The speech delivered by His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the opening ceremony of the Mahindodaya laboratory of Magedara Maha Vidyalaya, Galle.
"This is my second visit to this school and I believe it's a rare opportunity to be able to make it to the 100th anniversary. This school was built in the year 1904 with classes only for the arts stream.
Politicians blame the present education system and also the universities for producing too much of arts graduates. However in schools where science and technology are not available the arts degree is deemed the only way forward. All these years graduates passed out from our universities without proper jobs, increasing the unemployment rate of the country. But today I'm happy to say that during the past few years we have managed to offer jobs for 45000-50000 graduates, the most recent appointments being given to another 54000. The graduates who were on probation are also being made permanent at present.
Why aren't we providing our children a proper education on science and technology. This is why the ‘Mahinda Chinthanaya' has specifically focussed on teaching science and technology to the rural child, and made necessary arrangements through the minister of education, minister of higher education, minister of vocational training as well as another senior minister to implement programs related to the subject.
The Mahindodaya laboratory for this school is a result of this project and we have set aside funds to build such laboratories for 03 schools from each Pradeshiya sector of the country. This is one of them and i'm glad that the science stream has also been implemented in this school with two students who excel in mathematics being enrolled. I whole heartedly wish them all the very best. We have built roadways, schools, airports, harbours and power stations along with massive projects like the Upper Kotmale and the Norochcholai power stations. Ours is a country that has stepped back 30 years in time and a place where people lived for 30 years in great pain and fear of dying.
We were able to defeat the threat of separatism, the menace of terrorism was swept away. We put an end to those horrific, painful times. We are finally developing our country. We build a harbour and the opposition criticizes. They continuously reject the establishment of new harbours, new airports, new power stations and highways. They say that we don't require such development and that these are being done in return of commissions. They basically say it's a Pol Pot regime! I'm wondering whether they make such comments because of their poor knowledge of the Pol Pot regime or because they have forgotten the era where youth were burnt in tyres at every junction of the country!
We kept a full stop to terrorism in this country. Corpses are not sent to the south any longer and neither do we hear wails from the northern households. Those heroes, fighters born to mothers of the south do not come back inside coffins anymore. No one seems to be asking about this bloody war of 30 years, instead they ask what we did during the recent past. Having said that, they bring forward proposals against us, write to the papers and criticise us abroad. For most of them it's such a pleasure to do so. They say this is the end of the Rajapaksa regime and that we shall be tried at the international courts and eventually be electrocuted too!
The situation at present is such that we are being blamed and criticised for putting an end to the war and deaths of hundreds of innocent countrymen.
Therefore whatever the development work we carry out in this country is for the children of this nation who are seated here in front of me today. We are building all these harbours and laboratories, constantly revising the education system and opening up new avenues for employment, for our children who will be the leaders and decision makers of this country in another 10-20 years.
However none of these would be of value if we don't teach our children virtue and ethics. If a society that does not worship parents, respect the elderly or is distanced from their religion is formed all such development would make no sense at all. Hence the teachers are greatly responsible for guiding the children properly when in school. Parents too should take care of their children more. They come near the school and be at the gate when the children are small and gradually stop such practices reaching a point where they do not even bother to check whether their children attend school or not. Therefore I beg you to keep an eye on your children constantly for it's the sole responsibility of the parents as well as all religious leaders, the temple, the church, the kovil and the mosque to protect their children when they gradually mingle with the society. I believe it's our duty and responsibility to make sure the younger generation of this nation is virtuous and ethical.
I wish all of you a bright future."