On 14 January, 2010 an affiliation agreement between the South Asian Academy for Good Governance (SAAGG) and GULL was formally approved in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Our shared vision is to provide universal access to recognized, community-based learning for all Sri Lankans and in so doing, to provide on-going development pathways at professional Bachelor, Master and Doctor levels. This case study opens with a perspective on the need for an alternative, practical and professional system of qualifications and recognition and video material from the inaugural SAAGG-GULL graduation event held in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
Header photo by: Dragoad58
1. SAAGG-GULL, Jan 10
Community development in Sri Lanka
Commenting on the role of the South Asian Academy for Good Governance (SAAGG), Dr Chandrarathne Bandara, SAAGG's Executive Director, observes that: "In a Sri Lankan context it is only a dream to think of a degree without an uninterrupted formal education. On the other hand, we can see governance in relation to all sectors has become weakened and the majority of the people are suffering in the vicious circle of bribery, corruption, war, violence, poverty, ill-health and ignorance. In theses circumstances, there is a responsibility on the part of all civic minded people to work for a world where democracy will flourish with good governance, transparency, accountability, social responsibility, human rights and rule of law. With this in mind, the South Asian Academy of Good Governance was established in Sri Lanka and is based in its ancient capital, Anuradhapura. SAAG promotes these goals at all levels through proficiency proved professional awards and other titles after training, counselling, guidance, examination, investigation, monitoring and evaluation."
January, 2010: Chandrarathne Bandara (right) receives for SAAGG-GULL, written endorsement from the Sri Lankan Government enabling SAAGG-GULL to award GULL’s full suite of professional certificates, diplomas and degrees in Sri Lanka. The endorsements include a letter of support from the Minister of Education, Sri Lanka. Since then, Dr Bandara and his team have worked hard to secure additional endorsements in support of SAAGG-GULL’s work in Sri Lanka. In addition to the Minister of Education, National Government, the affiliation and its work is now endorsed by:
- Hon. Karunarathne Diwulgane, Governor, North Central Province
- Hon. Berty Premalal Dissanayake, Chief Minister, North Central Provincial Council;
- Hon. Lanka Kithsiri Caldera, Mayor, Anuradhapura Municipal Council
- Mr A Thalakotunage, Chief Secretary, North Central Province
- Mr H M K Herath, Govt. Agent/District Secretary, Anuradhapura
2. SAAGG-GULL inaugural graduation, Aug 10
SAAGG-GULL’s launch event and first joint annual award ceremony was held on 24 August, 2010 at Youwn Nikethanaya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s ancient capital. The event also incorporated Samadeepa Samaja Kendraya (community organization) on its 30th anniversary and the Peoples’ Assembly or Sri Lanka on its 10th anniversary. The event was attended by 750 people and the Chief Guest was Mr Dharmasena Dissanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration. A further 40 people participated in the Media Conference at the Nipon Hotel, Colombo on 25 August and ITN featured the event on national television, focusing attention on SAAGG-GULL’s vision for universal access to lifelong learning in Sri Lanka.
(Right) The inaugural SAAG-GULL event was attended by 750 people and the Chief Guest was Mr Dharmasena Dissanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration. A further 40 people participated in the Media Conference at the Nipon Hotel, Colombo on 25 August and ITN featured the event on national television, focusing attention on SAAGG-GULL’s vision for universal access to lifelong learning in Sri Lanka.
3. SAAGG-GULL second graduation, May 11
The Annual SAAGG-GULL award ceremony - held in conjunction with the community development organization Samadeepa Samaja Kendraya and the Peoples’ Assembly of Sri Lanka - was attended by more than 750 people representing the business community, public service and civil society. Delegates from Northern, North Central, Central, Western and Sabaragamuwa attended the event, together with the Sri Lankan Government Minister for National Languages and Social Integration.
Endorsing SAAGG-GULL’s action learning approach
Guest of Honour Dr Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister, National Languages & Social Integration comments: ‘I believe that lifelong learning can make a tremendous contribution to our society. Action learning works beyond the limitations and restrictions of the formal education system. Any person - rich or poor - male or female - young or old, whether Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim - well educated or not, can begin an action learning pathway to improve their life circumstances via the SAAGG-GULL system and attain an internationally recognized qualification: professional bachelor, master or doctor degree.’
Messages of support for the 2nd annual award ceremony
Message of support from the Hon. S. B. Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education: ‘The progress achieved by SAAGG in identifying alternative approaches and mechanisms to impart knowledge with the help of dedicated and hard working people is commendable and I am sure it provides many benefits to Sri Lankan society. It is also timely that the Global University for Lifelong Learning has affiliated with and is supporting SAAGG to further strengthen its activities. I should like to extend my special thanks to Dr Richard Teare, Co-Founder & President of GULL for supporting this important initiative.’
Message of support from the Hon. Berty Premalal Dissanayake, Chief Minister, North Central Provincial Council: ‘Samadeepa Samaja Kendraya and SAAGG are engaged in a great social mission and I extend my best wishes for the success of the second annual award ceremony planned for 24 May 2011 in conjunction with GULL.’
4. Lighting the Lights of Wisdom [Theme], November 2015
Participants from all nine provinces of Sri Lanka gathered in the capital Colombo on 28 November for the 35th anniversary of the community agency Samadeepa Samaja Kendraya, the 15th Session of the Peoples’ Assembly of Sri Lanka and for the award of honorary titles (Ambassador for Justice) by Samadeepa, Proficiency proved honorary titles by the South Asian Academy for Good Governance (SAAGG) and for the 6th GULL graduation. Inclusion is a key feature of this annual event and the ceremony opened with a procession featuring traditional music and dancing followed by prayers led by representatives of Sri Lanka’s main faith groups. The significance of the event merited coverage on the main evening news, national television.
The South Asian Academy for Good Governance (SAAGG) has secured broad-ranging endorsement for its work with GULL. Among others, the Minister of Education sent a message of support and congratulations. Steady progress during the past six years is reflected in the growing number of participants and by the maturity of the SAAGG pathways based on action learning, proficiency-proved service and commitment to good governance. SAAGG has recently developed a profile of its work with GULL in the form of ‘50 Facts’ about action learning. In the coming year, SAAGG intends to enhance its framework to enable participants to quantify the return on investment arising from their GULL award.
How can my organization get involved?
Thank you for reading this case study. Do please think about what you can offer and how you might inspire others in your organization to get involved. Together, we can bring hope and opportunity to the many people around the world who do not have access to lifelong learning. GULL works with organizations that share our vision for universal access to learning in the workplace and in the community. If you would like to affiliate with GULL's network movement, please review the 'Affiliation' section at the GULL website - www.gullonline.org. There are no membership fees or other barriers to participation - we'd like to work with you to harness all the skills and abilities that your organization can offer in order to help others to learn, grow and develop. Please note though that GULL does not have the resources to support individual learners and it is for this reason we can only correspond with organizations via their nominated representative(s).
GULL is a not-for-profit foundation registered in California, USA. GULL is recognized by the Government of Papua New Guinea & endorsed by other Governments, Leaders & Institutions.