Education is the backbone of any modern, competitive society. In this Feature Service article, Manilka W. Leanage, 3rd place winner in CIPE’s 2007 Youth Essay Contest in the category of ‘Education Reform and Employment,’ talks about the need to make Sri Lanka’s education system more responsive to the needs of students and the market. Despite very high literacy rate and free education up to the tertiary level, young Sri Lankans find themselves unprepared for the challenges of a modern workplace. Many are unable to pass highly selective university entrance exams; and even those who complete their university education often lack the skills and entrepreneurial drive to succeed professionally.
Leanage highlights the problem of youth unemployment among the educated: “I personally know a rickshaw driver named Jayantha who lives in my area. He told me one day that he held a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts (with honors), was unable to find a job, and had being driving rickshaws ever since graduating to support his family. A sad story, but it is the reality of Sri Lanka.” He concludes that “There are many young people able and eager to contribute to the society if only given that opportunity. Possibilities abound if these young people have proper education and exposure to practical training.”
Article at a Glance
- Sri Lanka’s education system is inadequate to equip students with practical skills and knowledge.
- Curricula require extensive updating and teachers need better training to help students achieve their academic and professional goals.
- The business community must be better integrated with the education system in order to foster skills needed to succeed in the job market.