2 December, 2020

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Absolutely Nonsense, I Had Never Asked President That I Be Appointed Minister Of Higher Education – Rajiva Writes To SB

By Colombo Telegraph

“My attention has been drawn to a recent article in ‘Mawbima’ which makes several claims about me which are clearly part of the general approach of that newspaper to sow distrust. One assertion in particular however upset me, and I thought I should clarify matters with you.” UPFA National List MP Dr. Rajiva Wijesinha wrote to S B Dissanayake, Minister Of Higher Education.

“It was claimed that the President had said I had asked him that I be appointed Minister of Higher Education. This is absolutely nonsense, and I am sure the President said no such thing. On the contrary, whenever we have discussed the subject, I have commented on your courage and the initiatives you have taken up, and he too has spoken highly of you. More recently, I have noted the problems caused by the failure of the relevant authorities to pursue the Act you had prepared, until it now seems too late for reform.” Dr. Wijesinha further said.

“I have indeed never suggested that I be appointed to Executive Office except once when, in agreeing with me that change was needed at the Ministry of External Affairs, the President said he had no one to appoint. I said there were plenty of potential Ministers but, when he seemed unconvinced, I said that he could even make me a Deputy. He then accused me of being like anyone else, and seeking positions, which I found deeply hurtful, and I told him so. His Secretary has since reassured me that he did not mean what he had said, and I do appreciate that he must have such pressures constantly.”  said Dr Wijesinha.

“I also realize that the suggestion was silly, because no one except a saintly person like Neomal Perera could function as a Deputy in that Ministry in its present condition. In any case, it is now clear that one would be better able to support the President to fulfil his vision – which I find admirable, though this is not being pursued coherently and intelligently in many areas – by remaining independent.” he wrote to Minister Dissanayake.

Colombo Telegraph received the above letter with a covering letter from Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha. We  publish below the full texts of  both letters;

The Editor

Colombo Telegraph

In publishing what might have been a speech by me last week, you had an introduction from a recent article in ‘Ceylon Today’. My attention had been drawn to a Sinhala version of this in ‘Mawbima’, and I had written the attached letter to Hon S B Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education, with regard to one item in the article. I hope you can publish this letter in full to make the position clear, if possible with this covering letter.

I would be sorry if propagation of what appears in ‘Mawbima’ or ‘Ceylon Today’ seems to contradict my appreciation of Minister Dissanayake and what he is trying to do. I should add that, while the President does not mince his words, he has never made any criticism of Minister Dissanayake or suggested it when we have spoken about Education.

My appreciation of the Minister’s commitment and perceptiveness goes back to 2002, when I accompanied a former IMF Consultant who had innovative ideas about education and training to meet several Ministers. Minister Dissanayake, unlike most of his colleagues, understood the proposed interventions and the urgent need for reform. Sadly that initiative got nowhere, but when he was appointed Minister of Higher Education I recalled that conversation, and was most optimistic. This was justified by his plans but sadly delays elsewhere caused problems.

Given the work he has done, he is one person who should not be moved even were there any reshuffle, because that would send the wrong message about the government’s commitment to reform in this sector.

Yours sincerely

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha’s latter to Minister of Higher Education;

Hon S B Dissanayake

Minister of Higher Education

 

Dear Hon Minister

My attention has been drawn to a recent article in ‘Mawbima’ which makes several claims about me which are clearly part of the general approach of that newspaper to sow distrust. One assertion in particular however upset me, and I thought I should clarify matters with you.

It was claimed that the President had said I had asked him that I be appointed Minister of Higher Education. This is absolutely nonsense, and I am sure the President said no such thing. On the contrary, whenever we have discussed the subject, I have commented on your courage and the initiatives you have taken up, and he too has spoken highly of you. More recently, I have noted the problems caused by the failure of the relevant authorities to pursue the Act you had prepared, until it now seems too late for reform.

I have indeed never suggested that I be appointed to Executive Office except once when, in agreeing with me that change was needed at the Ministry of External Affairs, the President said he had no one to appoint. I said there were plenty of potential Ministers but, when he seemed unconvinced, I said that he could even make me a Deputy. He then accused me of being like anyone else, and seeking positions, which I found deeply hurtful, and I told him so. His Secretary has since reassured me that he did not mean what he had said, and I do appreciate that he must have such pressures constantly.

I also realize that the suggestion was silly, because no one except a saintly person like Neomal Perera could function as a Deputy in that Ministry in its present condition. In any case, it is now clear that one would be better able to support the President to fulfil his vision – which I find admirable, though this is not being pursued coherently and intelligently in many areas – by remaining independent.

The President did, once, when I was making suggestions about Education, ask why I had not applied to be appointed Monitoring MP for Education. I said I had not realized one needed to apply, and he told me that he had circulated a notice to this effect amongst all members of parliament. Other ordinary members have indicated to me that they did not get such a notice, and I believe it only went to those who had some reason to believe their claims would be satisfied.

However I did send such a request, but a couple of days later Mr Grero was appointed, a move I much welcomed, so it was clear the matter need not be pursued. With regard to Higher Education, where I felt that you and your Secretary were clearly moving in the right direction, I have been more worried recently, but it is only to the UGC Chairman that I have suggested that I would be happy to advise and assist on policy matters. I am certainly sorry that the step we advised at COPE, to compile a register of lecture hours of all university academics, was not followed up. The statement of the Chairman of the UGC that he was waiting for us to advise made me realize that such advice needs to be on a formal basis, and I am happy to volunteer for this, but I must assure you that this is not because I seek positions. I should add that, way back in 2005, the President suggested I take on the post of UGC Chairman, but I did not accept, in part because I had been critical of the then Chairman, and I believe stepping into the shoes of someone one criticizes, even with regard to a thankless task such as Chairmanship of the UGC, takes away from the objectivity of that criticism

I should add that, for greater effectiveness in areas in which government is suffering problems, I have suggested streamlining policy and reforms and training by having Ministers in the President’s Office, who would concentrate on these and leave the existing Ministers more time to work on administration, which is falling to pieces in many areas. I identified three areas, for each of which I identified candidates.

The three areas were Education, Justice and External Affairs. For Education I suggested Mr Grero, precisely because I think you and your Secretary are perfectly able to handle policy and reform if you only had sufficient support from other agencies whereas, given its massive portfolio, Education itself has difficulties. For Justice I suggested Mr Janaka Bandara, and for External Affairs I suggested Mr Dilan Perera, who is both remarkably efficient and has universal credibility. For that area I also suggested three young Members of Parliament (Wasantha Senanayake, Kanaka Herath and Eric Weerawardhana), who have been identified as high flyers by other countries, even though our own country does not recognize and nurture young talent.

I made many of these points in an interview to the ‘Dinamina’, before I was even aware of the ‘Mawbima’ article, and I hope that paper puts the position clearly.

With continuing good wishes for your work, and the initiatives you have so courageously taken on.

Yours sincerely

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

Read the letter here

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Latest comments

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    Rjiva Wijesinghe is not sutiable for Minister Of Higher Education or Education of Sri lanka.He has no pulse with common man problems and rural Population of youth and students grivrences.
    Undoubaltly RW is List MP.He has No people mandate for him to become Higher Education Minister.JVP and LTTE terrorism will increase if RW become Minster of Higher Education.

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      Prof. Rajiva is far more suitable to be Minister of Higher Education than the current uneducated moron S.B. Dissanaiayake.
      Rajva has a PhD. has worked in the university system for may years and has a record of research and publication and knows the meaning of the word EDUCATION and RESEARCH – which SB clearly does not. Rajiva would be a far better bet to be Minister of Higher Education.

      • 0
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        But can you imagine the manner that Rwijesinge writes about the SB ? I personally am very against SB and above all ones who appointed him to the minister of higher education. At the time I left the country, decades ago, to that time there was a great recognition for the minister of higher education. But current rulers have appointed totally disqualified, incompetent coconut pluckers, tea tasters or the life as the heads of highly academic institutions. MR should have gone mad NOT to see them appropriately – even if he is said to be so called 40 year old parlimentarian that the nation has produced… RIDICULOUS

    • 0
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      Look at what those who have the pulse has done and is doing to the country!!! That is a joke

  • 0
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    and the comedy continues.. thank you Mr. President for having such comedians in your midst. If not for them the state of the country will actually be sad!

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    He was Sub – Warden at St Thomas’ Mt Lavinia…

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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  • 0
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    Dear Rajiva

    You are the most suitable to be Minister of Education. That fellow SB is not suitable at all. See how he has messed up the Universities. The way he speaks all twisting and squirming away. He makes people laugh so its a bit of a joke and no one takes him seriously. The main problem with him is that while making it a joke he does the maximum damage to the education system by dancing to the tune of the President.

    Since you are highly educated and being a liberal and understand what education is about I think you should be the Minister not SB and that Tution fellow.So please consider withdrawing this letter and persuade his Exellency to appoint you. At least you know who Socratese was and what happened to him.

    • 0
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      Pity RWs days with the Regime are numbered. This National List MP
      will not fit the hidden agenda of the Regime due to his Academical
      Qualifications!
      At one time the joke when Politicians were being chosen for Ministerial
      Posts was – “… & that man is not educated. So make him the Minister for
      Education”!!

  • 0
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    Dr. Wijesinha says: “In any case, it is now clear that one would be better able to support the President to fulfil his vision – which I find admirable, though this is not being pursued coherently and intelligently in many areas – by remaining independent.” Now we know where the wind is blowing, and I am happy about it. I am sure there will be more Wijesinhas soon.

  • 0
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    It was in a discussion forum relating to Sri Lanka’s Politics and Politicians, as a part of the IOGT (International Organisation for General Temperance) in the early 1990s, in which the former Secrectary General of the Sri Lanka Parliament was the Chief Speaker. Responding to a question on the ‘characteristics’ of Sri Lanka politicans he had to say ‘they are responsible for all the ills of the country’ (Of course the exact words cannot be remembered, but something to mean the same was said). It is sad to see that the son (I did now know that Prof. Rajiva is Sam’s son until now) of such a reputed person as an efficient and host Govt. servant got engaged in the muddled politics of Sri Lanka, worst still serving a group of the forces to counter whom the founder of the Liberal Party, Late Dr. Chanaka Amaratunga, campaigned betraying all liberal principles. May be he is now trying to correct himself by pointing out the wrongs. Of course wisdom dawns late. Let the new dawn seen in Prof. Rajiva be useful to the people of the country.

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    Wijesinha signs off as Prof. Wijesinha. Can he tell us whether he was appointed by the Senate of the University of Sabaragamuwa, where he worked last, as a Professor Emeritus? Ordinarily, only an academic who has served as a Senior Professor for 10 years would be appointed Professor Emeritus by the Senate concerned. Further, until formally appointed, one cannot call himself Professor Emeritus. I know he worked there as a professor, but I am not sure he was senior professor for more than 10 years. Well, he is the best person to answer this question.

    • 0
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      Please dont be too technical. After all he was Prof. may be not for 10 years but for sufficient number of years. What is it after all in a country where Associate Profs after retirement are called Prof.Some asst Pof from USA are addressed very reverently as Prof. I think Rajiva deserves a bit of courtesy. He should make up his mind to be Minister for Ed and High Ed.That is his forte. It would do goodfor him and the Country. Let us hear him soon

      • 0
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        Well said.

      • 0
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        If Mervyn Silva should not call himself a “Dr” then Rajeeva should not call himself Professor unless he is Professor Emeritus.

        The traditions in the US and in the Commonwealth are different. Here is what Wikipedia says:
        “A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a “person who professes” being usually an expert in arts or sciences, a teacher of high rank.[1] In much of the world, including most Commonwealth nations (such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand) and northern Europe professor is reserved only for the most senior academics at a university, typically a department chair, or an awarded chair specifically bestowed recognizing an individual at a university or similar institution. A professor is a highly accomplished and recognized academic, and the title is awarded only after decades of scholarly work and/or practise. In the United States and Canada the title of professor is granted to most scholars with Doctorate degrees (typically Ph.D.s) who teach in two- and four-year colleges and universities, and is used in the titles assistant professor and associate professor, which are not considered professor-level positions elsewhere, as well as for full professors.

        In countries on the northern European mainland, such as The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries, usage of professor as a legal title is limited much the same way as in most Commonwealth countries, that is, it is reserved for someone who holds a chair. In the United States, “professor” as a proper noun generally implies a person with a Ph.D. who holds permanent position at the college or university level, regardless of rank.”

        If Rajeeva wishes to call himself Professor when he is not one, it is up to him. My respect for him will go up 1000 times if he explains this whole thing.

        It is not something frivolous as Simhi wishes the readers to believe.

        Let’s wait for Rajeeva.

        • 0
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          what kind a of comparsion ‘

          Man, can you ever compare two different personalities in this way ? Mervin is offered his title just for honorary sake – it is upto use it for his purpose, as I got it correct, MR and GR and several others in the lanken politics today were also offered this, but they dont use these titles.

          Prof. Wijesinghe is an university educated academic. Putting his politics aside, I am not against him being a higly academic person – having followed his speeches and discussions to the international media. He is appointed by ruling regime so he has to be loyal to them.

          But Mervin is a like a bone licking dog. Anyone would easily understand his speeches and the level of decency is almost comparable to one who has spent the childhood on the streets for the entire life. The filthy langauge that he deliberately promotes has become familiar with the new generations today. See, even if bed room arguments are publicly discussed by youth in school classes and the society today. No respect has been remained as had been the case 10 years ago. This is all because of the manner that all these Mervin and Weerawansa like minded law makers have created. Sociologists stay further calm and quiet – Beeri aliyo waage.. they are fear of getting beheaded by Mervin and the thugs.

        • 0
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          But you dont need to compare it with those of french, german and scandinavian societies, so long English speaking countries DO use those teaching titles even after them becoming pensioners. So, RW like srilankens can ofcourse use it as it is necessary. In Germany I have seen – they dont use the title as prefix for the politicians if not for the special event. At the time Bundeskanzeller Kohl was retired only they started putting his title before his name. But not to forget it is in Germany. Moreover, today Bundeskanzellerin (Angela Merkel) and her name is often mentioned without titles. There are post doc qualified ones in German parliament, they simply deny using their titles. That is their culture while ours is more to show – today even without having proper titles.

        • 0
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          My sympathies to your powers of reasoning – Mervyn comparable to Rajeeva. That’s for the simple minded to say.

  • 0
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    President is the great comedian and natural other comedians come together.

    • 0
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      Before long many would loose their respect against this man -MR.. wait and see.. I really hate to see the manner how he holds speeches these days as if current issues and people^s calamities are known to him.. totally ignorant type of a personality.. always telling the palatable while deliberately burying the reality.

  • 0
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    Of course, if we can’t call him ‘Prof’, let’s call him ‘Dr’, but he is the best person in Rajapakse’s government to become the Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as the Minister of Education and Higher Education. He can hold both portfolios and will do quite well. That way the government can save lots of money too. We can’t find 100 % perfect people in this country and RW is much better than many in the government.

  • 0
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    In typical Singhalese, i call this person a ‘Apathaya’ with whatever his academic qualicatons are concerned.

    Its cardinal sin for someone like him and academics like GLP and Tissa Vitharana who comes from elite famillies and money is not the major factor to fall into so cheap with protecting this regime which is more fit to govern a african banana republic.

    Rajiva, please do not sell your liberal policies in return of few car permits or foreign travel from the poor tax payers money.

    • 0
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      When it came to tax-payers money Bogo took the cake and the biscuit and the icing with the cherry on the top as well. Did he even leave the parippu for the taxpayer? Kapalla Beepalla Jolly-karapallaaaa!!!!

  • 0
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    Rajiv.W was Professor of Languages at Sabragamuwa University. But he knows only one language well – english
    His PhD thesis was titled “Women and Marriage in the early victorian novel”.
    This does not qualify him to be a minister of higher education.
    His “‘blue eyed babies’ born in refugee camps” ‘thesis’ too,does not contribute for such appointment.

  • 0
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    How can he be the next education minister?, Malaka Silva is the next education minister!!!!!

  • 0
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    Hard to Beat this title:

    “Vishva Keerthsri Threesinhaladheesvara”

    Longest and the most honourable.

    Looking one for mmmmmmeeeeeee

  • 0
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    Rajeeva Wijesinha has chose not to tell the readers of CT whether or not he was appointed by the Senate of the University of Sabaragamuwa as Professor Emeritus. As such, one can only assume that there was no such appointment. Hope that in accordance with the practice in Sri Lanka, he will not call himself “Professor” anymore. Dr Wijesinha, please act even now according to liberal traditions and oppose the dictatorial regime of MR.

    • 0
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      Kumudu

      Rajeeva should be grateful to MR for appointing hin to Parliament. Could he have gone to Parliament in his wildest dreams, if not for MR? Now he is trying to bite the hand that fed him.

      • 0
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        Leela:
        You are obviously too blinded by your infatuation with the Bandit Brigade of Sri Lanka to realise this is simply a case of thieves falling out complicated by a rat leaving a sinking ship!

  • 0
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    Mr Dinuka ..Rijive Wijesinghe may having Phd,but (Dr W) is belongs to OLD SHCOOL OF THOUGHT, the era of Tory politics and education in 19th century Bejiemni Disrealy period.
    Present university curriculam and line of Higher education are differant stock of thought.Rajivi Wijesinghe is outdated for Higher and university education in Sri Lanka.
    Yes S.B Dissanayake… needless to say unqualified for Minister of Highier Education.
    Dr Rjive Wijesinghe education guide line is similar to orthdox of cartomancy of higher education teaching of curriculam.

  • 0
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    If Rajeeva cannot toe the MR line 100%, he must resign from Parliament and run the Liberal Party as he pleases. MR made him an MP and he must be grateful to MR for that.

  • 0
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    It looks that Prof. Wijesinha has been quick enough to save his bacon. Anyone reading between the lines would realize that he has written to SB more to please the President than the latter. See how flattering to His Excellency when he lays the emphasis on the need to ” support to fulfill the President’s vision” which he has found “admirable” “though this is not being pursued coherently and intelligently in many areas….” O! good professor, the President will hopefully realize that you are the ideal man to pursue his vision coherently and intelligently in particular in the area of foreign affairs! The President will also, no doubt, admire your diplomatic gesture in winning over several Ministers at one go by making remarks complimentary to them! You have already proved your prowess for fence breaking, fence straddling as well as fence mending!

  • 0
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    Does this unmitigated liar, Rajiva Wijesinha, who’ll sing any song including Hitler’s version of “Deutschland, Deutschland…” for his supper, believe ANYTHING he says? Even “ASS BEE” has more credibility than he does!

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