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About SEF

Learn more about us, where we came from, and where we're headed

Problem Statement

Sri Lankan Education is a fundamental right afforded to the public and its strength is demonstrated in our high adult literacy rate of 96.3% (circa 2015). However, due to the rapid improvement in technology, global industries are evolving at a spectacular pace, traditional career paths and rigid learning curriculums are no longer proving to be effective. Education systems are required to be agile and scalable with the capability to adjust to our rapidly changing macro environments. Countries like India have had first mover advantage in capitalising on demand for outsourcing, utilizing their high skilled graduates creating a $150 billion industry.

The inability to keep up with change creates a mismatch of education and employability skills leading to the significant unemployment of local graduates where:

  • Most Sri Lankan graduates lack exposure to international industry and academic standards due to low innovation, comprehension and problem solving skills.
  • Local graduates have less resources to get mentoring from elites in their respective fields to assist with identifying and developing career paths.
  • The local research industry in Sri Lanka is not strong compared to other countries and is underfunded leading to not enough students taking up research as a career path.
  • There is no proper path to apply for top tier international Universities for Sri Lankan graduates.

Lack of infrastructure and access to fulfilling opportunities has led to one of the most prevalent issues faced by Sri Lanka currently and that is the struggle to retain highlighly skilled labour. This is known as Brain Drain.

“One of the biggest under-used opportunities Sri Lanka has is to reverse the brain drain.” {: .fs-6 .fw-300 } ~ Jan Metzger, Capital Market and Advisory Head - Citi Bank Asia Pacific Banking, Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2019

The World Bank (2011) identified Sri Lanka as one among the top five emigrating countries of tertiary educated persons in South Asia. The stock of emigrants as a percentage of the population in 2005 was estimated as 4.5. Emigration of tertiary-educated from Sri Lanka was the highest (with 27.5%), followed by Afghanistan (13.2%), Pakistan (9.2%), Bangladesh (4.7%) and India (4.2%), among the South Asian countries. The number of physicians who had emigrated from Sri Lanka in 2005 was 1,663 which is 17.4% of physicians trained in the country.

What is SEF?

The Sustainable Education Foundation (SEF) is a volunteer driven not for profit organisation founded by former Google Student Ambassador and alumnus of the University of Moratuwa, Akshika Wijesundara. SEF was founded with the short term goal of making the Sri Lankan education system the most effective and most dynamic education system in the world with the help of a specialist global network of local and expat Sri Lankans. SEF’s long term goal is to disrupt and democratise the global education system where it is available for everyone, in doing so, the foundation contributes to the United Nations’ sustainable development goal of “Quality Education”. You can visit our Facebook page to see our hub of activity and our website for more details.