Columnists

Higher education in Asia and the Public-Private distinction

Views - 2871 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 - 2451 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 - 1998 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 - 1927 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 - 1992 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 - 2436 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 - 1843 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 - 1897 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 - 1907 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 - 1991 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 - 1865 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 - 1724 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 - 1428 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 - 1906 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 - 1481 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 - 1787 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 - 1332 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 - 1698 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 - 2274 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 - 4420 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 - 4637 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 - 2237 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 - 3238 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 - 2295 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 - 2246 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 - 2711 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 - 2168 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 - 1584 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      


Can values be taught in schools?

Views - 2365 Wednesday, 30 September 2015 00:00

Family, religion and schools are typically seen as three main institutions through which values are passed on to the next generation. Schools always come to the forefront in public discourses about values since they are perhaps relatively


Technology, students and learning

Views - 1912 Wednesday, 23 September 2015 00:00

  Unlike Europe, the majority of our children come from homes where technology at home is a pipe-dream     New studies point to practical approaches for Sri Lanka ICT has offered much p


Today's Columnists

Bringing beedi into tax net can yield Rs. 40 b in revenue

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Last week, the Financial Times quoted an AFP article that stated Sri Lanka will start regulating the toddy industry to boost tax revenues from the informal sector. This same principle should be applied to the beedi trade, which has also grown unabate


Grade 5 Scholarship examination and the future of the country

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Grade 5 scholarship examination results have been released recently. Although this is known as the “Mothers’ exam,” the mentality of the children can be well articulated when children come from the examination halls after the exams. Today w


Need for tax reforms: Government should not lose it this time but go for them early

Monday, 23 October 2017

In the first economic policy statement, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made a number of pledges related to taxes and tax reforms. One was that the Government would review whether the tax concessions given to investors have really delivered the e


Lessons from Geneva

Saturday, 21 October 2017

‘Mission Impossible – Geneva’ is an inspiring account of developments at the Human Rights Council in Geneva when Dayan Jayatilleka was our Permanent Representative there. It is written by his wife Sanja, which provides for fascinating insights


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