Having been established in 1985, Wycherley International School (WIS) is one of the pioneer schools in Sri Lanka to bring International Education to our education system. Stepping in to its 36th year in the Education Industry, Wycherley welcomes a new Principal – Mr. Dayan D. L. Fernando.
Mr. Fernando has extensive experience in heading educational institutions entailing, communicating impactfully with diverse layers of people encompassing staff, students, parents, authorities, while exerting direction and overseeing all aspects of the institution’s functions. Previously holding the position of Warden in Lyceum International School, Nugegoda, Mr. Fernando has gained the love and affection of the children he has guided so far.
The Education Times team, had the opportunity to have a candid chat with the new Principal of Wycherley, just after he took over the school a few weeks ago on 1stJuly 2021.
What made you take up teaching and guiding children?
If I am to go back to my schooling days, I was the youngest of four boys and schooled in S.Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia. I was involved in almost all the extra-curricular activities in the school, and the highlight being appointed the Head Prefect and being awarded Victoria Gold Medal. (this is the highest award a student is given during their schooling at S.Thomas’).
When I was leaving school, the Warden then invited me to join the staff, and then for one and half years I was teaching at S.Thomas’. While doing my teaching I started my higher education and then moved in to the corporate sector. Nevertheless, I kept teaching different Professional education courses.
After 10 years in the corporate sector, I had to move to Australia and when I did, circumstances were such that I was given the opportunity to be in the Education sector full time. Up until that point my teaching career was limited to part time and on voluntary basis.
In 2015 when I came back to Sri Lanka, I realized that my passion lay in teaching and guiding children. As Whitney Houston says it best “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way”
Any noteworthy incidents in your career, that made you content about the field you’ve chosen?
There are many! But in general, the best feeling is when, you advice kids during school and then you meet them after a couple of years, they’ve changed but they remember what you’ve told them years back, and how it has impacted them to build their life. There have been instances where parents were helpless, not knowing how best to guide them in certain instances. When I’m invited to lend a hand, resolve issues and then see how the child blossoms better than before, it makes me happy with the career and the life I’ve chosen. This satisfaction is immeasurable; it makes me want to come to work every day.
See, in the corporate sector, you have a rough idea as to what needs to be done the next day. Meetings are planned out, and the work is cut out for you. It’s different in the Education sector, when being a teacher, mentor or Principal. There are so many curve balls within the day, and battling these challenges and resolving them gives me great pleasure, because the fruit of the hard work is nothing compared to the benefits or the experience I’ve had in the corporate sector.
Tell us about joining Wycherley?
Well, Wycherley International School has been the Pioneer International School in Sri Lanka spearheading with the world recognized Cambridge Curriculum. This in turn gives me the opportunity to give my students a global approach to education keeping in line with traditional social values that is truly Sri Lankan.
The school has always strived to be in the forefront of Academics by keeping in line with global standards and up to date curricula. I’m excited to play a key role in taking forward the overall educational levels at Wycherley, by taking on from the Exceptional effort put in over the years, by Mr. Kingsley Jayasinghe, the former Principal of the school and the Academic Staff to bring the school to what it is today!
Wycherley’s consistent efforts in producing exceptional Academic results with its well-established brand identity within the community, inspired me to join this institute of prestige. Wycherley is built on strong heritage and traditional values that I truly admire. I’m keen on taking up new challenges and working together to mould the next generation especially during this challenging time.
Any new plans for Wycherley?
Yes, the Board of Directors of Wycherley have set up a strategic vision and the school is moving towards this.
Firstly, keeping up with the Cambridge curriculum in all subjects and continuously improving to make the school the premium Cambridge education provider in the country.
Next, we hope to Digitalize the school and install new technology to classrooms so that the teachers would be able to continue with new teaching methods which was brought in during the past year with the Covid-19 outbreak.
Finally, the School has plans in moving forward with the new building project that will bring in up-to-date infrastructure facilities for all the students in the Bauddhaloka Mawatha premises, and we are excited towards this new project.
Talking about the pandemic, how has this affected Wycherley?
It’s unfortunate that the kids are not able to come in as usual, have their play time and interact with others. Globally, kids have been affected by the pandemic and our kids are no exception. They have lost almost two Academic Years of physical school.
Right now, our kids have come to the end of their Academic Year and we are scheduled to commence on the 24th of August. When we resume school again, with the given regulations we are hoping to introduce activities that kids can do as interactive sessions online. Whenever possible, we hope to bring the children in batches so that they are given the opportunity to have human interaction with their peers and teachers. I thoroughly believe that nothing beats face to face interactions.
But taking into consideration the current effects of the Pandemic we have managed to adapt teaching via online in order to keep the kids engaged and have made sure no child is left out.
How are the exams being conducted?
Our students completed the Cambridge O/Level and A/Level exams in May/June, are now awaiting results which are due in August 2021. We are proud to claim that with the continuous online assessments that the school conducted throughout the Academic Year, helped the students to complete their exams without a delay. We are indeed one of the few schools in Sri Lanka where students did not have to face a situation where their exams had to be postponed due to the Covid – 19. I must mention that this is an advantage for students following the world recognized Cambridge curriculum at Wycherley.
Apart from this, the year end evaluations were carried out systematically through online platforms for all other students so that the teachers can gauge the knowledge the kids have acquired during the academic year.
“I am eagerly waiting to meet the Wycherley students and their parents. There’s nothing like hearing the noise of children being naughty and laughing away.”
After the questions and answer session we had with Mr. Fernando, we asked him what he’d like to tell the Students, Parents and Parents to be, to which he beamed and obliged.
Mr. Fernando noted that he firmly believes that academics train the brain while extra-curricular activities train the heart and for kids to be wholesomely functional both the heart and the brain needs to be in sync. His goal is to bring up street smart kids, with the ability to face the future and the challenges it holds.
He noted that children should be allowed to go to school, grow up in a structure where they meet challenges head on, where they receive moral support and education with the right amount of extra-curricular and human interaction.
Finally, Mr. Fernando especially wanted to tell the children to maintain a diary/journal. “Having a diary and writing down the things you encounter daily, especially during these times will be interesting to read when you grow up, and also help in coping up with emotions. These are stories that you can narrate to your kids and grandkids. You can say that you survived a pandemic!”