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Sri Lanka would have been the loser if English had been downgraded

Time was when, in the after glow of the grant of freedom, in a kind of national hysteria, fanatics and pseudo nationalists wanted to throw out everything English, almost to the point of even throwing out the baby with the bath water. Today, the wheel has turned a full circle and we are fortunate to realise the importance of the study of the English language, declared Prince Casinader, a former member of Parliament and retired Principal of the oldest college in the East - Methodist Central College, Batticaloa founded as far back as 1814.

He was addressing the Cambridge affiliated Headway College of English, Batticaloa as Chief Guest at the annual award of certificates.

On arrival, Mr. and Mrs. Casinader were welcomed by Course Director N. Narendran, his Deputy Kulendran and Miss. Mignonne Ragel.

With the renaissance in the realisation of the importance of English and it being given a place of importance in educational institutions, the Chief Guest issued a note of warning, that today numerous centres were coming up like mushrooms, with boards displayed claiming to be English Teaching Centres could be the bane of ill qualified and half baked teachers, who were unleashed on our children to teach English. At one place he said he noticed a board on which was written - "Spoken English in Thirty Days" and a wag had written underneath it - "Broken English in one day".

It was that famous Swiss Educationist Professor Pestalozzi who had pertinently stressed that for instance if a teacher was to teach a boy called John, English there were three essential requisites:

1. The teacher should have a very sound knowledge of English, but that was not all for

2. The teacher should know the science of how to teach English and

3. The teacher should know fully well the John he teaches.

Mr. Casinader stated how on a visit to the UK he had reserved two full days to visit that great English genius William Shakespeare’s birth place of Stratford on Avon and drink in various places hallowed by him inclusive of the Globe Theatre, and as he stood in reverence those lines - of a quote in literature - "And still the wonder grew how that small head could contain all he knew", came to his mind.

Mr. Casinader paid tributes that in the backwoods of the East, a noble band of fully qualified teachers of English such as the Course Director Narendran, who despite his youth was with a sense of dedication keeping the flame of English glowing to many students who could not afford to journey to Colombo to derive the benefit of such knowledge.

In fact it was this course Director even during the height of the civil unrest and tension here had given audiences in Batticaloa, dramas drawn from Shakespeare through the Albion Drama Club, and had most recently written the script of a play ‘The Intruder’ staged by students of St. Michael’s College, Batticaloa and had staged this drama not only in Batticaloa but in Colombo too.

Mrs. Anne Casinader distributed the awards.


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