'Equip youth with knowledge, not arms'
by Lal Gunasekera
Mar 30, 2010
The greatest power youth could have is knowledge and not arms. The policies of national leaders of the past few decades destroyed the rich and valuable lives of thousands of youth who were misled and took to arms, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

“It is my policy therefore to strengthen our youth to be able to face any challenge in the world as it is my responsibility to ensure that the youth will not face dangers but be strong to achieve prosperity,” the President said.

He was addressing a function held to open the Rupavahini Muthuhara Library at Palamkada, Weeraketiya yesterday.

President Rajapaksa said some leaders of the recent past did not possess the knowledge that leaders should be fortified with.

It was due to such people that thousands of our youth were destroyed by taking up arms instead of being strengthened with knowledge and useful skills. Therefore the government had taken every measure to enrich the children and youth with knowledge and was seeking to build a knowledge based society, he said.

“The time has come to give our children more than textbook learning. It is knowledge that the youth need in the future to rise to high standards of employment or position in the competitive world. Therefore our aim is to make our younger generation a knowledgeable and strong.

“Efforts will be made to open more libraries and allow children to have access to wide reading in addition to their formal education,” the President said.

President Rajapaksa who declared open the public library at the Netolpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha later in the day said the attitude of imitating the West by the previous governments had relegated the history as a subject taught in schools.

But we have made history a compulsory subject as the country could be developed only by those who knew its history. Today we are surprised to see the lack of knowledge of history among a lot of people. We have to teach our children and younger generation our history so that they would learn and appreciate our national traditions.

Sri Lanka has a proud history that some of the developed nations do not have and has a rich ethical tradition that we should bequeath to our children and still unborn generations. Therefore, we have to teach children our history. What they learn cannot be robbed from them, the President said.

Courtesy: Island