To Royal College Principal Sir R.M.M. Rathnayake with love

Thursday, 25 May 2023 00:39 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Royal College, Colombo Principal R.M.M. Rathnayake 

I am writing filled with joy, pride and gratitude for Royal College, Colombo Principal R.M.M. Rathnayake being able to achieve what three past Principals namely B.A. Abeyrathne, Samantha Gunathilaka (Acting) and Sanath Jayalath and two Secretaries of the Royal College Union namely Mithila Mendis and Hiran Wimalaratne, failed to achieve – making bi-lingual education open to every applicant at Royal College (RC).

I am proud of the Principal and indebted on behalf of hundreds of students who would have been turned away this year too, as was the dogmatically followed tradition at RC during the past decade, if not for the Principal’s timely intervention and the ability to solve problems that were too complex for the aforementioned. In fact one past Principal wanted me to negotiate with the Ministry conveniently forgetting that he was the Principal and not. Each year we turned away between 100-150 students parroting the same excuse; “no Teachers”! No one – no Principal, no Secretary RCU felt it was his duty and responsibility. No one felt that at RC we should not have denied a single child of this sacrosanct right – the right to study in the language of his choice.

When I too was given the oft repeated excuse I asked whether we cannot hire outside teachers on contract. I was told the school can and was shown examples that we currently hire outsiders to teach Mandarin and German. In fact then Director Bi-lingual Education at the Ministry (MOE) Biyanwila gave instant approval commenting that RC is setting a unique example to other schools on how to keep moving ahead when the MOE is unable to provide resources.

It was at this point then Secretary RCU Mithila Mendis congratulated me for taking up such an important academic initiative assuring his fullest cooperation pledging Rs. 10 million from RCU.

That pledge never materialised. Instead I was requested to raise the first year’s salaries for two teachers (amounting to Rs. 1.7 million) and the RCU, through its Secretary Academic Advisory pledged to take care of all expenses from the second year onwards. Helped by many loyal alumni and a few parents we raised Rs. 2.1 million which the RCU kept in its trust and returned after one year without using a cent of it. And we call the government departments inefficient and callous. Thanks again Royal College Principal Rathnayake for showing the RCU how to solve problems it failed to solve with 2.1 million.

 I fervently hope Rathnayake will ensure every scholarship student too would be admitted by 2024 so that RC could proudly announce that it hasn’t left a single child behind.

With much respect and absolute admiration, 

Padmasena Dissanayake ‘64 and Olive