Lankan University Graduates: Late Birds, No Worms?

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.

Economic Freedom and the Asian Century

So many facets of the “Asian century” are discussed heatedly. But one is glossed over — economic freedom. Market liberalisation is a crucial enabler of Asia’s current awakening. Its “negative” acts – removing restrictions that repress economic activity – have …

Multidimensional Poverty Index: A New Way of Assessing Poverty in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has made strong strides towards reducing poverty and is well placed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), although many challenges still remain especially in the estate sector and certain conflict-affected districts. Meanwhile, a new tool of measurement, the Multidimensional Poverty Index, may hold the key to better understanding what factors are driving poverty in Sri Lanka the most. A ‘Talking Economics Special Report’ titled “Eradicating Poverty in Sri Lanka: Strong Progress But Much Remains To Be Done” authored by Wimal Nanayakkara, Senior Visiting Fellow at IPS gives a valuable insight into the latest analysis on Sri Lanka’s performance on poverty reduction.

Expanding Tertiary Education Critical to Sri Lanka’s ‘Knowledge Hub’ Aspirations

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.

Malaysia and Sri Lanka: Dilemmas of the Development Process

After listening to a talk by a Japanese academic at a recent forum in Colombo on East Asian and Malaysian development models and their applicability to Sri Lanka, Project Intern Kaushalya Attygalle writes that while these experiences hold many valuable lessons for our economic development, we must be cautious of drawing too close a parallel and in subscribing to particular models or processes. Yet, she stresses that some of the most valuable lessons we must take note of are consistency in economic policies and political commitment to reform and economic leadership, that countries like Malaysia displayed.

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