COLUMNS

Food or Education, Take Your Pick

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H.G.S Prematunge
In the previous issue, the many matters that plague the Sri Lankan education system were discussed. Among the major issues that adversely affect the education system are the failure of the system to cater to labour market demands, inability of universities to meet tertiary education demand, brain drain and limited government expenditure on education. Rigorous examination process and high competition for the higher education, disparity of access to quality education, unequal distribution of resources between urban and rural schools, poor performance in mathematics and science ...Continued

Death Due To Ragging- Punish The Culprits

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Prof. O. A. Illeperuma
This week, a student at the Institute of technology, University of Moratuwa at Homagama committed suicide because of the mental and physical harassment during ragging he received at this Institute. This student had earlier been at the University of Jaffna where he was continuously beaten up for nearly six months and he was transferred to the Homagama Institute. There too, he was severely beaten up for several weeks and when he could not take it any longer, he decided to take his life. Who is ...Continued

The President, Elections and the Politics of the Tripitaka

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Sasanka Perera
Out of the blues, President Maithripala Sirisena has decided, apparently all by himself, that the Tripitaka, the sacred scriptures of Theravada Buddhists must be declared a ‘national heritage.’  To his credit, he has already done this in January this year.  After all, what was needed was a presidential decree and tax-payers’ money to make this declaration somewhat celebratory in a visual sense at the ‘national’ level. Hence, the recent Tripitaka Week enforced on all government entities.  Along with the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, the President ...Continued

Cold War-type Tensions Gripping International Politics

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Dissector
The recent Sri Lanka-centred diplomatic drama in Geneva where Sri Lanka clinched yet another two-year ‘reprieve’ from the West over war crimes accountability issues underscores afresh the West’s keen intent to maintain its firm foothold in South Asia. The present Sri Lankan administration is a Western ally and the US in particular would go to any lengths to protect its friends in our part of the world. This is the clear message the diplomatic wrangling in Geneva over UNHRC resolution 40/1 conveys. Among other things, ...Continued

Arsikland! The Musical Review: Laughing So That We Don’t Cry

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Annemari de Silva
I had been following Feroze Kamardeen’s Pusswedilla series of plays to record their run-ins with various types of censorship and finally had the opportunity to watch one of their performances, this time in musical form. Arsikland! The Musical had its run at the Lionel Wendt from March 30th to April 5th – a long, staggering schedule which is unusual for most English language productions that only draw in crowds to fill 2-3 nights. Yet Pusswedilla and his cronies have drawn such an audience that by ...Continued

Camera Trapping To Monitor Their Health

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Chandima Fernando & Ravi Corea
Monitoring the health of free ranging wild animals is one of the toughest challenges for conservationists and wildlife managers.  If the animal is a highly mobile animal like the elephant, then, it is near impossible.  Unless the animal had been made immobile due to a debilitating wound or situation, to track an injured wild animal even with the slightest mobility is a daunting task. By serendipitous events we have found that remote cameras could be an effective technology to monitor injured elephants.  But the underlying ...Continued

Neil Perera – An Unsung Hero, An Untold Story

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Spectator
Sunday (17) marked the 23rd Anniversary of Sri Lanka winning the ICC Cricket World Cup. The architects of the country’s biggest achievement in the sporting arena are all too known, but Neil Perera has remained an unsung hero. The same is true of most real heroes in Sri Lanka, where nobody sans self-marketing skills gets recognition. Perera was elected Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in 1991 with Tyronne Fernando as the President. During the Executive Committee’s first meeting at Maitland Place, Perera discussed with ...Continued

Social Media Declaration, A Timely Need

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Kshama Ranawana
Just over a year ago, social media faced a shut down in Sri Lanka.  The action, enforced by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), came in the wake of the violence that erupted in Digana, in the Kandy district between Sinhalese and Muslims.  While the incident that sparked the violence was not caused by social media, it was seen as the prime culprit in helping to spread rumours and misinformation. In less than a decade, social media has evolved to become the foremost communicator of information.  ...Continued

Continuing The Practice Of Living Beyond Means

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Prof. Sirimevan Colombage
Budget 2019 themed “Enterprise Sri Lanka – Empowering the People and Nurturing the Poor” envisages to promote a new form of private sector free from the protectionist mindset that can operate efficiently in a rule-based system within a competitive market environment. Loan concessions and various other incentives are to be given to prospective entrepreneurs with a view to create an entrepreneurial society, particularly among the youth. Another programme highlighted in the Budget is the “Gamperaliya” scheme, which is meant for accelerating village development through infrastructure ...Continued

Of ‘Local Universities’ And ‘Foreign Universities’

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Sasanka Perera
On the 12th of March 2019, after much delay, the Sri Lankan parliament finally approved the country’s budget.  Sri Lanka, with its cash-starved economy had been hobbling along since last year’s constitutional crisis. Though there were threats from the opposition of defeating the budget and toppling the regime, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera managed to secure a clear majority in support for his budget proposals, and ensure the survival of the regime he represents in the process.  As to be expected, since 2019 is an election ...Continued

‘Lone Wolf’ Terror And The ‘End of History’

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Dissector
Not only was New Zealand’s taken-for-granted peace shattered but also popular theories about the evolution of history reduced to tatters when ‘Lone Wolf’ terrorist Brenton Tarrant opened fire on two New Zealand mosques a few days back and cold-bloodedly killed some 50 worshippers. Among other things, we are reminded that no country could be declared as absolutely safe from terror today. Tarrant joins Anders Behring Breivik of Norway as a contemporary ‘Lone Wolf’ terrorist marked by ruthless efficiency of the most chilling kind. Breivik hit ...Continued

Demerits Of An Education System Stalling Development

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H.G.S Prematunge
(The third in a series of articles on education related issues) The Sri Lankan education system is not without merits. According to the World Bank collection of development indicators we have achieved universal primary education and gender parity, with 98.18 percent enrolment rate for males and 96.43 percent enrolment rate for females as at 2016. Sri Lanka has a Human Development Index value of 0.770, and ranked 76 out of 189 countries, in 2017, mainly due to our free education and health policy. In fact, ...Continued

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