Under the guidance of Griffith University academics, statisticians from Sri Lanka’s Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) are poised to play a vital role in raising the awareness of the economic status of some of their country’s poorest regions and assist policy makers to identify the problems these regions are facing.
Twenty DCS officials are currently undertaking a four-week Australia Awards Fellowship at Griffith University to learn how best to analyse and report on statistical information gathered during Sri Lanka’s most recent economic census.
The reports will be used by Sri Lanka’s policy makers to identify those areas of the country most in need of development.
The Fellowship, which has been designed by Associate Professor Jay Bandaralage from the Griffith Business School and delivered with assistance from Griffith’s International Business Development Unit, develops participants’ skills in compiling systematic macro and microeconomic data sets and analysing macro and microeconomic data such as poverty data, evaluation investment in infrastructure, and economic modelling.
Deputy Director of DCS’s Industry Trade and Services division, Uthayakumary Maheswaran said that as a statistician she would like to better the living conditions and meet actual needs of the Sri Lankan people by producing accurate and timely statistics, an urgent requirement in the development of the country.
She said Sri Lanka’s rapid economic development after three decades of civil conflict meant it was necessary to seek financial and technical assistance from developed countries and that the program would allow the delegates to examine and replicate some of Australia’s economic systems in Sri Lanka.
‘Currently Sri Lanka does not have a Statistical Business Registry (SBR), and we are working to establish one together with other stakeholders. It will be beneficial to study the SBR of Australia which is one of the better systems in the world.’
DCS Statistician, Manjula Kumara Ekanayake, said ongoing assistance from the Griffith University training team would allow them to maintain the theoretical knowledge and practical experiences developed while on the study tour.
The Fellowship is aligned with the goal of Australia’s aid program in Sri Lanka, which is focused on building skills, integrating war-affected areas into national and international economies, strengthening institutions, expanding infrastructure, and reconciliation through government allocation of peace dividends to all Sri Lankans.
The Australian Government funds Australia Awards Fellowships administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They aim to build capacity and strengthen partnerships between Australian organisations and partner organisations in eligible developing countries in support of key development and foreign affairs priorities.
By providing short-term study, research and professional development opportunities in Australia, mid-career professionals and emerging leaders can tap into Australian expertise, gaining valuable skills and knowledge.