Social indicators high but society in crisis
by Thava Sajitharan
19 JUNE 2005
"For a low to middle income level country, Sri Lanka is highly rated for its outstanding achievements in the social sector" said Western Australia University Emeritus Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya in his keynote address at the inauguration of the Social Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SPARC) established by the Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo.
The event was held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute recently. Addressing many scholars and academics on 'Changing ideas of social policy' the Professor said 'on a variety of social indicators such as life expectancy, rates of literacy and morality rates, Sri Lanka ranks as a pioneering welfare State in the third world."
He further expressed his disappointment that "these ideas find no resonance in the Sri Lankan literature or in its political and policy circles."
Presenting an introduction to SPARC along with his colleague Dr. Marcus Mayer, Prof. S. T. Hettige said "we are in a crisis as we have failed to address aspects of Social Policy.".
SPARC is the culmination of the 'Improving Capacities for Poverty and Social Policy Research (IMCAP)' program launched by the Colombo University in 2000. 'It will facilitate collaboration between the academics and institutions outside the University system in order to integrate research, training policy analysis and advocacy on areas of social and economic development' Dr. Mayer said in the introduction.