"Gateway – a Premier Educational Institution"

Tony Reilly, Country Director, British Council

“It is clear that Gateway College is doing something right. Small classes, high quality teaching, a programme of learning following the English Curriculum in its entirety from Foundation to Advanced Level, all benchmarked against a range of world class internationally recognized UK qualifications are just some of the ingredients of Gateway’s unparallel success”, said Tony Reilly, the Country Director of the British Council. Attending the Annual Awards Day of Gateway College, Colombo, as the Chief Guest, Mr. Reilly said that Gateway has established a reputation as one of Sri Lanka’s premium educational institutions.

Mr. Tony Reilly, Country Director, British Council, Professor John Spinks of University of Hong Kong and the Directorate of Gateway

Mr. Reilly said that he gets invited to many splendid award ceremonies, but not all of them have been as enjoyable as the one that he experienced at Gateway and that he means it genuinely. He said that Gateway College Colombo has left its humble origins behind. Today it provides a unique UK aligned curriculum from purpose built state of the art facilities on a 4 acre campus in Rajagiriya and similar colleges in Kandy and Negombo.

Exerts of Mr. Reilly’s speech are as follows:
Addressing the Parents, he said that there is no great or important investment than that made in education. And there is no one better than that supreme statesman and outstanding human being, Nelson Mandela, to capture what many parents with us clearly already recognize.

Nelson Mandela had this to say: “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that a daughter of a peasant can become a doctor. A son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine and that a child of farm workers can become the president of a nation,” as Nelson Mandela himself did.

Moving on to the second but equally important group, he spoke about the teachers and educators. In the time of Hypocrites, the ancient Greek physician, Physicians were regarded as members of the noblest profession. Why? Because they saved lives while exposing themselves to diseases and all the while had to refuse the temptation to exploit their position of power.

However, several centuries later the English philosopher John Stewart Mill proposed that teaching was the noblest profession and his reasons for that were that the physician could only cure one person at a time, but teachers and educators could instill greatness in many, who themselves would go on to do good and even great things. Perhaps that is why Dr Harsha Alles himself gave up his career in medicine to advance the course of education.

Teachers have a profound and lifelong impact on their students as Henry B Adams, the well known American Journalist and Historian once said, “A teacher effects eternity. He or she can never tell when his or her influence stops.”

As a final message to all of the students, he said, that while preparing for the event, he stumbled upon the following wise words from a former director of the BBC who said, “Education would be so much more effective if its purpose were to ensure that by the time they leave school, every boy and girl should know how much they don’t know and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.”

The Country Director of the British Council wrapped up with a quote which consulates the importance of education and the role that institutions like Gateway College are playing in the future of Sri Lanka. Quoting advice from Confucius, he said, “If your plan is for a year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.”

Mr. Reilly summed up by commending Gateway for the significant contribution they are making to the long term future of this beautiful country in educating Sri Lanka’s bright and talented next generation.

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