A new book from Manx author Professor Angela W. Little exploring the history of education and learning in Sri Lanka is published this week, the culmination of nearly half a century of research.

'Development, Education and Learning in Sri Lanka: an international research journey' will be published by London-based UCL Press.

Angela, Professor Emerita at University College London Institute of Education, has been involved with education since leaving university in the early 1970s, when she first worked as a teacher in Nigeria before taking a research post at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, after which she trained as a primary school teacher.

Following her return to the Institute, Angela made her first trip to Sri Lanka in 1975 – and so began a close connection with the country.

Angela explained: ‘This book provides glimpses of my research undertaken between 1975 and 2022, a period during which much has changed in Sri Lanka, in the international development community, in the world at large, and in the field of study of development and education.

‘Sri Lanka’s early achievements in education and literacy were often used to measure progress in other parts of the developing world.

Front cover of 'Development, Education and Learning in Sri Lanka'
Front cover of 'Development, Education and Learning in Sri Lanka' (-)

‘The story of development, education and learning in the country provides a fascinating insight into changing fortunes and inequalities in education and the country more generally.

‘My research involved collaborating with researchers across Sri Lanka, in communities, schools, and education offices, and speaking with, amongst others, countless parents, teachers, students, trade union officers and politicians.

‘I wanted to reflect on the changing features of the Sri Lankan education system through comparisons with systems elsewhere, but also through an understanding of national political, economic and social conditions, crises and upheavals and their effects on education policy and inequalities.’

Angela said: ‘Although based on academic research, the book is written in an accessible style with self-contained chapters from which it is easy to pick and choose.

‘I hope that everyone in the Island with an interest either in education or in Sri Lanka, whether through holidays, family connections, or work, will find something of interest.’ 

Born in the island in 1949, Angela attended Rushen Primary School and Castle Rushen High School before studying at the Universities of Surrey, London and Sussex.

She is internationally renowned for her work in primary education policy and practice in developing countries, having also worked in China, Ghana, Ethiopia, India, Malaysia and other countries.

She has been an adviser to many organisations, including the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF and the Swedish International Development Authority, as well as national governments.

‘Development, Education and Learning in Sri Lanka: an international research journey’ will be available in paperback and hardback, but is also available as a free download from Thursday – details of all formats can be found at: https://www.uclpress.co.uk/products/181164