The level of education in Sri Lanka is higher than in many other developing countries; On average, more than nine out of ten langes can read and write. However, the level of education is somewhat lower among the minority groups, especially among the Indian Tamils in the highlands.
Free and compulsory school has existed since the 1940s. The children start school at the age of five and must legally attend school for eleven years. Virtually all children begin the first, five-year stage and nine out of ten even the four-year high school.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Sri Lanka, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Then follow four high school years, of which the first two are compulsory. The last two high school years are college preparatory. Almost every fifth student goes on to university and college. Among them are more girls than boys.
Almost all schools are state. Teaching is in Sinhalese or Tamil. The various ethnic groups are taught in their respective religions. Some Buddhist temples run schools, so-called pirivenas.
During the colonial period (1802–1948), the British gave the Tamils better opportunities for education than other peoples, a relationship that existed even after independence. In order to change this, in 1974 a strict quota system was introduced to the universities. The system meant that many Tamils could not study at university, something they felt discriminatory. One consequence of the system is that there is now a shortage of Tamil-speaking teachers.
Sri Lanka has 15 universities (2017) and a number of colleges, but the number of places in higher education is limited. In addition, the education programs are poorly adapted to the demand in the labor market. Too few scientists and too many humanists are educated, which results in many young academics going unemployed.
- Educationvv: Provides school and education information in Sri Lanka, covering middle school, high school and college education.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
99.1 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
92.4 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
14.5 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
14.5 percent (2017)
Sri Lanka rents out port to China
Sri Lanka signs an agreement to lease the port of Hambantota to China for 99 years for $ 1.1 billion. The agreement will reduce the country’s debt of $ 8 billion to Chinese state-owned companies.
Violence between Muslims and Buddhists in the south
Clashes erupt between Muslims and Buddhists in the province of Galle in the south after rumors spread through social media in connection with a traffic accident between a Muslim woman and a Buddhist man on a motorcycle. The material damage to houses and other property during the riots is described as extensive. Violence between Buddhists and Muslims sometimes flames up in Sri Lanka.
Opposite website blocked
London-based, government-critical website Lanka E News has been blocked for readers in Sri Lanka, says site administrators for the news agency AFP. In this case, this is the first time that the Sri Lankan authorities have restricted access to the Internet since the Sirisena government took office in 2015. The blocking occurs the day after Lanka E Bews published an article on suspected bribery in connection with the procurement of vehicles at the Sirisena office.
High food prices lead to reduced import taxes
Sri Lanka sharply cuts import taxes on a range of basic foods such as lentils, cooking oil, potatoes and dried fish in an attempt to curb high inflation. In October, inflation was noted at almost 8 percent as a result of higher food prices. Bad harvests due to drought and floods have made food more and more expensive.
Acute gasoline shortages create chaos
An acute shortage of gasoline occurs for several days when the authorities refuse to receive a 40,000 tonnes of gasoline cargo which they consider to be contaminated. Soon, queues start to ring around the gas stations and people are forced to park cars, motorcycles and tuk-tuk taxis at home. When new gasoline delays, India sends a ship of 21,000 tonnes.
Buddhist monks attack flying Rohingya
Radical Buddhist monks storm a UN-run refuge for a group of Muslim Rohingya. Among the refugees are 16 children. The monks vandalize the building and UN personnel are forced to relocate the refugees to another location. Rohingya is a Muslim, stateless people group that since the end of August 2017 has moved west from persecution in Myanmar (formerly Burma). The vast majority have stayed in Bangladesh but some stay in countries like India, Nepal and Sri Lanka where they are usually not welcomed but treated poorly.
Natural disasters threaten the economy
The government promises stimulus measures to boost the economy after the severe floods in May and the severe drought that followed. Entrepreneurs are promised subsidized loans and reduced taxes on vehicles, while private individuals are supported to install solar panels and avoid tax on broadband. Around 1.5 million inhabitants have been affected by the floods and drought.
Final sale sign for port sales
Despite widespread opposition, an agreement is being concluded with state-owned Chinese company China Merchants Port Holdings to take over the port of Hambantota, a $ 1.1 billion deal. The government has used tough anti-strike laws to prevent employees from quitting the port in protest of the sale. The opposition from both unions and the opposition has made it delayed before the agreement could be finally concluded.
The military leaves fishing port in Jaffna
The military withdraws from the fishing port of Mayliddy on the Jaffna Peninsula after occupying it for 27 years. Thus, the close to 200 Tamil families who were forced to move from the area in 1990 can return. The civil war between Tamils and Sinhalese ended in 2009, but the government has maintained a large military presence in the old Tamil-dominated war zones in the north.
At least 170 people are killed and almost half a million residents are forced to leave their homes after extensive flooding and landslides triggered by torrents. The floods are believed to be the worst since 2003.
India is investing in port projects
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi sign a cooperation agreement that includes, among other things, India investing in the Sri Lankan port of Trincomalee. Recently, China invested money in the construction of a new port in the city of Hambantota. The two Asian giants India and China compete for influence over Sri Lanka.