Dr. Raj Ariyaratnam’s visit to the College
20th February 2017
The staff and children stood up as the Principal entered Peto Hall to address the assembly on 20.02.2017. Following him was a grey-haired, stout gentleman, later introduced as Dr Raj Ariyaratnam – not known to many youngsters present at the assembly but a very well-known and respected person in the international arena especially in the United Kingdom.
Kulliks,’ recollected his school days and shared the story of how he got his nickname, which hung to him for the rest of his life. He talked about the challenges that he faced and how he managed to overcome all odds. His speech was very motivational and well-received by everyone present– apparent from the loud applause that followed his speech.
Dr. Raj was in his 60’s. As was customary at St. John’s to celebrate the birthdays of old boys who turn 50, 60, 70 and over 70, he was cordially invited by the Principal, the Rev. N.J.Gnanaponrajah to receive the medal.
Next, he was shown the newly introduced NVQ (National Vocational Qualifications) classes at St. John’s Academy and School of Technology. He appreciated the step St. John’s had taken to give the O/L and A/L dropouts a second chance and suggested including some modules from Business Management to the NVQ curriculum to prepare the NVQ students for self-employment. He also stressed on the need to have a separate website detailing the courses available for school leavers to target a wider population.
‘I am and have been on many interview panels. Three of my favourite questions are: What are you going to do? Why do you want to do it? What are the individual impacts and the social impacts of what you wish to do? These questions should be readily answered - every student should be clear in his focus,’ said Dr Ariyaratnam.
In the evening, this eminent personality expressed his wish to visit the hostels where he did some interesting motivational programs with the boarders. As an old boy of the school, he wished to give back something to the school – and as an old boarder, he decided that what the boarders, especially the freshers needed was a good boost to the morale!
Short Biography of Dr Raj Ariyaratnam (BDS, MDS (MAN), FDSRCS (ENG)
Mas. Raj Ariyaratnam entered the gates of St. John’s in 1966 and gained admission to the Medical Faculty of the University of Peradeniya in 1973. After graduating as a Dental Surgeon from the University of Peradeniya in 1977 he migrated to the U.K in 1985. While in the U.K, he passed the GDC (Statutory) Examinations in 1988, completed his Master of Dental Surgery Degree at the Manchester University in 1992, completed the Royal College of Surgeons Examinations in 1994. He was awarded the titles, ‘Specialist in Surgical Dentistry’ by GDC in 1999, ‘Specialist in Oral Medicine’ by GDC in 2002 and ‘Specialist in Oral surgery’ by GDC in 2008.
Dr Raj Ariyaratnam gradually climbed up the ladder of success and is now a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the University of Manchester and a Consultant and Clinical Lecturer in Oral Medicine at the University of Birmingham. He is also a Specialist in Oral Medicine and Oral Surgery - Lead for Global Oral Health Initiatives (GOHI). He is an academic lead for the undergraduates’ Oral Medicine Teaching Programme and as such plays an important role in curriculum setting, course coordination, clinic arrangement and assessment exercises. He can be called an international teacher for he has lectured in the University of Peradeniya, Teaching Hospital Jaffna, CPD Dental Group Jaffna, Sri Lanka and Manchester GOLF (Global Online Learning Forum) - setting up a global online teaching and learning programme.
This international teacher is also an Internal Examiner for final BDS, M.Phil and MSc; Examiner for Royal College of Surgeons, England - MDSRCS, MJDFRCS and LDSRCS examinations; Examiner for General Dental Council, England - Statutory and ORE examinations
This very distinguished old boy of St. John’s College is a member of several committees and professional bodies such as GDC (General Dental Council), BSOM (British Society of Oral Medicine), Board of Examiners - Royal College of England, NOMSG (Northern Oral Medicine Study Group), MMS (Manchester Medical Society), FDSRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England), MPS (Medical Protection Society - England), MIOT (Medical Institute of Tamils - UK and International), NTA (Northern Tamil Association), CMFT Abroad, MAHSC (Manchester Academic Health Science Centre), Undergraduate Programme Committee (UPC), Assessment and Examination Group (AEG), E-Learning Group and CPD GROUP - JAFFNA, Sri Lanka to name a few.
Dr. Ariaratnam founded the Lead - Dental CPD programme in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. By updating the knowledge and skills for the dentists, he hopes to improve the quality of care for the patients. He also founded the DentMan Global Oral Health Forum (GOHF) – a platform to share volunteering experiences of students and staff to inspire future volunteers.
Dr. Ariaratnam, a humanitarian, conducted Primary Health Care seminars and Specialist Clinics in Sri Lanka during the Post-Tsunami period and screened children for Oral Diseases at Primary Schools and Charity Homes in Sri Lanka. Credit for empowering patients by introducing Patient-Held Dental Health Record Initiative at a Primary School and Charity Homes in Sri Lanka is due to him.
One can speak volumes of what he has done and continues to do. The Editor, however wishes to stick to the title, ‘Short Biography.’