Monday, February 26, 2018

The Brain Drain and Retention of our Talent within Sri Lanka

As I noted in my earlier blog entry, today, engaging a group of 10 intelligent University of Moratuwa, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture, First and Second Year Students in a general discussion about their project and their intended profession, all detailed in the previous blog entry, I will concentrate on the final matter that I challenged them on, just before departing.

I made the direct charge that even these Sinhala Speaking Students, (I had my whole half hour discussion in Sinhala) would once they have qualified as Architects, very enthusiastic and intelligent males and females among them, that “50% would be living and working overseas in 5 years!”

They all, in UNISON refuted my charge, saying they will never leave. I said please remember what I told you today, in 5 years, and wonder why I made that charge.

I said, you will find that all your enthusiasm and hope you have displayed today, with me about your esteemed profession, where you WANT to make a difference in the lives of the people of Sri Lanka, to design and build, well -constructed, aesthetically pleasing, utilitarian buildings, using the best value for money materials for the purposes it is intended, and be mighty proud - you will instead find too many BARRIERS TO YOUR WISHES.

That is what will drive you outside these shores in frustration as the opportunities that open up for you as architects in other countries MAY be better and far too enticing, than available at home.

If you want that expectation or prediction NOT to be true, then it is up to you to change the system. You agreed that an attitude change is required in Sri Lanka today, well then it is up to you to make that change, as it is the Youth who can collectively demand that change from society. Not by bearing arms, but by persuasion of argument and force of numbers, all speaking with the same voice.

You have to be united on your purpose, and not allow your detractors to divide you in your goal. You can then succeed beyond all our expectation and we may not be alive to see that happen, as we are on our way out, while you are just getting yourself firmly set in your foundation.

Take the challenge, don’t just agitate for useless demands put on you by others who don’t represent you. Make your own demand for change, you will win!



Dulangamari said...

100% agreed……

Anonymous said...

how will they migrate if they don't speak English? your barriers comment is true, and it's a shame that the onus is on these young people to create an environment where they can thrive with their new knowledge and talents. It's the only way forward, however, so good luck!

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

Has language ever been a barrier to Sri Lankans? Remember they are first year students, who understand English as their subjects are taught in English and books are in English. I was discussing the Spanish Architect Gaudi with them, which I failed to note on my blog, and they had heard about him and I said I had used his designs on my door and window designs and how they actually blend in with the local design!

Don't worry once they go through their internship in English they will become proficient, though at present like most with a limited knowledge don't like to speak, for fear of making mistakes, another of our bad habits where some make fun of their grammar instead of encouraging their attempts

Anonymous said...

By voting for the BUD the people clearly have voted with their feet for a divisive agenda that hates foreigners and minorities.

Clearly Sri Lanka has NO future for foreigners and minorities. So they will move out, minorities who live here, and run their Sri Lankan companies from overseas, and no new foreign investment will move in, and so so locally capable people will have NO openings because there is no faith in the economy. They will also go overseas, leaving a country full of racist people who cannot work, and don't want to work, that is the chosen path for Sri Lanka, and if they are happy with that thats fine too. Just don't complain they have no development, it will not happen.

Anyone who can do any work will leave the island

If the foreign credit rating drops and the interest rates rise on debt, the best option then is to default and close the borders and live on rats and mice, that is the choice of the people after all.

Anonymous said...

Very important article - And agree 100% with you - There are too many barriers here - But bringing them down will be very difficult since there are many who use these barriers for their gain.

Learning another language is not a barrier. A colleague of mine at freshman year knew only Sinhala. Later he did his Masters in Denmark and his PhD in Japan. Now conversant in many languages. These guys are smart. But not smart enough to bring down the barriers.