Sri Lanka lacks skilled labor force to support socio- economic demands: Deputy Minister

Mar 25, 2015(LBO) – Sri Lanka needs to create a skilled labour force who will be able to compete with international markets in the phase of implementing new regime’s social market economy, Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Harsha De Silva said.

“We need a radical change in grade one admission in school and go beyond teaching science and mathematics to create graduates who are going to be useful to the market place,” De Silva said at the United Nation forum held in Colombo to discuss UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

“In the process of creating a social market economy, we need to create the labor force that is required to create that type of economy which is highly competitive,”

“It does not necessarily mean that labor should be competitive in the domestic market place but competitive in international market like eastern European countries or emerging south American countries and fast growing Asian nations,”

A social economy is the third sector among economies between the private (business) and public sector (government). It includes organizations such as cooperatives, nonprofit organizations and charities.

The new rulers promote the so called social economy in Sri Lanka in which they plan on reducing income disparity among rural and urban people by providing equal opportunity in the job market.

Sri Lanka has made education compulsory in 1998 for all children between the ages of 5 to 14 but 14 percent of children drop out before completing Ordinary Level (O/L) exam according to the latest publication of United Nation Millenium goals report.

The report says the youth literacy rate has improved to 98 percent in year 2012 compared to 96 percent in 2007.

However the report also suggests improving access to quality education, increasing teachers for subjects like science, mathematics and english particularly in rural and remote areas, take steps to encourage students to stay for O/L‘s and increase opportunities for students after Advance Level examination through more university placements and by helping students acquire skills they need for the job market.

De Silva also said the country needs to have skills that required and the quality of education to create a competitive nation.

“I think whether it is infants to grade one or territory education in Sri Lanka needs the relevance quality,”

“If you come to my political office in Nawala on Tuesdays, you will be shocked to see number of parents who come to see me crying that their kids don’t have a school. They say that they are unable to send them to private school or the so called international schools. They may live near to a reasonably good school but won’t be able send their children to that school,”

“We teach our children to lie even before they go to school,” ”

We are taking about honesty, integrity and good governance and we teach our kids to lie at the age of five.”

According to the latest publication of United Nation Millenium goals, the rate of net enrolment in primary education has increased to 99.7 percent in Sri Lanka.

The report says, in Urban, the rate has increased to 99.6 percent in 2012/13 compared to 98 percent in 2006/07, whereas in rural, the rate has moved up to 99.8 percent in 2012/13 compared to 97.5 percent.

Estate sector shows a 99 percent increase in enrolment in primary education compared to 94.8 percent in 2006/07.