but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done
The Sector Skills Councils, which obviously are more practical than government bureaucrats about getting value for money, all found the Skills Gap analysis which GreenTech had prepared deplorable. But I suspect that, had I not been there, they would have been commandeered into validating it. The former TVEC official who seemed to run the Sector Skills Development Project as far as outputs was concerned – understandably enough because he seemed the only person in the Project with actual experience of vocational training – thought that accepting it but suggesting some changes was necessary.
When I told the first Council that I attended that I was ashamed of the Report and felt TVEC could not recommend it, but they should decide what they felt, he obviously thought I had queered his pitch and later accused me into practically dragooning the Councils into rejecting the Report. The fact that they made detailed criticisms of the Report meant nothing to him, since his principal concern was delivering what he thought the World Bank and the ADB wanted, which was a validated report.
I can see why he behaved the way he did, because these agencies have continued to behave in Pavlovian fashion about what they term validation. In fact ADB, which is headed by an intelligent and sensitive Korean lady, had decided that GreenTech was useless and had immediately commissioned another report through ILO, which had been entrusted to Prof Chandrasiri of Colombo University, along with Ramani Gunatilleke, whom I knew slightly, enough to know that she was a serious and competent academic. When I read through the Report they produced, I found it incisive and remarkably helpful with regard to the further actions that were needed.
It was also quite clear about where the main problem lay. It stated categorically in the introduction that ‘Going by recent sector-wide skills assessments, it appears that Sri Lanka’s general education system is failing to develop the cognitive skills of large numbers of its graduates. It has also failed to impart several urgently needed technical skills such as the ability to write and communicate clearly in even the mother tongue, let alone English. Therefore as a first step, the general education system needs to be overhauled in such a way that it shifts out of the business of imparting facts and moves into building the skills necessary to process and analyse facts, make connections and see the big picture, and then communicate the analysis clearly and succinctly through presentations and report writing. ‘ Continue reading