Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part III – EDUCATION

Nanda Wanninayaka    

Jokers (and jerks – including Mr Anura Dissanayaka) apart, there are two mainstream candidates in the run-up to the presidential election on November 16, 2019. Well, whether you like it or not, it is Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (GR) and Mr Sajith Premadasa (SP) who are the frontrunners for the contest and the others are just vote spoilers. After the election day, they will be also-rans for sure.

In these few articles, I will take the trouble of comparing and contrasting the two persons in question in 10 areas of concern in alphabetical order. This post deals with the EDUCATION of the two candidates. The previous post about AGE of the two candidate, read Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part II. The next area, the EXPERIENCE of the two candidates, will be discussed in the Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part IV)


The presidential candidate’s education has been a concern in politics but most politicians in the country have a little to offer the country where their brain departments are concerned as the majority of them is poorly educated. Even those who were well-educated haven’t done justice to their education or the country by taking sensible policy decisions.


In Gota’s case, he obtained his primary and secondary education at Ananda College, Colombo, and a Postgraduate Degree in Information Technology from the University of Colombo in 1992, which is impeccable as a futuristic leadership even though his opponent has the edge over the former in terms of youthful energy. There are no known records about his academic achievements when he was a schoolboy. His post-graduate degree in IT must have been obtained after retiring from the military I guess. Unlike his counterpart, Gota was in the military and he must have gone through much military training as it was his profession. Usually, people who join the military do so as soon as they finish their Ordinary Level (OL) or Advanced Level (AL.) So, comparing them with a civilian’s educational qualifications won’t be reasonable I guess. 


On the contrary, Sajith attended the S. Thomas’ Preparatory School, Mount Lavinia, and the Royal College, Colombo two prestigious local schools and Mill Hill School, England and thereafter London School of Economics (LSE) of the University of London graduating with a BSc in Economics, Politics and International Relations. (I am not sure if he was graduated from those two institutions though. Some speculate he did not.) Thereafter, he attended the University of Maryland, Washington, USA to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Management. (People have the same doubt for this also. I think Sajith himself has to come up with the truth. In the past, former president Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga also was questioned about her true educational qualifications.)  Anyway, if those two claims are true, Sajith has the edge over his opponent academically. But I don’t understand as to why his camp doesn’t answer the allegations, especially from his own party strongman Mr Ravi Karunanayake, that Sajith hasn’t passed GCE Ordinary Level (OL.) I don’t understand the meaning of this harsh allegation against Sajith. He was studying in England during that age group and we know well there are equivalent or even higher exams than just local OL. The nomenclature of exams changes from country to country and in some countries there are no national exams like in Sri Lanka, but there are grades given on a student’s track record like SAT, etc. With the educational qualifications Sajith possesses, it is absurd that he or his campaign doesn’t capitalize on those. Like his opponent, Sajith’s academic track record as a schoolboy is not known but he is a decent, yet amateur singer and a musician who can play guitar, piano, and drums to my knowledge. I think these talents must have come from his father who also was a half-baked artist himself.

2 thoughts on “Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part III – EDUCATION

  1. Pingback: Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part II | Nanda Wanninayaka

  2. Pingback: Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part IV – ELECTION CAMPAIGN | Nanda Wanninayaka

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