Columnists

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

Views - 3871 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 - 4115 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 - 3005 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 - 3216 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 - 3166 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 - 3167 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 - 3243 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 - 2858 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 - 2289 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 - 3499 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 - 2417 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 - 3249 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 - 2754 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 - 3180 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 - 2208 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 - 2583 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 - 2136 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 - 3101 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 - 2496 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 - 2095 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 - 1972 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 - 2291 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 - 2567 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 - 1892 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 - 1937 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 - 1959 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 - 2037 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 - 1955 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 - 1789 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 - 1538 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


Today's Columnists

Poignant pondering on a patriarch

Monday, 22 April 2019

Almost five months have gone. It is with a profound sense of sadness that we experienced the demise of our veteran teacher, respected author, legal luminary, an accomplished ambassador, an eminent public servant and an amazing human being, Dr. Wickre


Enemies of democracy – Part I Demand for a strongman to rule the country

Monday, 22 April 2019

I posed the following question to a group of university students recently: ‘Do you desire to have a strongman to rule Sri Lanka today?’ The students, made up of both genders in the age group of 25 to 35, chorused the answer in the affirmative. Wh


The sad demise of Jet Airways

Monday, 22 April 2019

Jet Airways of India, once the premier full-service carrier of the sub-continent, has ceased operations. “Jet Airways and its Board of Directors have been forced to take this extreme measure, as prolonged and sustained efforts with lenders and auth


No more stones to break Sri Lankan bones

Friday, 19 April 2019

Trial by fire is not a new ordeal to Christian community. It predates Notre Dame and Nazism by millennia. In fact, a decade or so before Nero torched believers to light Roman avenues, Jewish religious leaders put Jesus-followers to the test as the Ch


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