The Sri Lankan obsession with doctors, lawyers and engineers is finally telling on the local labour market. The Sri Lankan obsession with doctors, lawyers and engineers is finally telling on the local labour market. “Parents still educate children with the very narrow view point of making them doctors, lawyers or engineers,” says Kamal Abeysinghe, Treasurer of the Royal College Old Boys Union.
Royal College is one of the largest local State schools and the Union, is trying to convince parents and children that there are other alternatives to traditionally prestigious jobs.
Strangely, most children and parents don’t even want to know.
“We had to make it compulsory, on a normal school day, that they attend a seminar on career guidance. We had to keep it secret because if they (the students) knew they would have stayed at home to study,” says Abeysinghe.
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This is not because Sri Lanka’s leading schools are stuffed with nerds in blinkers – it is a combination of cultural factors including deep-seated respect for ‘education’ coupled with the social prestige attributed for professional jobs.