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Prof. E.O.E. Pereira Memorial Lecture 2019

Prof. E.O.E. Pereira Memorial Lecture 2019

The IESL commemorated the 112th birth anniversary of Late Prof. E O E Pereira, considered as the Father of Engineering Education in Sri Lanka, on 16th September 2019 with a memorial lecture on “Cost Estimation is an Educated Guess” delivered by Eng.P H Sarath Gamini.

The lecture was preceded by the lighting of the traditional Oil Lamp and garlanding of the portrait of the late professor by Eng. (Prof.) T M Pallewatta, President of IESL. Family members of the late professor were also present at the event which was attended by Past Presidents and members of the IESL.

Brief Introduction

Prof. E.O.E Pereira was born on September 13, 1907 and received his education at the Royal College, Colombo, where he excelled in both academics and sports. He won the De Soysa Science Prize, the Mohamed Ali Arithmetic Prize, Evams Prize for Mathematics.

In 1928, he entered the University College Colombo and graduated with a first class honours degree from the University of London, gaining first place in the faculty of Science and winning the engineering scholarship. The scholarship enabled him to enter Downing College, Cambridge, where he gained the distinction of being the only graduate to finish the 3 year degree in two years. From the University of Cambridge, he graduated with first class honours in Mechanical Sciences Tripos in 1931.

He served in the Department of Public Works for 15 years before joining the teaching staff of the University of Ceylon in 1946. Considered as the father of modern engineering education in the country Prof. E.O.E Pereira was responsible for putting in place the foundations on which higher education in engineering in Sri Lanka is built up on today.

Called upon to provide leadership when the country decided to educate its engineers in its own soil he had to literally start from scratch in establishing the first Faculty of Engineering in the country, at first in temporary settings starting at the Ceylon Technical College at Maradana, and then in a shed at Thurstan Road premises of the now University of Colombo before it found permanent accommodation at Peradeniya at the now Faculty of Engineering premises of the University of Peradeniya.

The fact that the University of London, decided to withdraw its external BSc Engineering Degree being conducted up to that time at the Ceylon Technical College made the task entrusted to him all the more daunting.

Not only did he have to hurriedly scramble the necessary academic staff but also attend to the acquiring of the most appropriate equipment for the laboratory that was being built at the new faculty while also overcoming the administrative hurdles thrown across his path.

That he achieved his goals successfully and reigned as the Dean of the Engineering Faculty for two decades before he was given the Vice Chancellorship of that university as a crowning glory speaks volumes of his greatness. The title Vidya Jyothi was conferred on him in 1986 in due recognition of his services to the nation.

Engineering education today has many challenges. It has to foster the right type of skills, attitudes and behavior that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth, while preserving the environment. It has to keep up with rapid changes in technology in an era where artificial intelligence is taking over run-of-the-mill decision making processes and operations replacing humans.


Published Date: 2019-10-21 14:20:51