During his inspection tour to the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) today (18), Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka, the President’s Senior Advisor on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff, reaffirmed the university’s vital role in shaping the nation’s future. The visit comprised a series of insightful engagements that highlighted the university’s commitment to excellence and its role in nurturing disciplined and responsible citizens.
During his visit, Mr. Ratnayaka inaugurated an analytical laboratory, showcasing the university’s dedication to cutting-edge education and research. He also paid his respects at the Ranaviru Memorial, a poignant tribute to the sacrifices made by military personnel. This act underscored the nation’s collective gratitude for the efforts of its brave soldiers.
A pivotal moment of the visit was the inspection of an on-going construction project—an auditorium that will enrich the university’s facilities for education, collaboration, and cultural activities. This project exemplifies KDU’s commitment to modern infrastructure and a holistic academic experience.
Engaging in a candid discussion with a panel of university officials, Mr. Ratnayaka praised KDU for its unwavering commitment to discipline and educational excellence.
Following are the comments he made during the meeting with the academic staff;
Congratulations on your remarkable achievements, and we express our immense pride in the endeavours you are pursuing. The impeccable standards you uphold, the excellence in education you provide, and the comprehensive experiences you offer are truly commendable.
My nephew was a student in the faculty of law and criminology at your institution, and his choice of KDU was driven by the institution’s strong emphasis on discipline. He desired an education that wouldn’t lead him to engage in endless protests at crossroads in pursuit of various causes. This emphasis on discipline is precisely what our nation requires, coupled with the necessary adjustments in attitudes to confront the challenges that the youth must confront. While challenges have fluctuated over time, I am confident that we are now on the right trajectory. By staying the course, Sri Lanka can achieve the standards we have long envisioned, akin to the accomplishments of nations like Singapore.
Key to our progress is judicious legislation, regulation, and deregulation. This holds true for the economy, where a strategic move toward deregulation and openness is essential. However, this does not imply a lack of rules and regulations governing operations. Matters such as money laundering and financial investigations will be rigorously addressed to ensure adherence to standards, with a strong emphasis on law and order and national security. In this journey, KDU has a pivotal role to play.
As new sectors emerge, we must prepare our youth for the evolving landscape. The upcoming establishment of the Port City and Financial Centre will necessitate significant shifts in our perspectives. Adaptation is crucial, whether it pertains to artificial intelligence or traditional technical education. We are formulating a comprehensive growth program, accompanied by the requisite legal framework. These changes will be introduced progressively, considering the aftermath of the recent financial crisis and its impact on our economy.
Flexibility will be key as we navigate this transformation. We are committed to acquiring the necessary expertise as we advance. KDU’s responsibility extends beyond the classroom, encompassing effective execution of activities. If you come out and expect your MP to get you a job, then the KDU has failed. That is what we have to change. Every graduate from a government university expects a government job. It’s mandatory that they get this job. It is so wrong because it is really bringing disgrace to the degree you have got. You don’t want to advance you just want a position near to your home and you want to be there for the rest of your life and protesting from time-to-time expecting to get a higher salary scale or something like that. That is what we must change.
Our objective is clear – the institution should not solely prepare graduates for jobs, especially government positions. It’s time to shift the focus from expecting government employment to nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit and a drive for innovation.
Turning to the specific matters concerning KDU’s development, we have reviewed proposed amendments to the act. We have identified four pivotal areas: designations, board of management, enrolment of private students (an initiative already in motion), and the establishment of university colleges, including in Kurunegala and Pollonnaruwa.
We eagerly welcome any additional suggestions you may have, which could enrich these changes. Please communicate your insights by Tuesday, allowing us to collectively shape a brighter future.
Once again, congratulations on your outstanding achievements, and thank you for your dedication to advancing education and our nation.
The event was attended by the Chancellor General SHS Kottegoda (Retd), Vice Chancellor Major General Milinda Peiris, Deputy Vice Chancellor Defence and Administration Brigadier DCA Wickramasinghe, and Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Prof. KAS Dhammika.
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