Nisha Arunatilake has been a Research Fellow at IPS since 2000 and was appointed as the Director of Research in January 2018. She has extensive post-doctoral experience in conducting policy related economic research in labour market analysis, education, public finance and health. She heads the Labour, Employment and Human Resource Development unit at the IPS. Her work is published in both local and international journals, book chapters and reports.

She has collaborated with, and has been a consultant to different organizations, including the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Children’s’ Fund (UNICEF), Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), and International Labour Organization (ILO) in numerous research studies. She was the lead author of the second National Human Development Report (2012) for Sri Lanka. She is a Research Associate of the Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Institute of the Tulane University of New Orleans, USA. She is also a Research Fellow of the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP).

She has served in national level committees on labour, employment, human resource development, migration, health sector reform, and tobacco and alcohol policy formulation.

Nisha Arunatilake holds a BSc in Computer Science and Mathematics with summa cum laude from the University of the South, USA and an MA and PhD in Economics from Duke University, USA. All three of her degrees were fully funded by university grants.

Advisory work

Economic Policy Steering Committee of the Chamber of Commerce (CCC)
Sri Lanka
2018
Member

Core Working Group for Pension Reforms
Formed by State Minister Mr. Harsha de Silva of the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs
2017
Sri Lanka
Member

Standing Committee on Higher Education
2017
Sri Lanka
National Education Commission (NEC)
Member

Develop a Strategic Road Map for improving female labour force participation in the private sector in Sri Lanka
2017
Sri Lanka
National Human Resource Development Council
Committee Member
Report writing, contributing to discussions on policy recommendations

Expert Group for Formulating the Revised National Migration Policy for Sri Lanka
2017
Sri Lanka
ILO/ Ministry of Foreign Employment
Committee Member
Contributing to discussions on policy recommendations

National Policy on General Education in Sri Lanka
2016
Sri Lanka
National Education Commission
Committee Member
Report writing, contributing to discussions on policy recommendations

Committee on Improving Female Labour Force Participation Rate
2016
Sri Lanka
Prime Minister’s office
Committee Member
Report writing, contributing to discussions on policy recommendations

The National Human Resources and Employment Policy (NHREP) for Sri Lanka
2016
Sri Lanka
Labour Department
Report writing, contributing to discussions on policy recommendations. Represented the NHREP Steering Committee at the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meeting to ratify and validate the revised policy.

Draft a white paper on pensions reforms
2016
Sri Lanka
Department of Pensions
Committee Member
Provided technical support

Represented IPS at the Advisory Committee Meeting on Labour Migration
2012
Sri Lanka
Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare.
Committee Member
Provided technical support

Steering Committee for Formulation of a National Human Resources and Employment Policy for Sri Lanka.
2011 to 2012
Sri Lanka
Government of Sri Lanka
Committee Member

Represented IPS at the National Data Committee
2010 to present
Sri Lanka
Department of Census and Statistics
Committee Member
Provided technical support

Drafting Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights of the National Action Plan for Promotion & Protection of Human Rights
2009 to 2010
Sri Lanka
Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights

National Steering Committee for Employable Disables, Department of Labour.
2010
Sri Lanka
Department of Labour
Committee Member
Provided technical support

National Working Group on Economic Reintegration of Ex-Combatants into Civilian Life
2009
Sri Lanka
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) and the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare
Committee Member
Provided technical support

National Action Plan on Youth Employment in Sri Lanka
2006
Sri Lanka
Youth Employment Network.
Committee Member
Participated in the formulation of the action plan

Technical Working Group to Develop a Health Sector Strategy for Sri Lanka
2002 t0 2003
Sri Lanka
Ministry of Health
National Consultant in the Health Sector Finance
Provided technical support

National Plan for Labour Market Reforms
2002
Sri Lanka
Ministry of Policy Development subcommittee on Employment, Labour, Productivity and Human Resources Development.
Committee Member
Provided technical support

Presidential Committee for Tobacco and Alcohol Policy
1998
Sri Lanka
Government of Sri Lanka
Economic Adviser
Provided technical support

Research

Sri Lanka Tea Industry in Transition: 150 Years and Beyond, Wijayasiri, Janaka, Nisha Arunatilake and Saman Kelegama (2018)

Better Schools for Better O-Level Results in Sri Lanka, by Ashani Abayasekara and Nisha Arunatilake, November 2017

Arunatilake, N. Jayawardena, P. (2017). Accounting for Social Effects of Tax Reforms. In S. Kelegama, Tax Policy in Sri Lanka, (pp. 213 – 238). Colombo: Institute of Policy Studies.

Arunatilake, N. Inchauste, G., Lustig, N. (2017). The Incidence of Taxes and Spending in Sri Lanka. In G. Inchauste, & N. Lustig, The Distributional Impact of Taxes and Transfers – Evidence from Eight Low- and Middle-Income Countries, (pp. 267 – 293). Washington, D.C: The World Bank.

Challenges of reintegration. In S. Irudaya Rajan, South Asia Migration Report, (pp 267-291). Oxon: Routledge.

Integrating Migrant Workers in Labour Market Participation Analysis.

Arunatilake, N. (2015). Impact of Migration and Remittances on Social Mobility in Sri Lanka. In T. Kim, & A. Mulakala, Social Mobility: Experiences and Lessons from Asia (pp. 129-146). Sejong-si: Korea Development Institute.

World Bank (2015). Sri Lanka Public Expenditure Review – Sri Lanka, Pearl of Asia:Spending for Growth and Poverty Reduction in a Middle Income Country, World Bank.

Samarakoon, S., & Arunatilake, N. (2015). Extending adequate pensions for all – where are the gaps? Colombo: Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka.

Nisha Arunatilake, Gabriela Inchauste, Nora Lustig, 2014, ‘The incidence of Taxes and Spending in Sri Lanka’, Washington D.C.: World Bank.

 

Jayaratne, S., Perera, N., Gunasekera, N., & Arunatilake, N. (2014). Returning Home: Experiences and Challenges – The Experience of Returnee Migrant Workers of Sri Lanka. Colombo: Institute of Policy Studies.

Arunatilake, N., Dissanayake, E., & Dharmawardene, P. (2014). A Framework for Classifying Science, Technology and Innovation Workers in Sri Lanka. Colombo: The Coordinating Secretariat for Science and Technology.

Arunatilake, N., Inchauste, G., & Lustig, N. (2014). The Incidence of Taxes and Spending in Sri Lanka. Washigton D.C.: World Bank.

Arunatilake, N., & Jayawardena, P. (2013). School Funding Formula’s in Sri Lanka. Paris: UNESCO.

Arunatilake, N., Jayawardena, P., & Wijesinha, A. (2012). Tax Reforms in Sri Lanka – Will a Tax on Public Servants Improve Progressivity? Laval: Partnership for.

Nisha Arunatilake, Priyanka Jayawardena, Neluka Gunasekara, Sunimalee Madurawala, Shanika Samarakoon ” Health Inequalities, Work and Access to Social Security of Informal Workers” Report to FLASCO-CHILIE

Ranasinghe, Athula, Arunatilake, Nisha, and Dunusinghe, Priyanga (2015) “Investment in Formal Education in Sri Lanka”, Background report for the National Education Commission’s 2015 Education Reforms study.

Nisha Arunatilake, Gabriela Inchauste, Nora Lustig, 2014, ‘The incidence of Taxes and Spending in Sri Lanka’, World Bank.

Presentations

Keynote Speaker at a Forum on ‘Bringing Skilled Foreign Workers into Sri Lanka; Is it a Viable Option?’

Organized by National Human Resource Development Council, Institute of Charted Accountants of Sri Lanka and the International Chamber of Commerce

02 October 2018
Institute of Charted Accountants of Sri Lanka

Guest Speaker at Stakeholder Conference on the Establishment of a National Labour Market Information System

Organized by the Department of Manpower and Employment

18 September 2018
Waters’ Edge, Battaramulla

Chaired the session on “Labour Market Reforms

At the Economic Freedom Country Audit
Organized by the Advocata Institute
Nisha Arunatilake
12 October 2017

Global Towers Hotel, Colombo

“Where is the data?”

Presented by Nisha Arunatilake
At the “Realising Gender Goals in the SDGs: Role of the Media”
Organized by UN Women

2/11/2016
Taj Samudra

Education Research Institutes Network (ERI-Net) Regional Expert Meeting on Harnessing the Power of Research to Achieve SDG4 – Education 2030
Organized by UNESCO Bangkok, Thailand
Nisha Arunatilake

24/11/2016- 25/11/2016
Bangkok, Thailand

Was a member of “the People Management Colloquium” panel  at “The National Summit on People Management: ‘Peopling’ for National Wealth- 19/10/2016

Panel Discussion and launch of book:Globalisation, employment and education in Sri Lanka, Organized by the British Council, Taj Samudra. 3/5/2016

Integrating migrant workers into the labou rmarket statistics of Sri Lanka, presented at a round table discussion at ILO. 6/5/2016

National Pensions Day Symposium 2015, Department of Pensions, SLFI, 8/10/2015

The Sixth Republic of Korea-SAARC Partnership Seminar

 “Development Cooperation in Public Health

Development Cooperation in Public Health

Participated and presented paper at the 6th Republic of Korea-SAARC Partnership Seminar on “Development Cooperation in Public Health between Korea and SAARC”, Seoul, Korea. Organized by the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROK and the Korea Institute for International Economy Policy (KIEP); 26/10/2015

Presented at the Regional Consultation on Stengthening Income Support for Vulnerable Groups in Asia and the Pacific 26-27 March 2014, Incheon, Republic of Korea

Made a presentation on the labour market in Sri Lanka at the ICRIER-World Bank Conference on Jobs for Development: Challenges and Solutions (1-2 December 2014, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi).

Presented a paper at the workshop on Social Mobility: Experiences and Lessons from Asia, to take place in Seoul, Korea from November 24-25, 2014

Presented at the ‘Asian Approaches to Social Mobility Experience, Lessons and Opportunities for Cooperation’ Organized by CEPA in collaboration with the The Asia Foundation and the Korean Development Institute (KDI)

Commentary
Blogs

Nisha Aruntilake with H.N. Thenuwara. Trouble Brewing? How Sri Lanka’s Tea Industry Can Prepare for Future Challenges. Talking Economics. 03 April 2019

Ashani Abayasekara and Nisha Arunatilake. 2017. Path to Skills Development: Helping Sri Lankan Youth Navigate the Hurdle of O-Level. Talking Economics. July 15 2017.

Arunatilake, Nisha, 15 November 2017, “Budget Allocations for Teacher Training: Is Sri Lanka Playing its Cards Right?” Talking Economics, IPS.

Nisha Arunatilake. Creating employment in post-conflict and fragile states. Jobs and Development blog – World Bank. 18 November 2015

Nisha Arunatilake. Lessons from Teaching Research Methodology at IPS.  20 May 2016

Arunatilake, N. Jayawardena, P. (2017). The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating: Distribution and Revenue Implications of Sri Lanka’s New Inland Revenue Act. Talking Economics. Colombo:  Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka.

Arunatilake, N. (2015, April 23). If Sri Lanka is to join the knowledge economy, it needs to improve its education, training and skills. Retrieved July 2, 2015, from Jobs and Development Blog, The World Bank

Nisha Arunatilake, Suwendrani Jayaratne, Nipuni Perera and Neluka Gunasekera, September 25, 2014, “Sri Lanka Can Gain More from Migration by Helping Returnees Reintegrate Better”, Talking Economics, IPS.

Media

Sunrise Magazine – The magazine for Inspired Seniors, May-June 2018, Volume 2. No. 1, Baby Steps Towards Graceful Retirement.  Nisha Arunatilake was quoted in page 36.

‘Better Schools for Better O-Level Results in Sri Lanka’ Report Launch, on State of Business by Art TV

Shortage of qualified teachers in math and science linked to poor O/L results: IPS – Daily FT, 29 Nov. 2017

Poor teacher recruitment policies hamper academic performance of govt. schools: IPS – Daily Mirror, 29 Nov. 2017

‘Better Schools for Better O-Level Results in Sri Lanka’ draws attention to the shortage of qualified and experienced teachers – The Island, 30 Nov. 2017

With Rathindra Kuruwita, IPS, Ceylon Today. “Skills mismatch a massive economic cost Education system must be reformed“, 16th October 2017.

With Chandeepa Wettasinghe, “Economist blames outdated labour laws for high youth unemployment“, August 29 2017. Mirror Business.

Biz 1st Infocus on ‘State of the Economy 2017’ report, MTV, MTV office