Secretary Defencedelivers inspiring keynote address at the  Inaugural "TISSL" Conference

"It is important that the Heads of Sri Lanka's schools discuss ways and means of improving the country's education system to achieve the bold vision of the country - to become an education hub in the region by 2020" said the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Mr. GotabayaRajapaksa delivering the key note address at the Inaugural International Conference of the Heads of International Schools held at the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle last weekend.

Speaking on the prevailing visible effect of deteriorating bond between teachers and students he recalled that "When I was in school, most of the teachers were of a very high quality and they took great pride in their profession". "They approached teaching as a vocation rather than as just a job, and they had no greater pleasure than seeing their students succeed and reach a good position in society". "It is therefore even more important that teachers take an active interest in their students' welfare and wellbeing" he stressed.

Putting aside the myth that achieving outstanding results at examinations is the only way for students to achieve success in life, Secretary Defence said that, "Pursuing an academic degree in the traditional streams at state universities is only one of those paths". "In addition to academic education, students today have many opportunities to follow vocational training, study at degree awarding institutions affiliated with foreign universities, obtain professional qualifications in a variety of fields, and engage in entrepreneurial activities. The Secretary requested the heads of both International and Private schools to contribute to bringabout a systemic change by proposing ways to increase the relevance of education to the needs of the nation.

The International Schools of Sri Lanka (TISSL), the association of the premier International Schools in the Island organizeda three day inaugural international conference fr0m 8th to 10th November 2013. The conference saw presentations from a number of eminent educationalists from around the world.

TISSL, a non-profit making membership organization, has 25 member schools embodying the diversity of cultures that are represented in our country. Providing education to a student population of over 40000 with over 90% of them being Sri Lankan, member schools of TISSL make an enormous contribution to the local education sector. Pearson Edexcel and Cambridge International Examinations were the main sponsors of the conference.

Dr. Harsha Alles, Chairman of TISSL, in his welcome address, mentioned that the formation of TISSLnot only enhances and promotes goodwill and co-orperation between member schools, but also contributes towards the development of education in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Mohan LalGrero, Hon. Deputy Minister of Education opened the conference highlighting the new education reforms. Mr. ChandimaRasaputaraHon. Minister of Education of the Southern Province, Principals of government, private and international schools, International delegates, members of TISSL and a large distinguished gathering was present at the conference.