In seeking to build this society, as much as we learn from modern technology, we must also be fully aware of our own traditional knowledge of technology, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
"Our great irrigation technology, the construction technology seen in our ancient cities, and maritime technology of the past, should motivate you to carry your new learning forward for the best interests of the country and its people", President said the first convocation of University of Vocational Technology .
The University established in 2009 under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development held its inaugural convocation under the patronage of the President at the BMICH yesterday.
Those who pass out today will be the pathfinders in a new field of scholarship in our country. You will face the challenges of a society seeking to build for the future, under conditions of peace that were not found when you began your education. You are carrying a new promise to the nation with a new message of progress. It is the message of advancement through technology, President said addressing the graduates and diplomates.
Full text of the speech:
Members of the Faculty
My Dear Friends
It gives me much pride and honour to preside at the First Convocation of the University of Vocational Technology, because the subject of vocational training has always been very close to my heart.
From the time I began my service to the people, with my entry into politics more than four decades ago, I have seen the need for good vocational education and training for our youth, as part of the road to progress.
I was able to take the first steps in moving towards this goal when, as Minister of Labour, in charge of Vocational Education and Training, I launched the Vocational Training Authority in July 1995.
After this beginning, it took more than a decade, till my election as President in 2005, to see the full realizing of this dream, when in October 2009, we established this University of Vocational Technology. The long period since the beginning of the Vocational Training Institute till the launch of this University, would show the lack of importance attached to good vocational education, among those who guided our nation and held important office in the field of higher education.
That is why I am so pleased today to see the first batch of students passing out of this University, with degrees and diplomas in Vocational Technology.
These new graduates and diploma holders are an important addition to the ranks of our educated youth. They are persons with a good focus in their education and training. They have qualifications that are very relevant to the needs of our country today, and also capable of competing in foreign lands.
This university also gives a long awaited opportunity to Technical Diploma holders employed in Industry, for carrier advancement.
My dear friends
We have a good tradition of university education in our country. Our universities have produced very fine scholars in science and the arts. They have produced excellent doctors, engineers, academics and professionals who have brought much honour to our country. With this Convocation we move on to producing the best in Technology, too. It is the field of knowledge that is so necessary for modern day progress and very much in demand in the world today.
In the programmes of study in the two faculties of this University, I note the importance given to Information Technology, which is vital for rapid progress in our country. We have already achieved nearly 40 per cent literacy in Information Technology, and your work will add to this progress, helping achieve our goal of Sri Lanka being a Knowledge Hub in this region.
Similarly, your degree programmes in Building Services and Manufacturing Technology, and as well as future courses in Food Process Technology and Quantity Surveying, show a good understanding of current development needs in our country, and potential for the export of such skills and talent.
My Dear Friends,
Those who pass out today will be the pathfinders in a new field of scholarship in our country. You will face the challenges of a society seeking to build for the future, under conditions of peace that were not found when you began your education. You are carrying a new promise to the nation with a new message of progress. It is the message of advancement through technology.
This brings to the nation the new opportunities for development in all parts of our Motherland, by those who possess the vocational technology to build a new society. In seeking to build this society, as much as we learn from modern technology, we must also be fully aware of our own culture and traditions that placed great importance to the technologies of the past. Our great irrigation technology, the construction technology seen in our ancient cities, and maritime technology of the past, should motivate you to carry your new learning forward for the best interests of the country and its people.
It is also important that you recognize the importance of protecting and caring for the environment and nature in the new tasks that you will be carrying out. The use of your knowledge should go together with a strong commitment to Sustainable Development, because that is the only guarantee of genuine and lasting development that protects our assets of nature.
My Dear Friends
I take this opportunity to commend the Vice-Chancellor, members the academic staff and the non-academic staff of this university for their commitment to make this a centre of excellence in a new field of higher education in our country. I trust they will continue with this good work to provide our youth with the knowledge of new technologies and gift our nation with those skilled and trained in these fields of study.
I congratulate all those receiving degree and diplomas today, and wish you all every success in your chosen fields of study and work in the future, and trust that you will contribute your best to the progress and development of Sri Lanka
May you be blessed by the Noble Triple Gem!