Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Higher Education Reforms in Sri Lanka for Positive Peace

The ‘Future-Ready Youth Leadership Programme’ at the National Centre for Leadership Development in Embilipitiya, a historical event in the history of the University System of Sri Lanka, which began on March 10 with the participation of over 250 Vavuniya University students concluded successfully on 16thMarch.

Prof. Shanti NandanaWijeysinghe, Member, Standing Committee for Social Reconciliation, University Grants Commission, Chairman, Education, Research and Training, Centre for Social Reconciliation, University of Vavuniya, and Member, Presidential Task Force, addressed the gathering.

The event was the first leadership workshop for university students and was heldat the National Centre for Leadership Development under the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

“After 30-years of conflict, there has been no complete social reconciliation in the community. So, it is possible to prepare future leaders through national unity by bringing about reconciliation at the community level,” Professor Wijesinghe said.

“The first Social Reconciliation Centre was inaugurated by the President at the University of Vavuniya on February 11 when the 17th University of Sri Lanka, University of Vavuniya. “

The Social Reconciliation Centre to be set up in all Sri Lankan universities covers areas such as education, research and training. In addition, the university will start a program to improve the education of students who are unable to enter the courses and issue relevant certificates, which will help to further improve higher education for youth. It is noteworthy that theseCentres will be established in all the universities in Sri Lanka.”

“Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim students from the University of Vavuniya are also participating in the one-weektraining on leadership, empowerment, entrepreneurship and reconciliation. I hope this training will prepare them for the challenging world and move forward with leadership to break down the barriersincluding ethnicity, religion, caste and class.”

“Our goal is to develop Sri Lankan youthas global leaders in keeping with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through the Centres for Social Reconciliation. There are several programmes including Diploma/BA/Masters in Peace and Development Studies, and Certificate Courses in Women in Politics and in Media. Sri Lanka’s university system teaches perspectives, theory and concepts but not the skills to practically apply them. Soft skills are not developed through university education. We expect to address these deficiencies through the projects conducted by the Social Reconciliation Centres.”

The government has et up a Department of ICT in all the Faculties of Arts equipped with Computer Labs, Human Resources, Broadband Internet facilities and other infrastructure facilities.

It has established Social Reconciliation Centres (SRC) at all universities together with a Standing Committee on Social Reconciliation at the UGC.

These steps were taken to convert the prevailing negative peace with doubts, prejudices, fear and mistrust to positive peace where all would have access to equal opportunities and resources.

These changes have been made to meet the challenges as Asia prepares to take over global power by the year 2050 as Sri Lanka has the potential to give leadership to the socio-economic and political revival in Asia. A situation that is expected to be consolidated by the year 2100.”

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