Children with disabilities are often excluded from educational opportunities, and are overlooked when it comes to school completion and learning outcomes. Sri Lanka’s latest Population Census indicates that around 2% of children between the ages 5-14 have some form of disability, of which around only three-fourths attend school, compared to the near universal enrollment of other children. The author argues that, despite Sri Lanka’s well-established legislation promoting disability-inclusive education, there are large gaps between policy and practice.
Climate change and related vagaries of weather have increased the vulnerability of the Sri Lankan population to natural disasters. Rural households and livelihoods are more affected by such calamities, which increases the risk of rural families sliding into poverty. As such, Nisha Arunatilake argues that improving the quality of jobs and livelihoods of the rural population is important to build these communities’ resilience to such natural disasters.
With the grade five scholarship exam results being released recently, Ashani Abayasekara examines whether top-performing students at the scholarship exam continue to do well in subsequent exams at higher levels. She argues that, while many high scoring scholarship students continue to do well, it does not necessarily mean that the scholarship exam identifies the most intelligent students.
The World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI) summarises the ‘amount of human capital a child born today could expect to attain by age 18’. Sri Lanka’s HCI for 2018, the best in the South Asian region, is 0.58. However, there is room for improvement. A closer examination of the sub-indices of the HCI shows that two of the areas that need attention are education and health.
As Sri Lanka enters an increasingly competitive international environment, with a renewed enthusiasm to transform itself into a modern economy, the importance of promoting technological innovations and generating an educated workforce, possessing market-oriented skills, cannot be over emphasised. High quality human resources and a skilled labour force are vital to improve the country’s global competitiveness. As such, it is important to identify the reasons for gaps in access to education and improve access to all students.