When we ( my wife & I ) attended our daughter’s induction ceremony at the university a few years back, the VC in his speech mentioned that the government was spending more than Seven hundred thousand rupees on every student attending that particular degree programmer.
After the speeches, we were served traditional Sri Lankan food ( කිරි බත්, කැවුම්, කෙසෙල් සහ තේ ) by some senior students.
That time, I was in much relaxed state of mind and I had an opportunity to observe my other fellow parents.
They all were brimming from ear to ear with happiness.
Among the crowd there were so many in clean cloths but that have not even being pressed to suit the occasion and their footwear had seen much better days to say the least.
While returning home, I told my wife that I am happy, not only because our daughter got admitted to one of the best universities in the country but sitting among the crowd I was really able to see the real fruits of the C.W.W.K’s free education movement.
Some days, I go to fetch her from the university and we used to stop by a small පෙට්ටි කඩේ in front of the university to buy one of my favorite රොටි from there and then I have seen those who are from far flung places and thus forced to find cramped and unhealthy accommodation, buying their dinner before heading to their boarding places.
Most buy either Two රොටි and or One එළවලු රොටි and that was all their dinner.
A cup of tea, perhaps later.
Perhaps, Rupees 700,000 is a small change for a few fortunate ones but for majority of Sri Lankans’ (including me), it is still a very large sum of money.
Some born with a silver spoon in their mouths may advocate abolishing the Free Education system in Sri Lanka, but I am an ardent supporter of it.
And we will not let it go without a mighty fight either.