Bandula ready to apologise if it could be proved that he meddled with A/L question paper setting


By Saman Indrajith

Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that he would make an apology in the House if anyone in the Opposition could prove their allegation that he had meddled with the preparation of question papers of the GCE A/L Examination. 

The minister, making a special statement, said that he had never meddled with the process of preparing question papers. He would never allow the examination process to be politicised, he said. 

The minister said that he had been prompted to make that statement following some media reports that he had meddled with the process of preparing the GCE A/L question papers.

Minister Gunawardena said that Prof. Jagath Bandaranayake had been removed from a board responsible for preparing question papers by the Commissioner of Examinations. Prof. Bandaranayake had retired from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 2004 and been residing in Canada. He had arrived in Sri Lanka only to participate in the process of preparing question papers. He had not taught in a university since 2004 and held only the position of Senior Lecturer at the time of retirement. The Examinations Commissioner had removed him from a panel preparing question papers as he was not suitable to be there and for the benefit of thousands of children sitting that vital examination. The Commissioner had a right to do so, Minister  Gunawardena said. 

"It is being claimed in some quarters that I changed the questions in  GCE A/L examination papers. It is said that I had faxed some questions to the board responsible for setting question papers and I had ordered that my questions be included in the question papers. These are all lies. If anyone could prove these allegations, I am ready to apologise to this House," the minister added.

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