Columnists,Sujata Gamage

Free tabs for A/L students: Limits and opportunities

Views - 214 Tuesday, 10 July 2018 00:27

‘Tabs for A/L students’ and ’13 years of education for all’ are two promises from the 2015 election manifesto of the UNP. Both are game-changer promises, but a promise in a manifesto is only a starting point. Bureaucrats have to expand the id


The evolving shape and form of the presidency in Sri Lanka

Views - 120 Tuesday, 15 May 2018 00:00

Even the strongest critics of the 1978 Constitution will have to agree that it is a well-constructed piece of legislation with an architecture which is internally consistent. While a Constitution ensures the citizens their rights, the right of repres


Learn from local elections to get on with the provincial elections

Views - 111 Friday, 27 April 2018 00:00

As Churchill had said, democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried


Liberal democracy as a sellable brand: The challenge for the UNP

Views - 198 Friday, 6 April 2018 00:10

With the No-Confidence motion behind it, the United National Party (UNP) is promising deep reforms in the party. Unless the party


Asbestos, glyphosate and polythene bans: Cases of lazy and irresponsible policymaking

Views - 310 Friday, 30 March 2018 00:05

The President retracted the ban of asbestos in the face of Russian pressures. The glyphosate ban is now under review


A framework for a Cabinet reshuffle – if the Government is serious about it

Views - 376 Friday, 2 March 2018 00:00

On 16 September 2015, still under the euphoria of a new government and new possibilities, I wrote an article titled ‘The real issue is not the size of the Cabinet but its performance’.


Liberal democracy is dead. Long live liberal democracy.

Views - 264 Tuesday, 20 February 2018 00:00

Liberal democracy as propounded and practiced by the UNP is dead. Beating up the statistics of the recent local election will not bring it back, but the UNP still remains the best vehicle for reviving liberal democratic ideals. Pohottuwa or the Sri L


Enough piecemeal solutions: A coherent HR policy for the health sector is needed

Views - 109 Friday, 2 February 2018 00:00

The anti-SAITM movement was never about SAITM. It was essentially a coming together of statist protectionist segments in society together with the extreme left to stop private higher education of any form.


Problem is not us women and booze: It’s paternalism and capriciousness in policymaking

Views - 377 Friday, 19 January 2018 00:00

The other day the President of Sri Lanka went public expressing his intention to revoke a ministerial order revoking the notion that a woman of any age has no more maturity than a youth less than eighteen years old.


Local elections: The process, results and the future

Views - 1898 Friday, 5 January 2018 00:00

The local elections are scheduled to take place on 10 February, after a long period of anticipation. As a country


Quotas with ‘zipping’ for women in local government

Views - 1279 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 - 1454 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 - 1566 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 - 1906 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 - 2130 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 - 1970 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 - 2975 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 - 2248 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 - 2355 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 - 2492 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 - 5099 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 - 2589 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 - 2706 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 - 3784 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 - 4031 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 - 2983 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 - 3184 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 - 3140 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 - 3145 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 - 3222 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


Today's Columnists

Identifying traitors: I cannot wait until Dr. Padeniya presents his point scheme

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Cause for excitement I am excited! A way of identifying and measuring a traitor is soon to be unveiled; by no less than the President of the GMOA! Hasn’t he also qualified in some department of neurology? All the more reason to justify my excitemen


The evils of translocating wild elephants

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The subject of translocating wild elephants has been a much-debated topic recently, after the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC), acting on the orders of the Minster for Wildlife, wanted to move the only two wild elephants habituating the Sin


Singapore miracle – How SL could benefit from trade with Singapore

Monday, 20 August 2018

According to a media report released by President’s Media Division, a committee of experts has been appointed by the President to examine and report on ‘the practical impact and use of the proposed officer policy guidelines and recommendations on


High NPAs in SME sector: Who is responsible?

Monday, 20 August 2018

Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of the banking sector have been increasing in the recent past. Gross NPA ratio reached about 3.3% as at end of May2018 recording an increase of about 0.8% over the past five months.


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