Columnists

Quotas with ‘zipping’ for women in local government

Views - 1181 Friday, 28 July 2017 00:08

The other day I met a woman who is a card-carrying member of a major political party. She is the president of the midwives association in her area. She exuded leadership. She has so much to share with her community about health, lifestyles and oth


Plastics ban is good in parts; room for corrections?

Views - 1357 Friday, 14 July 2017 00:00

On Tuesday Cabinet approved a proposal by the President as Minister for Environment on short-term, mid-term and long-term measures to curtail the use of polythene or the soft form of plastics familiar to the average citizen as shopping bags and lu


Electoral reforms: Lessons from Indonesia and South Africa

Views - 1514 Friday, 30 June 2017 00:10

  The Constitutional Assembly in the Parliament of Sri Lanka hosted Dikgang Moseneke, the former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa and an architect of the South African Constitution, to deliver a lecture on ‘Reaching


Disaster response needs an active National Council, not a dedicated Ministry

Views - 1871 Friday, 2 June 2017 00:08

Ministers may get photo ops but local action is what gets the jobs done – Pic by Shehan Gunasekara   Floodscaused by heavy monsoon rains have not receded yet. This flood happened in the wake of another major flo


Time for civil society to act on the solid waste disposal problem

Views - 2073 Friday, 19 May 2017 00:00

Sometimes there are events which compel you to take action. The tragedy of Meethotamulla is one such. In spite of all the available knowledge on solid waste management and all foreign sites visited and workshops attended by officials, a mountain o


Towards responsible environmentalism in solid waste management

Views - 1930 Friday, 5 May 2017 00:05

In an article published as early as 1992, Jim L. Bowyer, professor of forestry at the University of Wisconsin pleaded for responsible environmentalism. He described responsible environmentalism essentially as “paying attention to human needs


Meethotamulla: Assigning the blame correctly

Views - 2919 Friday, 21 April 2017 00:00

At a recent panel discussion on ITN television themed ‘Mountains of garbage’ where the writer was a panellist, S.M. Marikkar, MP for Colombo District, brought a file with copies of communications from him to authorities regarding the M


Representation for women need not be at the expense of a bloated local government

Views - 2179 Friday, 7 April 2017 00:00

The two major parties in Government have apparently agreed on constitutional reforms that do not require a referendum. With presidential powers already reduced to some extent and independent commissions now functioning more or less, electoral refo


Cavaliers, roundheads and the big match season

Views - 2311 Friday, 24 March 2017 09:48

Big match season lays bare the tribalism and sexism in our society     Big match season brings out the best in us and also the worst, I think. The camaraderie and the loyalty of the old boys and the enthu


Legislation is needed to restructure the gatekeepers of higher education

Views - 2457 Friday, 3 March 2017 00:00

Two prominent gatekeepers of higher education in Sri Lanka are the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). They have achieved this status due to an artificially created scarcity of credentials, or access to cre


Time is right to break the iron triangle of a medical monopoly

Views - 5047 Friday, 17 February 2017 00:00

A protest by State university students, calling on the Government to intervene and close SAITM. While there is a dire need for more doctors, we have thousands of able and willing youngsters who miss opportunity for a free-of-charge medical educati


RTI is good, but open data is better

Views - 2549 Thursday, 2 February 2017 00:08

The Sri Lanka Right to Information Act No. 12 of 2016 is to become effective in a few days. The act was gazetted on 4 August 2016, but embargoed for six months with an additional space of another six months allowed for all provisions of the Act to


Offline digital content critical for Government’s tabs initiative

Views - 2622 Tuesday, 27 December 2016 00:02

Sri Lanka’s Budget 2017 included an expenditure of Rs. 5 billion to “provide free tabs for almost 175,000 students who enter the Advanced Level (AL) classes and around 28,000 A/L teachers.” The evidence is overwhelmingly against


Local elections: New mixed-member method or old PR method?

Views - 3097 Friday, 9 December 2016 00:10

  I was looking forward to voting in local elections under a new mixed member system. Wearing my ratepayer hat, I was attracted to the idea of electing somebody who would be accountable to my ‘ward’ or my neighbourhood in


Can tabs do what PCs or bricks could not do for education?

Views - 3935 Wednesday, 16 November 2016 00:08

The education component of Budget 2017 has many positive features. Unspecified infrastructure expenditures from the previous budget have been removed. The new proposals, except for the free tabs proposal, are mostly well-targeted. The hig


Working with the second or third best option – in education and everything

Views - 2956 Wednesday, 2 November 2016 00:01

January 9th of 2015 dawned with much hope but with much baggage too, it turns out. As events since then show, moving forward will be a tough balancing act for the President and the Prime Minister. Sri Lanka achieved independence without bloodshed,


Selective schools vs. nonselective schools debate in UK and lessons for Sri Lanka

Views - 3125 Wednesday, 19 October 2016 00:02

  Children on their way to school. Selective and non-selective schools cannot coexist, unless we find some way of linking these schools and giving all families the hope that the Government is giving their children every chance to flou


Assuring representation for dispersed minorities in a new electoral system

Views - 3096 Wednesday, 5 October 2016 00:02

  In an ideal world, voters would vote for the best individual irrespective of ethnicity, but, with the country slowly emerging from the aftermath of a bitter ethnic war and continuing ethnic tensions, we cannot impose such egalitarian c


Megapolis plan requires a concerted school location plan

Views - 3116 Wednesday, 21 September 2016 00:03

The doctors have opened a can of worms with their demands for super popular schools. On close examination, the popular school concept as practiced violates the principle of free education, but the practice continues as if by silent conspiracy. Now


Manage the foreign consultants, don’t complain about them

Views - 3193 Wednesday, 7 September 2016 00:01

  The Sri Lanka Government is a trillion rupee company for which we perpetuate the myth that it is owned by the people Sri Lanka has enough talent when it comes to producing the variety of players needed to constitute an inter


Yahapalana record of the Government

Views - 2785 Wednesday, 24 August 2016 00:01

  Even today, after a historic defeat of an all-powerful President and removal of substantial powers of presidency and the establishment of independent commissions, the three wheels of good governance – the Government, the State


The socio-cultural dimension of the human capital question and technology solutions

Views - 2235 Wednesday, 17 August 2016 00:02

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Pic by Upul Abayasekera At the Human Capital Summit which was held last week, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his opening address perhaps gave the most rounded policy statement from the g


Public or Private: All medical students should pay-up?

Views - 3329 Wednesday, 3 August 2016 00:00

Lost in the for-or-against-SAITM debate is the ethicality of exchanging a medical degree obtained free-of-charge for higher remuneration in private practice locally or abroad, when the Government medical sector is in need of doctors in r


Let us say ‘Black July: Never again’ through the right electoral system

Views - 2367 Wednesday, 27 July 2016 00:00

    The challenge in constitutional reforms is to have the long-term goal of a Sri Lankan identity, while giving the space for identity politics in the short term and convincing the Sinhala majority the necessity for doing s


Mediocrity and ethnic rivalry: A toxic combination in University of Jaffna?

Views - 3080 Wednesday, 20 July 2016 00:00

  If we care about higher education in Sri Lanka, we need to maintain or reduce the State-funded opportunities, put more money into existing institutions and enforce accountability of faculty to educate themselves before they 


Cabinet portfolios after one year: Spotlight on education

Views - 2698 Wednesday, 13 July 2016 00:09

The Cabinet of the new Government elected on 8 August 2015 made nearly 700 decisions during the last 11 months, and 36 of these decisions concerned education or technological knowhow   On 9 September 2015, soon after


Education and social mobility: A broken link?

Views - 2819 Wednesday, 6 July 2016 00:10

   Free education may have served the purpose of politicians by keeping up a façade of equality, but it is time to take off our rose-tinted glasses and begin to look at the reality of education and social mobility in Sri L


Brexit success and the response of universities

Views - 2143 Wednesday, 29 June 2016 00:10

 W.A. Wijewardena in his Daily FT column on 27 June questions whether the UK Universities and the research sector is the biggest casualty in the aftermath of Brexit. Apart from the financial implications, if Brexit is a sign of a trend toward


Higher education in Asia: Making the most of private investments for public objectives

Views - 2488 Wednesday, 22 June 2016 00:01

    If the Government does the needed regulation, private investments in higher education can be directed towards the pubic objective of enriching human capital stock in a country. In Sri Lanka, Government is inactive, op


Electoral reforms should not be left to politicians

Views - 2061 Wednesday, 15 June 2016 00:00

Electoral reforms are back on the political agenda. By all accounts, the present proportional representation (PR) system is to be changed to a ‘mixed member’ proportional representation (MMPR) system where seats in the Parliament are a


Today's Columnists

Sustainable tourism – New profit for businesses

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

World Tourism Day has been celebrated since 1980 on 27 September, the day in which the Statutes of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) entered into force.


Do economic sanctions matter to Iran?

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Economic sanctions are not a new phenomenon to Iran. It has been 38 years since the Iranian revolution (1979) took place. Since then, the United States, European Union and some other countries have been imposing


It is an uphill task for the Govt. to attain the envisaged targets

Monday, 25 September 2017

In Part 1 of the article series on the Government’s Vision 2025 published last week, it was pointed out that the present vision document was just the fourth of such visions pronounced by the Government during the last two year period.


Women for tourism

Monday, 25 September 2017

Tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries. In many countries it acts as an engine for development through foreign exchange earnings and the creation of direct and indirect employment.


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