Although Sri Lanka has performed well in basic education indicators such as a high literacy rate and near-universal participation in primary and secondary schooling, there are striking disparities across regions in the country. Specifically, the education performance of the estate sector consisting of plantation communities is dismal, with a high level of school dropouts. Notably, the prevalence of child labour in a community is revealed to significantly impact estate children dropping out of school. The worsened financial difficulties suffered by these estate children post-pandemic, along with the ongoing economic crisis in the country, have led them to engage in economic activities to earn income so that they can afford their basic needs. Based on a study carried out by the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS), this blog discusses the issue of school dropouts in the estate sector and how prolonged school closures following the COVID-19 outbreak and the ongoing economic crisis have increased school dropouts in estate regions.
A study by IPS and GLWC examined the living wage for tea pluckers in Sri Lanka, to act as a catalyst for action throughout the value chain to raise wages towards a living wage. Here, the estimated gross living wage was Rs. 23,785 per month in January 2019. This blog argues that the prevailing wage of these workers has to be raised by at least Rs. 3,055 (15%) to reach the living wage level.
The current nutritional status of Sri Lanka is not satisfactory – and improving this remains a challenge. This blog by Priyanka Jayawardena examines the reasons for persisting malnutrition in the country and highlights the way forward.