The university system is in chaos again. Following the disruption of a month of academic activity due to an island-wide strike by university non-academic staff in June this year, the academic staff also took trade union action in early-July. The two strike actions have cumulatively taken two months off the undergraduate calendar and a suitable resolution has not been made to date. While this article excludes itself from commenting on the politics of such action, it rather serves to highlight how it impacts youth in Sri Lanka and the economy as a whole.
Each year 100,000 qualified students have to abandon their ambitions to enter university. Less than 4% of 20-24 year olds in Sri Lanka are enrolled in a university. As Sri Lanka’s aims to grow as a knowledge-based economy and become a ‘Knowledge Hub’ for the region, these numbers are concerning. Meanwhile, the debate on permitting private universities continues apace. A Bill to permit private universities was about to be presented by the government to Parliament, but was subsequently shelved, under pressure from certain student and teacher groups. In this article, Priyanka Jayawardena presents the key arguments put forward and opens them out for wider debate.
As Divi Neguma, the government’s latest grassroots economic development initiative, marks one year since its introduction, we took a look at the key features of the programme, its potential to help livelihood development and raise incomes, and the key improvements that need to be made
IPS recently hosted a discussion on the Sri Lankan perspectives of a World Bank report titled ‘More and Better Jobs in South Asia’ and brought to light many issues related to the Sri Lankan job market. Among the diverse range of views that surfaced, the debate on “what really is a better job?” was an interesting one that emerged. As several panelists argued, for Sri Lankans, “better jobs” may not always be determined by just the wages people earn. For the Sri Lankan worker other things clearly matter too.
Following a recent panel discussion on “More and Better Jobs” hosted by the IPS and the World Bank, we decided to seek the views of a wider community on this subject, by creating an innovative online platform on Google Moderator where people from across the country and beyond could join the discussion by posting their ideas and comments, as well as voting on others. We asked the online community – “How can we create more and better jobs in Sri Lanka?”, and received over three dozen valuable ideas. In this article we present some of them, covering several key issues.