Another student died while undergoing the Defence Ministry’s programme to carry out “Leadership Training” for all university students. The student, identified as Mudiyanselage Lahiru Sandaruwan Rathnayake was undergoing leadership training at the Peradeniya Gannoruwa Army Camp and was admitted to the Peradeniya Hospital on 26 January, due to a sudden ailment, passed away yesterday, The Ceylon Today reported.
Selected to the University of Jaffna, upon successfully sitting the GCE Advanced Level Examination in the commerce stream from the Nochchiyagama Vidyadarshi College, Lahiru Sandaruwan was 21 years old at the time of his demise.
Military Spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said according to the father of the deceased, the student had been receiving treatment for an ailment from which he had been suffering since his infancy. Asked whether students were subject to a fitness test, prior to their enrolment in the leadership training programme, Brigadier Wanigasooriya said, “No. That is not our responsibility. It is the Ministry of Higher Education which is tasked with obtaining their fitness reports.”
Compulsory leadership training for undergraduates is a mandatory programme introduced in 2011 by the Government for all students selected State universities. The residential three week leadership training and “positive thinking development” training camps under the Defence Ministry has claimed at least two lives so far. In 2011 a student died during the leadership program for undergraduates, while a principal who was part of a similar leadership training program died in 2013.