Demise of Emeritus Professor Swarna Jayaweera
It is with profound sadness that we announce the demise of Emeritus Professor Swarna Jayaweera, who was an educationist par excellance, promotor of women’s rights, researcher and mentor who achieved distinction in many fields. Professor Jayaweera enrolled for the external degree at the University of London while teaching in her old school and graduated with hours in History. Subsequently, she obtained the MA and later the Ph.D ( Education) from the Institute of Education, University of London, UK. She was awarded the Khan Gold Medal for the best student in the Post Graduate Diploma in Education examination of the University of Ceylon. She received the Hon. D. Lit from the Open University , Sri Lanka in 1996 and four years later from the University of Colombo. Professor Jayaweera joined the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya Campus , Department of Education as an Assistant Lecturer in 1958 and rose to be the Professor of Education of the University of Colombo and the first Head of Department of Social Science Education when the Faculty of Education was established in 1975. She was awarded Emeritus Professorship in 1995. By the University of Colombo.
Professor Jayaweera has continued to participate in professional activities through membership in professional agencies and serving in national level policy bodies such as the National Education Commission, National Institute of Education, National Science and Technology Council, Council of the Open University, Standing Committee on Education of the University Grants Commission, National Education Research and Evaluation Centre (NEREC) of the Faculty of Education, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS), Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Education(SLAAED) among many others. Professor Jayaweera was also the joint coordinator of Centre for Women’s Research (CENWOR) since its inception in 1985. She worked tirelessly to make CENWOR what it is today, recognized as an independent research organization both in Sri Lanka and Internationally. Professor Jayaweera has published and written extensively. It is fitting that in 2014 Centre for Women’s Research CENWOR together with Sri Lanka Association for Advancement of Education (SLAAED) published a felicitation volume containing 25 representative selection of her work in the two main fields she excelled – Education and gender issues and women’s empowerment.
As mentioned in this volume “Professor Jayaweera was simple, unassuming, completely devoid of hierarchy, without pretense and always approachable” Her simplicity in life was also exemplified in death. She died on the 05th of January 2020 and according to her wishes a simple private funeral was held in the presence of few close friends. Thus thousands who have benefited from her lost the opportunity to pay tribute to this outstanding woman. However, her outstanding contribution to Education and Women empowerment will continue to inspire generations to come.
May she attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana!