The President has greeted all students who have gained admission to the Universities and said that the country belongs to them.
The President said that Lalith Athulathmudali who initiated the Mahapola Scholarship Scheme was a good friend of his. He said it is with fond memories that he recalls him. He said that the scholarship scheme launched with 400 students has now developed to accommodate 12,000 students. The President made this statement at a function held at the Temple Trees to offer Mahapola Scholarships to students who have achieved high marks in the 2009/ 2010 G.C.E. Advanced Level Examination . The late Lalith Athulathmudali who initiated the Mahapola Scholarship Scheme in 1981 was also commemorated. The President and Ministers presented scholarships to 2500 students who are qualified to pursue education in other institutes of higher education and 10,000 students who have entered the universities. The Programme was organized by the Mahapola Higher Education Trust which is under the Presidential Secretariat. Addressing the gathering Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that the Government has launched a programme to transform the university students to be universal children. He said that ragging will never be permitted in universities in the future.
Minister S.B. Dissanayake expressed confidence that Philosophers, Scientists, Engineers and Doctors of a higher caliber will pass out from the universities in the future. He called upon the students to create a conducive environment for that. He said that they should change to English medium at their earliest and their concentration power and physical fitness should be addressed. He said when the new students will enter the universities in October they will not undergo ragging. In case any student would resort to ragging he will definitely be ousted. He said that the universities should be made universal institutions of education. Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the late Lalith Athulathmudali became a victim of LTTE terrorism in Kirulapone. He said when white flags were put up throughout the country to mourn his death. It was prohibited in universities despite being institutions where many beneficiaries of the Mahapola Scholarships studied. He said that President has eliminated terrorism and the students who pass out from the universities should love their country like their mothers and they should not betray their country for monetary considerations.
Minister Johnston Fernando said that they should have the self confidence to stand by the decisions that they make. He said that youths can be easily used by anyone. The students have a responsibility not to become prey to such elements.
Members of the Maha Sangaha and Government officials also participated in the occasion. The students commended the programme launched by the Government to improve facilities in universities to suit the modern times.