Pathfinder Foundation

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Election campaign Myth Buster #4

Time to Stop Playing Politics with Education

The Constitution of Sri Lanka stipulates that education is a fundamental right. The population has achieved a literacy rate of 98.1%. From the time of the Kannangara Reforms in the 1940s, education at all levels has been primarily funded and administered by the government. The public school network has an enrolment of about four million students in over 10,000 schools across the nation. At tertiary level, there are 15 state universities.
Against this landscape, there is a tendency to be complacent about Sri Lanka’s achievements in the education sector despite poor learning outcomes. There are some myths which need to be exposed, if the country is to develop a competitive workforce which is sufficiently skilled to be the basis for promoting sustained prosperity. Empowering people through education, training and skills development is the means through which this prosperity can be shared.
For this to happen the following ‘myths’ need to be ‘blasted’.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 August 2015 12:17

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Election Myth Buster #3

Should the Government be the ‘employer of first resort’?

Politicising youth employment

In the early years after independence, it was generally accepted that the government’s role was limited to providing defence, national security, revenue collection and a few other basic services. In sectors such as education and health, employment was provided both by the government and the private sector. From the late 1950s a combination of a severe decline in the terms of trade and the inappropriate economic policies of successive governments resulted in low investment and slow growth making it difficult for the economy to absorb the increasing numbers of youth leaving school or graduating from universities. The increasingly statist response to these pressures led to the government becoming more directly involved in employment creation. The 1971 Insurrection also generated political pressures which gave added momentum to the government’s role in this regard.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 August 2015 10:57

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Election Campaign Myth Buster #2

Subsidies & Controls are a Panacea for Farmers’ woes

The long-term prospect of our agricultural sector is severely constrained by extreme inefficiencies in both markets and public policies. This casts a very heavy burden on all Sri Lankans, particularly the poor and vulnerable. Many of the latter include members of our rural population who are trapped in an unsatisfactory status quo of low-productivity, low-income agricultural activity. This latest Pathfinder Foundation Election Myth Buster seeks to demonstrate how this unwarranted reliance on subsidies and administered prices imposes a heavy burden on the entire population and serves as a drag on the development prospects of our economy and nation.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 July 2015 11:30

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Election Campaign Myth Buster #1

Hand-Outs and Subsidies - Who is Left Holding the Bag?

The Pathfinder Foundation in its blueprint on economic reform, ‘Charting the Way Forward: Prosperity for All’, highlighted the following paragraph:

Sri Lanka needs to follow good practice which is being pursued by an increasing number of countries around the world. All hand- outs, subsidies and other welfare measures included in the manifestos should be costed and specific measures should be identified for financing the incremental costs involved. This will enable the voters to assess the financial viability of the promises made by various political parties and to make a clean break from the ‘auction of non-existent resources’ which have characterized party manifestos in the past.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 July 2015 11:23

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Facing Macro Economic Policy Challenges

What was happening?

Sri Lanka experienced a dramatic decline in its trade balance during the second half of 2011. The trade deficit which was $5 billion at end-2010 almost doubled to $9.7 billion at the end of 2011. In simple terms, we have spent much more on imports than we have earned through exports of goods. The earnings from services, remittances and net capital inflows were insufficient to offset the much larger trade deficit.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 15:15

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