Sri Lanka school dropouts doing great service to nation: minister

July 11, 2009 (LBO) – Dropouts from Sri Lanka’s education system are doing a greater service to the nation than those who have had a free education from the state education system, a senior minister said. Deputy finance minister Sarath Amunugama said more than a million Sri Lankans were working abroad sending nearly three billion dollars in remittances a year. Some of those were dropouts from the education system.

“The drop outs of the Sri Lankan education system are doing a greater service to Sri Lanka than all those who have gone through and benefited from the education system,” Amunugama told a business forum organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“If we are to grow fast we have to completely reform our education system.”

In 2004, Amunugama as finance minister presided over the start of probably Sri Lanka’s worst ‘make-work’ state job fiddle in its history where 40,000 graduates who were unemployable in productive sectors were given tax free state jobs as an election promise.

In sharp contrast to graduates who enjoy lifetime tax free jobs in overstaffed government offices, Sri Lankans working abroad work under trying conditions separated from their loved ones.

A case in