Embracing Excellence: Honouring the Educational Legacy of Mr. R.I.T. Alles - ‘My Life’ Distribution Ceremony

Tuesday, 5th of December 2023

On the 16th of November 2023, within the grand halls of the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH Main Hall), a significant tribute unfolded—a commemorative distribution ceremony honouring the late Mr. R.I.T. Alles, marking the solemn occasion of the 10th anniversary since his passing. This prestigious event, orchestrated by the Alles family, spearheaded by Mr. Tiran Alles (Minister of Public Security) and Dr. Harsha Alles (Chairman of the Gateway Group), witnessed the distribution of Mr. Alles’ autobiography, ‘My Life,’ to a gathering of 1000 principals representing state schools across the nation. The ceremony stood as a testament to Mr. Alles’ monumental contributions to Sri Lanka’s educational landscape.

Among the esteemed guests gracing this occasion was His Excellency President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Hon. Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Hon. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, and the esteemed presence of the Hon. Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha. Mr. Alles, whose journey in education began as a teacher at Royal College, carved an indelible mark in Sri Lanka’s educational narrative as the visionary founder of D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo—an institution that stands tall among the country’s educational pillars. His legacy extended further as he pioneered Gateway College, thus holding the distinction of founding both a state and an international school.

A staunch advocate for Sri Lankan education, Mr. Alles, shaped by his education at St. Aloysius’ College, Galle, and St. Anthony’s College, Kandy, pursued his training at the esteemed Cambridge Institute of Education. Throughout his illustrious career, he adorned roles such as the Director of Studies at Zahira College, Colombo, and assumed the mantle of State Secretary of Education. The autobiography, ‘My Life,’ encapsulates Mr. Alles’ educational vision and practices, providing a compelling case study for aspiring principals.

Therefore, the distribution of its Sinhala and Tamil versions to 1000 Principals of state schools served as an homage to Mr. Alles’ enduring influence and a beacon of inspiration for the educational leaders of tomorrow. In alignment with Mr. Alles’ unwavering commitment to continuous professional development, a Workshop led by Dr. Chaminda Weerasiriwardena preceded the ceremony, enriching attending Principals with insightful perspectives and contemporary educational approaches. The event’s resonance was amplified through the active participation of students from the institutions Mr. Alles founded—an embodiment of his enduring impact on future generations.

The melodious tunes of the D.S. Senanayake College band resonated in the air, harmonizing with the devotional songs sung by students from Gateway Colleges Colombo and Dehiwala, representing the four major religions of Sri Lanka. Additionally, the traditional dance performed by students of Gateway College Kandy and the heartfelt tribute sung by the choir of Gateway College Negombo paid homage to the collective contribution of teachers across the nation. In essence, the ceremony stood not merely as a commemoration of Mr. Alles’ life but as a celebration of his unwavering dedication to fostering educational excellence in Sri Lanka—a legacy that continues to guide and inspire the nation’s educational landscape.