Compiled by Savithri Rodrigo


Nisansa Gokaralla calls for policies that would help retain local talent

Q: What are the key features of Sri Lanka today?

A: The country itself is beautiful – with its environment, weather, ancient history, religious harmony, and kind and friendly people.

However, people’s behaviour in the context of not obeying road rules as well as the attitude of university students is questionable. University students make unnecessary and undeserving demands; they have no right to do so because their education is funded by taxpayers.

Our eating habits have also changed in favour of consuming fast food. This has led to the rise of noncommunicable diseases, and a weak and lazy next generation. Waste disposal is a huge environmental issue.

Q: Are there any changes that you see in the spheres of education and healthcare?

A: Our education system must be transformed to align itself with global developments. At present, we study only theory with no corresponding practical knowledge. Examinations aren’t geared to enable students to meet global standards. Although English is an international language, most students lack the requisite knowledge and this hampers their career aspirations.

Nevertheless, our healthcare services have potential with the cost of drugs declining and citizens enjoying free facilities. The ‘1990’ emergency ambulance service is a gift to the people and we need more qualified doctors to meet the demand. 

Q: How can Sri Lanka retain the talent it has and curtail the brain drain?

A: The government must prioritise the formulation of a policy that would curb the brain drain including a plan to prompt those who are already abroad to return.

Talented people must be appreciated and offered maximum benefits so that others will follow them in serving our country. In turn, these individuals must remember that their success came about because they were the beneficiaries of free education – they have an obligation to serve the people whose tax money paved the way for them.

Q: Do we have young leaders who can take the country forward – and what traits should they possess?

A: We do have young leaders to take our country forward. The present set should make way for these young individuals, given that all our leaders since independence have failed.

Young leaders need to be honest, hardworking and ready to guide the country to attain global standards. We have wasted 71 years waiting to achieve the goal of becoming a developed country.

Q: In your opinion, will Sri Lanka be united one day?

A: To be united, all races must live as ‘Sri Lankans.’ All citizens’ documents including birth certificates, identity cards and drivers’ licences should list ‘Sri Lankan’ under the description for ‘race.’

Establishments that segregate students as being part of a ‘Tamil,’ ‘Sinhalese’ or ‘Muslim’ school ought to be shut down. We must learn each other’s languages. If we make these changes, we will become a united country.

Q: What are your expectations of the world and its people?

A: I expect developed nations to unite and help undeveloped countries. The UN should help improve living conditions in poor nations.

Countries manufacturing weapons must agree to stop production and promote peace. Leaders of all countries shouldn’t mix politics with religion. Improvements in technology need to be constructive and not destructive.

Q: Do today’s world leaders live up to your expectations?

A: They most certainly don’t! Most are power hungry and don’t care for their people or countries. Such leaders deceive the very people they were elected to serve, living in luxury and spending taxpayers’ money.

The leaders of developed nations dictate terms to poorer nations, competing with each other and prompting war to prove their supremacy. This leads to the birth of terrorist groups.

Q: What’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the world we live in?

A: Technological improvements are enhancing people’s lives; developed countries are sharing opportunities with developing and poor nations; and states are engaging in bilateral agreements for education, healthcare and finance for development – all of which is the ‘good.’

However, technology is being used for destruction, poisoning young minds and polluting the environment, which will lead to exacerbating climate change and more suffering for many people.

The ‘ugly’ relates to the behaviour and attitude of people, as well as nations, who don’t respect each other; lack discipline; and create disunity. They’re what instigate wars. Unfortunately, developed nations thrive in these situations because they use technology to manufacture weapons and sell them to countries that are at war.