President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that all have to ensure that petty rivalries relating to ethnic, religious and cultural issues are a burden that future generation should never have to bear and the children should be taught to look beyond such petty differences and live in harmonious co-existence while respecting ethnic, religious and cultural plurality.
The President made these comments addressing a function held in Matara yesterday in connection with the opening of the newly built Mahinda Rajapaksa College in Matara, under the 1,000 secondary schools programme.
He said Sri Lanka is a united country today and petty differences which created divisions in the past should not exist any more. The President said that emphasis on ensuring equity in access to quality education for all, irrespective of where they live were paying rich dividends.
He pointed out that top rankings had been grabbed by children from rural schools in recent examinations. The President said he had travelled to the North, East, Central, Southern and other parts of the country and had witnessed a major change in the attitudes of students.
The President said that the students exude more confidence now, and the government is also confident that children would make optimum use of the facilities they have been given. While pointing out to students that they were hailing from an area which over the years had produced a large number of intellectuals who served the country with distinction, the President urged the children to follow their path.
Mentioning about the progress as a whole in the area, President Rajapaksa said the government’s efforts have brought unprecedented development to the south.
After opening the school, the first student of the college was admitted in the presence of the President and later he made the first entry in the school log book. The President also launched the new website of the School.
Ministers Bandula Gunewardene, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene and Dullas Alahapperuma, Chief Minister of the Southern Province Shan Wijeyalal de Silva MPs Sanath Jayasuriya, Wijeya Dahanayake and Hemalal Gunesekara, Southern Province Education Minister Chandima Rasaputhra and several other peoples representatives also attended the function.
In another function held in Matara yesterday, the President also declared open the twin three stories buildings of the Sujatha College, Matara. (niz).