Mrs. Padmini Ranaweera joined the National Education Commission in 2020 as the Vice Chairperson (Policy). She has a long history of service in the field of general education in Sri Lanka, serving in diverse capacities. She began her career as a secondary school teacher and later joined the National Institute of Education as a curriculum developer. Her active contributions to enhancing science education at the primary school level, promoting child-centered learning approaches to teach environmental-related activities, and national curriculum development on health and nutrition are notable.
Mrs. Ranaweera also served as an education specialist at UNICEF – Sri Lanka, working closely with the state sector to develop education in war-affected, natural disaster-affected, and rural schools serving the most vulnerable groups in the country. She pioneered the UNICEF-supported Child Friendly school initiative, which has established itself as an innovative school improvement program in developing countries. Additionally, she managed donor funding for infrastructure development, human resource development, and resource allocation during critical times in the country.
After retiring from UNICEF, she was appointed as the National Coordinator for Primary School Development in a special unit at the Presidential Secretariat. Among other contributions, she has served as a consultant in the Ministry of Environment to promote climate change education in schools. Mrs. Ranaweera is a member of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, the Nutrition Society Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lanka Association for Evaluation, and also serves as a council member of the University of Colombo.
She holds a B.Sc. (Bio Science) degree from the University of Peradeniya, a B.Ed. Natural Science from the Open University of Sri Lanka, and a Master of Science in Food and Nutrition from the University of Kelaniya. Some of the foreign training she has received includes training on curriculum development from the National Council on Education, Research, and Training (NCERT) India, contextualization of primary education from the University of Reading, UK, Child Friendly school from the UNESCO office Bangkok, Thailand, and Post-conflict Education from the UNESCO office Paris. She has also received multiple trainings on planning and monitoring and girls’ education from UNICEF regional office, Kathmandu.