17th February 2021 08:56:08 Hours
The final segment of the 31st General Convocation-2020 of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), the highest academic seat for defence studies and other disciplines got underway at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) on Tuesday (16).
HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces as the Chief Guest, together with General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), Secretary to Ministry of Defence and Secretary, State Ministry of National Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management and General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak, Commanders of the Navy and Air Force, graced the glittering event, attended by a selected gathering of distinguished guests and invitees.
At the invitation of General Gerard Hector de Silva (Retd), Chancellor KDU, Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksha, the spouse of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Chithrani Gunaratne, Chairperson of the Seva Vanitha Unit of the Ministry of Defence and Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, Chairperson, Army Seva Vanitha Unit were among the invitees.
The Convocation, held under separate six phases due to COVID-19 health precautions saw 1379 graduands of Master’s and Bachelor’s degree programmes received their parchments, in addition to 5 Doctors of Philosophy (PhD), 263 post graduate diploma recipients and 1211 1st degree holders.
During this year's convocation, the Best Army officer award was won by 2nd Lieutenant R.M.D.P Rathnayake. Lieutenant V. S Palihawadana and Flying Officer, R.G.S.D Gamage were adjudged the Best Navy Officer and the Air Force Officer respectively.
Delivering the convocation address, HE the President explained the importance of the sustenance of university education amidst changes and challenges even in the midst of prevailing pandemic period.
“We cannot afford to lag behind. Our higher education system must adapt swiftly. It has to offer our students an education that will remain relevant despite fast changing circumstances, and help them find gainful employment in future. Unfortunately, this is an area in which our universities and other higher education institutions need considerable improvement,” the President said.
Vice Chancellor, Major General Milinda Peiris (Retd), Lecturers, Senior Tri Service Officers and a selected group of parents witnessed the day's proceedings.