ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Education Crisis in Sri Lanka

We, as economists, academics and social activists are deeply concerned about the continuing crisis in the education sector in Sri Lanka. Austerity measures and attacks on social welfare in many countries have been disenfranchising children and youth from education as a central avenue for social equity, leading to protests and social unrest.

In decades past, we saw social and human development with free education and health in Sri Lanka to be a model worthy of emulation by other countries. But insurrections, civil war, increasing militarisation and authoritarianism over the years have made a deep dent in the democratic structure of society. Today, in the post-war era in Sri Lanka, we look to the country to rebuild its social foundations that would serve to democratise and further improve the quality of life for people. Investing in a robust education system will leave an indelible mark on this rebuilding process. However, investment in education has been decreasing to where state expenditure in education is now 1.86% of the GDP, the lowest in south Asia and one of the lowest in the world. Such drastic declines in state investment are related to the mounting issues in the education sector in Sri Lanka. This crisis is compounded by reports of rural school closures, problems in schools and university entrance exams and the politicisation and militarisation of the education space.

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