In what has been recognised as the world’s largest educational crisis, the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a record number of students being forced to stay away from schools and universities. This blog examines the effectiveness of distance education in Sri Lanka, from the perspectives of inclusion and quality, and explores policy measures that can deliver and sustain more equitable and effective learning outcomes, beyond COVID-19.
Sri Lanka appears to do relatively well in terms of gender representation in the broad field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. However, significant gender differences in enrollments exist within STEM fields. In the context of an upcoming technology-driven Fourth Industrial Revolution, being equipped with STEM-related skills will be increasingly important to survive in the future labour market, argues Ashani Abayasekara.
Despite multiple measures by successive governments to bring down tobacco prevalence in Sri Lanka, still more than one in four males use tobacco. Reducing smoking prevalence is also identified as one of the concerns in the manifesto of the newly elected president of Sri Lanka. This blog argues that bringing down tobacco prevalence further will entail tightening tobacco control policies and initiating focused measures targeting difficult-to-reach groups.
Meeting Challenges in a New World of Work: How Prepared is South Asia for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
One of the plenary sessions at the 12th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES XII), organised by the IPS, deliberated on how best to meet emerging challenges in a technology-led, new world of work, in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The panellists discussed how South Asian labour markets will be impacted by the 4IR and what the required policy responses should be in this new reality.
In response to changing skills requirements in the 4IR, new and effective forms of e-learning are being adopted worldwide. Sri Lanka has launched an initiative to develop smart classrooms (SCs) in several schools across the country. Such technologies allow for the installation of interactive tools or applications, uploading homegrown content, and downloading interactive content online, and encourage more critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary in a digital economy. Ashani Abayasekara takes a look at current SC projects in Sri Lanka, with the aim of assessing their role in driving the education sector forward in a 4IR era.