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DP Education a shining example for corporate Lanka 

Higher education, skills development and technical training providers are central to create productive employment opportunities for our young people. They prepare mostly young people for work in the formal and informal sector and therefore play an important role in helping to build a quality talent pool for the country. The better the training and the skill levels are, higher the income and economic returns and also the better the quality of livelihoods. 

Education and skills attainment in Sri Lanka, which in the early 60s, the time Dhammika Perera was born, was far better than that of countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea, in the last 20 years has fallen far behind these countries, undermining the country’s growth prospects. Sri Lanka therefore faces several challenges that we need to solve if we are to achieve and sustain a growth rate of over 5%, post-COVID-19. These challenges are well-known to our policymakers. 



Dhammika Perera 

I have in the last few years worked with businessman Dhamikka Perera to plan and execute several policy interventions to strengthen the TEVET and public sectors. He recognised very early in his career that human capital has to be the strategic driver for inclusive economic growth to help Sri Lanka become and remain competitive as a middle-income country. His commitment to share his knowledge and expertise gained in both the public and private sectors was clearly evident with the numerous HR interventions he organised with the NHRDC to improve the effectiveness of the public sector. 

So, it was not a surprise when he launched Dhammika and Priscilla Foundation – (DP) Education. By doing so he has followed the example set by several international foundations that works to help thousands of young people to lead productive lives and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of poverty. DP Education will certainly help those with limited access to limited resources—to have access to educational opportunities and knowledge they need to succeed in school, in vocational education and their university life. Improving the overall quality of education is a challenging task in Sri Lanka. Limited progress has been made despite the several reports presented to several governments. 



Importance of DP Education

The online education launched by DP Education according to the founder is a free online education portal. DP Education is a first-of-its-kind platform on which the entire school curriculum is available for students to study online for free. Given the challenges Sri Lanka has in delivering consistently a high level of teaching quality and content, the platform will certainly help to bridge the delivery and consistency gap. Today, the FT reported that the first and only free online software engineering course was introduced by a joint initiative by University of Moratuwa, DP Education and Computer Society of Sri Lanka. The IT course is targeted for GCE O/L and A/L students and all IT undergraduates. This latest initiative is timely, give the need to strengthen and grow Sri Lanka’s IT talent pool.



Future 

Emerging countries like Sri Lanka that are looking to aggressively build their export bases will need to prepare a large number of people to work in the industry. However, to maximise the value of the investments we need to know our current talent gaps, upcoming skills shortages and understand the impact of digital and social media infusion on trade and business. Therefore, the investments we make now in education will contribute significantly to our future success. A few more interventions and collaborations will certainly help Sri Lanka to fast-track educational attainment.

In the final analysis, Dhammika Perera has clearly demonstrated his philosophy that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. The meaning of this famous Chinese proverb is that it is better to do something about an issue than just complain about it. His intervention is a shining example for corporate Sri Lanka, that is often accused of being only profit-seeking and the selfishness and bad practices demonstrated occasionally by some, resulting in the entire private sector being branded as only profit-driven.

DAILY FT

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