Can Sri Lanka become a knowledge hub without a step change in university education?

Posted on September 25, 2014  /  1 Comments

In a short piece reassessing the Sri Lanka government’s economic strategies centered on hubs, this is what I had to say on progress toward a knowledge hub. The controversial stuff on electricity, ports and aviation.

Most progress has been achieved on this thrust, measured by the export revenues and numbers of jobs created by the IT and BPM [Business Process Management] sectors. But progress is needed on the foundational resource: a knowledgeable work force.

Significant improvements have been achieved in tertiary and higher education. These are not limited to simple increases in numbers graduated; attitudinal change has been achieved. Entrepreneurship is no longer an alien concept in some of our universities.

Much more needs to be done on building a smart workforce. Only the University of Central Lancashire, hardly a leading university brand, has been attracted by the Government’s offers of 15-year tax holidays and free land. Innovations such as India’s Ashoka University have not emerged. The poor quality of university teachers remains to be addressed.


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