The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to grant financial assistance of US$ 200 million for Sri Lanka to implement a Skills Sector Development Program (SSDP) that is aimed at increasing the employability of the Sri Lankan workforce, particularly youth.
The Skills Sector Development Programme has been developed and coordinated by the National Planning Department of Finance and Planning Ministry in 2013 to operationalize government's commitment to expand and improve the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector under the Mahinda Chintana, and the National Human Resource Development and Employment Policy.
According to the ADB, while Sri Lanka is ranked 62 out of 148 countries in terms of quality higher education and training, it is ranked 135 in terms of labor market efficiency with 35 percent of skills identified as a problem factor and constraint for trade.
The World Bank has identified inadequately educated labor as a key constraint to improved growth in Sri Lanka.
The Skills Sector Development Programme aims to establish an efficient skills education system to meet the local and foreign labor market demand by 2020.
The SSDP will develop skills, abilities and competencies of the youth to meet the demand of the global economy and support the country's transition to a knowledge-based economy.
Considering high vacancy for skilled and semiskilled jobs, there is a large opportunity for Sri Lankan workers to access better paying jobs.
The Cabinet has approved the proposal made by the President, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning, to proceed with the relevant activities.