond textbooks, encompassing sports, leadership and the exploration of emerging fields like artificial intelligence (AI).

In his address, he announced plans to promote AI education in schools, underscoring the government’s commitment to investing in AI research and development. He expressed a desire to support private schools, including Wesley College, that have historically played a vital role in the country’s education system.

Looking ahead, the President pledged to work closely with Wesley College and other educational institutions to navigate challenges and implement reforms aimed at improving the education system. He emphasized the need to prioritize the resumption of academic activities disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and enhance English language education in schools.

In closing, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his confidence in Wesley College’s continued contributions to Sri Lanka’s development and encouraged ongoing dialogue with Reverend Joseph to explore further opportunities for collaboration and innovation in education.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s address underscored the enduring legacy of Wesley College and its vital role in shaping the future leaders of Sri Lanka. His remarks reaffirmed the government’s commitment to supporting educational institutions and fostering a conducive environment for learning and innovation.

“Sesquicentennial Banquet” of Wesley College witnessed the presence of notable figures including the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka H.E. Andrew Patrick, Chief Priest of the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka Rev. Ebenezer Joseph, Mrs. Barbara Easton, and Mr. Martin Easton representing the Methodist Church of UK. The gathering also included clergy members from various denominations such as Methodist, Anglican and Baptist Churches, as well as the management of Wesley College including Rev. Perry Brohier and his spouse. Among the attendees were the Principal of Wesley College Mr. Avanka Fernando, and Mr. & Mrs. Ian Karan, a prominent politician and businessman in Germany of Sri Lankan origin. Also present were Capt. Navin de Silva, the President of the Old Boys’ Association of Wesley College, along with numerous alumni and distinguished guests.

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