Why promote innovation in schools?

Published : 12:00 am  January 28, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  3 Comments  |  351 views  |  
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One significant aspect of our education system is its bias towards theoretical studies rather than practical application. This has been exacerbated by the fact that the two main public examinations of the school system have become selection examinations rather than qualifying examinations. The consequence of this is that the prevalence of the tuition culture, which has reached epidemic proportions affecting the creativity of student and the sensitivity of the environment. Promoting innovations becomes important in this context. In Sri Lanka, as far back as in 2006, the Ministry of Education has issued a circular directing all class A, B and B1 schools to establish young inventors clubs with... 

A robust regulator

Published : 1:21 am  January 27, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  524 views  |  
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A fundamental ingredient in a sustainable market economy I was pleased to learn that regulatory authorities such as the Central Bank, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Utilities Commission will come under the purview of the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Ministry of Policy Development and Economic Affairs. I am hopeful of course that the Ministry of Finance will work in close consultation and cooperation with the Ministry of Policy Development and Economic Affairs, which is under the office of the Prime Minister. I am also hopeful that given that the Prime Minister has many decades of history of not interfering with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and... 

Sri Lanka must beat Estonia

Published : 12:01 am  January 27, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Rohantha Athukorala  |  Leave a Comment  |  524 views  |  
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Since 8 January we have seen how Sri Lanka has unleashed a new attitude to the world. My mind went to the words of nation brand building expert Simon Anholt, who said: “If a country doesn’t like its image – and most countries don’t – then the only way to change that image is through the things the country does, not by the things it says.” Let me take a real-life example of a country which has earned a positive reputation.                         Estonia The Baltic States lie in the north-eastern region of Europe containing the countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. Estonia is... 

Solar and wind, the way to go

Published : 12:01 am  January 27, 2015  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  541 views  |  
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Alternative energy choices Sri Lanka has few natural mineral resources in abundance, but two resources which are available in abundance and virtually free of charge are wind and solar energy. Our nation has got an opportunity to go for a win-win situation by reviewing our energy policy and going hard for pollution free solar and wind, unlike the fossil fuel options. All these so called mafias or lobbies for coal, for diesel, for hydro, and whatever else, should be summarily ignored and a policy should be put in place to give priority on an emergency footing to tap the full potential of mobilising power from solar and wind. There are a number of viable projects in operation already and the experience... 

Can power bring one peace and happiness?

Published : 12:01 am  January 27, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  218 views  |  
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Lord Buddha said, ‘Peace comes within and it cannot come from an outside object’. To what extent are we Buddhists analytical on this little phrase? However, there are many, especially politicians and bureaucrats, who go after happiness through gaining power. Can power or even wealth or publicity bring them lasting peace and happiness? The answer is obviously no and we see this in the day-to-day life of individuals and groups because everything is subject to change, which is the only truth in life. Kalama Sutta Sri Lanka is probably a country where most number of sermons or discourses being preached. However, Lord Buddha emphasised in the Kalama Sutra not to believe in anything. The Kalama... 

CR sink in the final minute

Published : 12:00 am  January 27, 2015  |  Category: Arthur Fernandez, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  251 views  |  
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Without doubt the CR/Havies game was expected to be the showpiece of the weekend. As far as one can recall, the game has traditionally been played on a Saturday, permitting the social activities to follow after the game. However, over the last few years the game has failed to draw the anticipated crowds and this year was no exception and the quality of rugby on display together with the refereeing is best forgotten. As in the first round encounter, the CR/Havies clash appears to bring out the best of CR and they appeared to be in with a firm game plan, which they executed well for most parts. They were quick and decisive in their decision making process and the two tries that they scored was... 

Need for better marketing strategies for Sri Lankan tourism

Published : 12:00 am  January 26, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  479 views  |  
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Case of Sigiriya Sigiriya can be considered as the eighth ‘Wonder of the World’. It is also an icon of Sri Lankan tourism. From 2009 Sri Lanka has been enjoying the dividends of peace. According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka had met its tourist arrival target of 1.5 million for the year 2014. Sigiriya is one of the prominent attractions in Sri Lanka, but at the moment there is no specific website for Sigiriya. There is a need for a novel and innovative website concentrated on Sigiriya   As per the SLTDA figures, Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 16.1% in December last year compared to the same period in 2013 with the arrival of 178,672 tourists... 

Promises, perceptions and performance

Published : 12:00 am  January 26, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  361 views  |  
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“A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen” – Winston Churchill     Voters casting their ballot for change during the recent presidential election     Revolutions and transformative movements carry the risk of failure. Such movements are sustained by trust and reciprocity between leaders and masses. Agreed norms and the depth of civic engagement propel such initiatives forward. What occurred on 8 January has its risks of failure. We cannot dictate the direction of the wind but we can adjust our sails to reach our agreed destination.... 

Listing Central Bank under PM: Unworkable legally and operationally but a step toward bank’s independence

Published : 12:00 am  January 26, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, W. A. Wijewardena  |  5 Comments  |  6,516 views  |  
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The Central Bank under the Prime Minister The gazette notification issued by President Maithripala Sirisena allocating subjects and institutions among different ministries has placed the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the Ministry of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (http://www.ft.lk). This is a departure from the previous practice of listing the Central Bank under the Ministry of Finance.     Confused markets speculate on the reasons The market has not been able to comprehend the reason behind this unprecedented move. Some websites had attributed it to a conflict of interest which the current Minister... 

Restructuring the presidency

Published : 12:00 am  January 26, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  631 views  |  
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There are at least two fundamental challenges facing the new Sri Lankan Government and both are of long standing. One is the North-South question, which is my shorthand for what is variously called the Tamil National Question or the ethnic problem. The other is the South-South Question. While this latter naturally embraces the party political competition, which is now intra-party as well as an inter-party issue, that is not the hub of the problem. The crux of the South-South problem today is that of forms of government: Presidential or parliamentary. The North-South and South-South problems intersect and interact because they combine into problems not merely of forms of government, but forms... 

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