Definition of Youth
The national youth policy (2014) of Sri Lanka defines youth as between 15-29 years.
- Opposite Sex
- Same Sex
- Without parental consent
- with parental consent
Situation of Young People
- 98.36% Male (15-24) %
- 99.17% Female (15-24) %
- Year: 2015
- Source: UNESCO
Net Enrolment RateSecondary School
- 83.37%Male %
- 87.50% Female %
- Year: 2011
- Source: UNESCO
Situation of Young People
Policy & Legislation
The national youth policy (2014) aims “to develop the full potential of young people to enable their active participation in national development for a just and equitable society.” The policy focuses on nine areas for policy intervention: Education; Skills development and vocational training; Youth employment; Civics & citizenship; Youth work; Health & well-being; Social exclusion & discrimination; Peace & reconciliation; Arts, recreation, sports & leisure. A coalition of youth organisations, in an open letter to the Minister on 6 July 2007, were highly critical of the 2007 draft with claims of plagiarism, tokenism and unreflective content. As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Sri Lanka is a signatory of The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE) 2006-2015.
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
Youth and Representation
Budget & Spending
- % of GDP
- % of gov. expenditure
Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).
The growth of assertive Sinhala nationalism after independence fanned the flames of ethnic division, and civil war erupted in the 1980s against Tamils pressing for self-rule.
Most of the fighting took place in the north. But the conflict also penetrated the heart of Sri Lankan society, with Tamil Tiger rebels carrying out devastating suicide bombings in the capital Colombo in the 1990s.
The violence killed more than 70,000 people, damaged the economy and harmed tourism in one of South Asia's potentially most prosperous societies.
International concern was raised about the fate of civilians caught up in the conflict zone during the final stages of the war, the confinement of some 250,000 Tamil refugees to camps for months afterwards, and allegations that the government had ordered the execution of captured or surrendering rebels.
A UN report published in 2011 said both sides in the conflict committed war crimes against civilians. The Sri Lankan government rejected this and later reports as biased.
In September 2013 the main Tamil opposition party won a convincing victory in elections to a devolved provincial council in the north, which was set up after constitutional talks with the government. Commonwealth observers reported army intimidation of voters.The national youth policy (2014) provides a situational analysis of life of youth people in Sri Lanka: Youth demographics
It is estimated that the youth population in Sri Lanka is about 4.4 million or 23% of the total population based on 20121statistics. The youth population by sex indicates that there is an almost equal distribution of 50.23% for males and 49.76% for females.Education
An area of serious concern in education and training is the quality and outputs of education. Enrolment per se is not a satisfactory indicator of the quality of education and training. There are significant regional disparities in educational achievements with sharp difference be- tween the Western Province and other provinces particularly conflict-affected provinces.Youth unemployment
Youth unemployment remains a critical issue for policy makers, youth and their families in Sri Lanka. Unemployment rates in the age group 15-19 years was 20% in 2010 and in the 20-24 age group, 19%. Female unemployment in this age group is also higher than male unemployment.
One of the greatest grievances for youth with regard to the employment issue is that political and social influence is the biggest leverage for obtaining employment. This is particularly so in the public sector but not completely absent in the private sector either. Even in the private sector, belonging to the ‘proper’ social networks, be- comes a key factor in obtaining employment. For these reasons many young people are of the opinion that merit is not as important as having the right connections when it comes to obtaining employment. Instances of irregularity in relation to competitive examination results and recruitment procedures were reported during consultations have consequences beyond the employment sector eroding confidence in public institutions and governance systems.
Using political and social connections in everyday life – for accessing even basic services – has become normalized to a great extent. These circles of patronage are activated at all levels of society. However, this means, that those who for various reasons are unable to access these connections or who are left out of the circles of patronage face exclusion and marginalization seriously affecting even their most basic rights. While young people resent this situation, there appears to be minimal efforts by them to challenge such practices.