Columnists

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

Views - 2518 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 - 2074 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


Higher education in Asia and the Public-Private distinction

Views - 2913 Wednesday, 8 June 2016 00:10

    There are burning issues in higher education in Sri Lanka, but the notion that “state universities are good - others are bad” has been allowed to dominate the discourse in the mainstream without adequate c


Is a degree worth the cost?

Views - 2460 Wednesday, 25 May 2016 00:00

If a family can afford to pay, higher education is worth the cost. However, when tax revenues are spent or  students borrow to attend college, we as a society need to question whether a degree is worth the cost  


Men, women and the public space

Views - 2010 Wednesday, 11 May 2016 00:00

Earlier I wrote about men, women and their relationships. It was more about the personal space within our family units.  Women rule the personal space. As Upul Shantha Sannasgala, a keen observer of human nature, observed in the Lankadeepa


Non-workers on parade on workers day

Views - 1936 Thursday, 28 April 2016 00:00

Since the famous Haymarket riots in Chicago in 1884 that led to international recognition for a day dedicated to rights of workers, May Day has become an officially sanctioned day for protests    The 1 May celebr


Understanding our youth

Views - 2014 Wednesday, 20 April 2016 00:00

  Beginning this decade, Sri Lanka will experience a decreasing youth population and the dividend potential will decrease accordingly. The window is expected close in around 2037. A comprehensive human capital strategy for youth is neede


Avurudu: When we eat the same thing at the same time

Views - 2439 Wednesday, 13 April 2016 00:00

  This is one day when we can bridge many divides in our society and almost all of us eat the same thing at the same time   Today at 7:48 p.m., the sun crosses an imaginary line that separates the constellation Pi


Vocational-professional continuum: Antidote to the vocational-academic divide?

Views - 1857 Wednesday, 6 April 2016 00:00

The red and white barber poles in old barber shops in Europe and USA is a relic from the time when barbers also functioned as surgeons. The pole is apparently symbolic of the bloodied towels that were used.  Such are the humble origins of p


Bridging the vocational-academic divide

Views - 1898 Wednesday, 30 March 2016 00:00

  The Budget for 2016 targeted a substantial increase for education with little attention paid to systemic changes     The separation of tertiary education as higher education and technical/vocational


Power in the park and the Horapalana-Jathika Chintana toxic combination

Views - 1917 Wednesday, 23 March 2016 00:00

    Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka writes that the joint Opposition crowd that gathered at Hyde Park on 17 March represents leftists, anti-imperialists and progressives in the Right vs. Left, Reactionary vs. Progressive and Pro-im


Present public universities as leaders of innovation: An oxymoron?

Views - 1996 Wednesday, 16 March 2016 00:00

 An oxymoron is a situation where seemingly contradictory elements are brought together. In the present case the contradictory elements are innovation and public universities. I have been hearing so much about our public universities as leade


Men, women and their relationship

Views - 1879 Wednesday, 9 March 2016 00:10

We should start from the basics of giving more life skills to both boys and girls in our education by gradually moving to mixed educational settings in all our leading schools   The first International women’s


Arts and Humanities education deserves a second look

Views - 1726 Wednesday, 2 March 2016 00:00

Dedicated to Late Prof. Senake Bandaranayake, Professor of Archaeology and a champion of Arts and Humanities education, on his first death anniversary The Arts and Humanities stream of study has come to be seen as the problem child in university


Provinces are asserting authority in education, finally

Views - 1440 Wednesday, 24 February 2016 00:00

To date the Central Government has either maintained or expanded its bureaucratic arm in regard to the devolved subjects, with education being a prime example     As we begin discussions on constitutional


Sinha-Le and the ethno-religious identity wars

Views - 1909 Wednesday, 3 February 2016 00:00

 Minorities assert their identity by overtly ethno-religious or other ideological displays as a reaction to dominance by a majority. The majority feels threatened and jacks up its own displays of identity, ensuing an escalation of identity wa


Governability in the absence of a powerful executive presidency

Views - 1488 Wednesday, 27 January 2016 00:00

    Abolishing the executive presidency and reforming the electoral system are two key issues under consideration in the proposed constitutional reforms. During the 8 January to 19 June interregnum of 2015, a new Presiden


A constitution is only as good as its society

Views - 1804 Wednesday, 20 January 2016 00:00

These are not ideal times for constitutional changes, in Sri Lanka in particular. There is still too much meanness and the atmosphere is still racially charged. But we may not have another chance. The present national government, strange


Values for the 21st century

Views - 1340 Wednesday, 13 January 2016 00:00

     President Maithripala Sirisena was elected on a platform that emphasised values. “A man to restore disappearing human values” was the theme of the campaign video. It is not an easy undertaking and th


National Human Resources Development Council should be more strategic

Views - 1712 Wednesday, 16 December 2015 00:00

It is good news indeed that the National Human Resources Development Council (NHRDC) has been rescued from obscurity and placed under the Ministry of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs, under the guidance of the P


A skills development policy framework for achieving Budget 2016 objectives

Views - 2298 Wednesday, 9 December 2015 00:00

The 2016 Budget of the Government of Sri Lanka identifies several key issues facing skills development in the country. Foremost is the familiar story about gaps in the supply of skills and the mismatch between supply and demand. More significant i


SAITM and issue of access to professional education in SL

Views - 4480 Wednesday, 2 December 2015 00:00

  The first batch of MBBS graduates from SAITM is expected to be announced in 2016. However, the Sri Lanka Medical Council had informed the Minster for Health by a letter dated 25 September 2015 that “The degree awarded by SAITM


Budget 2016 and the ‘light-touch’ education policy changes therein

Views - 4642 Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:00

  While the Government provides the infrastructure, the potential to transform education is in the hands of the National Institute of Education which is responsible for curricula and teacher training and development. The spotlight rea


Cultural divide in higher education and elsewhere

Views - 2238 Wednesday, 18 November 2015 00:00

  We often hear the refrain that rural youth are smart enough, but their lack of English language skills is a major problem and so on. However, after working with local government councillors, school teachers and rural youth


Lessons on moral authority from a venerable monk

Views - 3248 Wednesday, 11 November 2015 00:00

With Venerable Sobitha Thero’s departure, the best we can do is to learn from the path he followed and continue his efforts to engage and agitate for change. The Ven. Thero exercised a kind of moral authority unseen among the Buddhist clergy


Beyond policy silos – towards a unified qualification framework for Sri Lanka

Views - 2310 Wednesday, 4 November 2015 00:15

The HND accountancy drama a few days back is a manifestation indeed of education policy making at its silo worst                                   


Increased funding for education calls for ‘genuine’ decentralisation of education administration

Views - 2257 Wednesday, 28 October 2015 00:00

The ‘Nearest school is the best school’ slogan adopted by the Ministry captures the essence of the solution we need in education today       Three rights are to be enshrined in a


How good are our universities?

Views - 2720 Wednesday, 21 October 2015 00:00

We have 15 universities proclaimed to be institutions of higher learning by relevant Acts of Parliament, but, are they institutions of higher learning in practice?       The need for creative


The role of universities and research institutes in an innovation economy

Views - 2205 Wednesday, 14 October 2015 00:00

  Universities in Sri Lanka indeed need to be drawn into the innovation economy, keeping in mind that the primary role of universities in providing the advanced human resource capacity for innovation and that a supporting industry bas


Embrace tuition to empower teachers?

Views - 1603 Wednesday, 7 October 2015 00:00

   Schools and teachers function in an extremely competitive environment where every parent aspires for the best for their children and the best is measured by success at examinations      


Today's Columnists

Many roads open

Saturday, 20 January 2018

We have just commenced Yahapalana Year 4. The third anniversary of Yahapalanaya is also the third anniversary of the defeat of the Rajapaksa regime. Both anniversaries coincide happily with the imminence of an island-wide election, the first since 20


Kasur child rape stems from subjugation of women in general

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Since the first week of the New Year, Pakistan has been in turmoil over the abduction, rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl, Zainab, in Kasur, a small town not far from Lahore in the Punjab province.


Demagoguery, deception and decrepitude inherent in most contemporary democracies

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Democracy is well and good as long its erstwhile proponents and players remain committed to high attendant ideals, pursuing with some degree of intelligence and sanity (fast eroding with the ascent of Donald J. Trump). Surely one must be faithful and


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

Friday, 19 January 2018

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.


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