The Sunday Leader

Principals Sans Principles

  • Trinity Head Mum Over Credentials

By Nirmala Kannangara

The Board of Governors of Trinity College Kandy has come under severe criticism for bypassing the Education Department guidelines when appointing the school’s principal.

A group of old Trinitians, on conditions of anonymity, raised concerns over the decision of the Board of Governors (BoG) of Trinity College to appoint Brigadier W. G. K. Aryaratne as its principal despite the fact that the credentials he has submitted were false and is not adequate to hold the post of principal.
Meanwhile, Aryaratne is further accused of claiming his rank as Brigadier when his actual rank is Colonel.
In a letter dated November 9, 2012 in a Sri Lanka Army letterhead, H. C. P. Goonetilleke RSP USP, Major General for Commander of the Army, has confirmed that Colonel W. G. K. Aryaratne (Retired) RSP served as a temporary Brigadier until he retired on his own volition and was reverted to Colonel upon retirement, and all official correspondence in the Army concerning the officer thereafter has been in his substantive rank of Colonel.

Education Ministry Secretary’s letter to BoG Trinity College requesting to appoint a qualified principal, The letter sent by Sri Lanka Army confirming Aryaratne is a Colonel , The letter from the NDHRM confirming Aryaratne was not awarded the National Diploma and Col W. G. K. Aryaratne

“Aryaratne’s letterhead in which he has submitted his CV carries his rank as Brigadier and nowhere as a Colonel. This alone shows his duplicity. In such circumstances would there be a value to any certificate issued to students when the writer himself is a dishonest person,” the sources said.

Brig. Aryaratne was appointed as Acting Principal os Trinity College in November 2008. Although the BoG did not go through Brig. Aryaratne’s credentials in 2008, it was in 2012 it had come to light that Brig. Aryaratne’s credentials are false.

“When the then Principal Rod Gilbert’s visa was not extended, the college published a paper advertisement calling for prospective candidates for the post of principal. From the applications received, the best out of the lot was once again a British national but BoG did not want to take him considering that there would be visa issues once again in the future. It was Aryaratne’s application that was considered the second best and he had to face the interviews with the BoG members,” added sources.

According to them, the biggest blunder made by the BoG was not to scrutinize Aryaratne’s CV in 2008.

“It is still a mystery as to how and why Aryaratne’s qualifications were not examined. But however since there was a doubt in his teaching experience he was not given the post of Principal but Acting Principal. According to Section 37 of the Education Ordinance (Chapter 185) a Principal should be a university graduate with at least 10 years of teaching experience. Since Aryaratne had seven years teaching experience at the Kotalawela Defence Academy but not in a secondary school, Jayanatha Dhanapala who was a member of the then BoG met the Education Ministry officials and got their approval to appoint Aryaratne as the acting principal,” the sources said.

However, the approval given by the Education Ministry to Jayantha Danapala was overruled by the Secretary, Education Ministry M. M. N. D. Bandara in a letter dated October 28, 2008 to the Chairman, Board of Governors, Rt. Rev. Kumara Illangasinghe.
The letter states thus: According to the regulations made by the Education Minister under Education Act No: 31 of 1939 and Section 17 of the said Act in the gazette notification on December 09, 1983, in appointing a principal for a government approved private school, he/she should hold a degree from a university along with a minimum of 10 years teaching experience. While studying the documents forwarded, it is found that these qualifications have not been fulfilled by Brig. Aryaratne proposed by you to Trinity College. You are therefore kindly informed that it is not possible to approve Aryaratne’s appointment as the principal Trinity College. You are informed further to appoint promptly a person holding the qualification indicated above and to submit the new appointment for Education Ministry approval.

Following this letter several letters have been sent to the Chairman BoG by the respective Education Ministry Secretaries urging to remove Brig. Aryaratne and appoint a qualified Principal and to send the letter for Education Ministry approval.
The Sunday Leader is in possession of all the letters Education Ministry has sent to Chairman BoG although no action has been taken to comply with the Education Ministry guidelines.

“We are surprised as to why the BoG is reluctant to follow education ministry guidelines although they follow Education Ministry syllabuses and exams. This shows the hypocrisy of the BoG members including its Chairman,” added the sources.
“It was a group of eminent educationists that interviewed Aryaratne in 2012. They recommended Aryaratne but wanted the BoG to check his credentials and his records with the SL Army. They also wanted to go for the next in line if Aryaratne’s credentials were found false,” added the sources.

The sources further said that although Aryaratne has stated that he has a national Diploma in Human Resource Management at the Institute of Personnel Management for which the dissertation presented was on Social Audit, the Institute of Personal Management Sri Lanka has confirmed that Aryaratne has not been awarded the National Diploma in Human Resources Management (NDHRM) qualification.

“In a letter dated October 24, 2012 to Chairman BoG Rt. Rev. Shantha Francis, the CEO of the Institute of Personnel Management Sri Lanka Dyan Seneviratne has stated that although Aryaratne was a registered student he had not submitted the dissertation as required and as such was not awarded the NDHRM qualification. When the BoG knew very well that Aryaratne has lied from the beginning we are puzzled as to why he is still being given the post of Principal. Who is controlling the BoG from behind the curtain? If we had board members of the best calibre like in the past, these unfortunate things wouldn’t have taken place that has brought disrepute to Trinity,” said the sources.

When Principal Aryaratne was contacted to find out as to whether the allegations levelled against him is true or false, Aryaratne wanted this paper to contact Chairman BoG Rt. Rev. Shantha Francis, Bishop of Kurunegala as he had been barred from talking to the media.

“Extremely sorry. I cannot make any comment as I am barred from talking to the media,” said Aryaratne.
When he was informed that the allegations are against him but not against the College and wanted him to give his side of the story he still refused to make a comment.

However, Chairman BoG Rt. Rev. Shantha Francis said that the College had to accept the application of Aryaratne as his application was the second best.

“It was once again a British citizen’s application that came first but since we had to undergo difficulties on an earlier occasion. When the former principal who was a British citizen could not get his visa extended, we decided to go for a local. The BoG went through the documents and qualifications of Aryaratne and appointed him as the acting principal. Jayantha Danapala who was one of the board members told the board, that since the principal did not have ten year experience to get the Education Department approval, to appoint him as the acting principal for three years until he completed the stipulated 10 year period,” said Chairman BoG.
According to him, it was after three years that all issues cropped up.

“I became the Chairman when he completed three years and problems started then and there. I had to go to the Education Department to get a clarification. Then they said that although he has ten years by then, the seven years was not in an ordinary school but at the Kotalawala Defence Acadamy and that could not be considered as a secondary school. The fact remains that he has done extremely well for the college in all fields. He has instilled discipline in all students and has brought the school to a better position. I could undoubtedly say that his tenure is the best in Trinity history,” he added.

He further said, “Some board members are against appointing him and some are with the decision. My question to all of these board members is where were you all when he was appointed as the acting principal in 2008. Since all of them were in the board then why couldn’t hey take any action at that time?”

According to the Chairman BoG, Aryaratne is a retired army officer and the papers say he is a Brigadier.

“I wrote to the army headquarters to get a clarification and I was told that when an army officer went on retirement pre-mutually during war, he is demoted to the next lower rank. That is what has happened to him. Even still his name goes in army diaries as (Rtd) Brigadier. If somebody from SLA writes to me officially and say that he cannot be called a Brigadier and that his rank is Colonel then I will make a note of it. In regard to his qualifications, he has obtained Bachelor of Technology from University College in Punai which is affiliated to Jawaharlal Nheru University which is recognized by the University Grants Commission in Sri Lanka. Since he has not collected his certificate he is now desperate to get the certificate which he has failed so far. So that qualification is enough to become the principal,” added the Chairman.

The Chairman further raised concern as to why the Education Department is imposing rules against the Trinity College Principal when there are schools where the Principals have not met the Education Ministry qualifications.

“Even the Warden of S. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia Prof. Indra Soyza and Principal Ladies College Nirmalee Wickremasinghe too do not have these required qualifications to become principals. But why these regulation are only to Trinity. We had a retired Superintendent of Prisons and many foreigners as principals. This issue has caused unnecessary problems. As a law abiding citizen I will certainly follow the Education Department guidelines when I appoint the next principal. I respect the law of this country,” he said.

The Chairman further said that the BoG has decided to extend his period for two terms –till August and appointed him as the Principal.
When asked whether he will not be given any extension thereafter, Rt. Rev. Francis said that the board has a right to change this decision and can allow him to continue in the post further.

2 Comments for “Principals Sans Principles”

  1. Don Quixote

    There is a sinister attempt to take over Trinity by a recently started “buddhist” school” in Kandy. This school stands overlooking the Asgiriya stadium and stares at it with very “un – Buddistic”eyes and has made a few attempts to take it over.

    The BoG should take cognisance of this situation and not make basic mistakes in recruitment that could have tragic ramifications.

    Trinity and all it stand for will be swallowed up in the religious fervour that this Government is perpetrating in order to survive.

    Beware !

  2. silva

    He should go out of school, Please send him out soon as posible

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