By Senuri De Silva
Several academics from the Uva Province voiced their support for the UPFA’s chief ministerial candidate for the region, Shasheendra Rajapaksa, at a gathering held in Colombo yesterday.
These officials stated that the region, especially in terms of education, has developed significantly under the Minister’s watch.
Professor Pramala Silva from the Uva Wellassa University said that in 2013 the number of candidates who qualified to enter the GCE A/L class increased to 63% from the roughly 44% who qualified in 2008.
“Furthermore the percentage of A/L candidates that now pass all three subjects is being maintained at an impressive 59%, which is above the national average of about 51%. There is also a conscious effort being made to help students when selecting the right subject combinations which was an overlooked area in the education system until now,” he said.
Another member of the university’s staff, Professor Sudantha Liyanage added: “Sasheendra Rajapaksa created the “Sipsara Udanaya” program and brought many celebrated personalities to the province to encourage students to pursue their studies. Even though many of them had qualified to do their A/Ls we saw a drop in the numbers of students who actually went on to do A/Ls after passing their O/Ls.”
“In the time that he has been the Chief Minister, the Uva Wellassa Province has seen tremendous development. It has been a region that has historically seen a lot of destruction. Previously it took first place in our country only in terms of poverty, suicide and the low literacy rate,” Minister Dallas Alahaperuma said while speaking about Rajapaksa, who in 2009 became the youngest Chief Minister to hold office.
“We cannot say that the region has been developed to its full potential but he has been able to bring the region to a position where we can now see the light.”
Sasheendra Rajapaksa himself pointed out that the testament of the education providers was the best evidence of his contribution to the region and said, “The only way for our country to develop is through education and this is something that has been constantly reiterated by President Rajapaksa.” – Pix by Shehan Gunasekara