Contented workforce key to success, management expert
By Thushara Matthias
A foreign management expert has called on businesses and other organizations to pay special attention to their employees, saying they will benefit immensely from having a contended workforce.

Dr.Peter Shephard, an expert in “ Whole Brain Management” and “Talent Management”, said Human Resource Development was particularly important in the context of Sri Lanka, as a country just emerging from a turbulent period.

“Human resources are an asset. It has to be developed or else it will depreciate. Talent has to be identified and then nurtured. Or else it will go elsewhere or die,” Dr. Shephard said in an interview with the Sunday Times FT.

Dr. Shephard, the Managing Director of Brain Dominance Technologies Sdn.Bhd, was in Colombo to address a two-day workshop on ”People Power 2002". The workshop covered a wide array of subjects such as talent management, creativity and innovation as a tool for generating sustainable competitive advantage and strategic management.

It was organised by People Power International (Pvt) Ltd and Brain Dominance Technologies Sdn.Bhd, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and sponsored by Ceylinco Insurance Co.Ltd. Taking the example of a seed growing into a healthy tree if sunlight, water and fertilizer are received on time, Shephard compared it to Human Resource Development (HRD).

Shephard said that organisations should carefully draw up a strategic plan to develop human resources. Management should understand the importance of HRD, he added. The employees should be given the opportunity of trying out everything and discovering what they are best at. In this way the organisation will benefit immensely and the employee too will be satisfied without being bored at work.

Ceylinco Insurance ties up with Apollo Hospitals
Ceylinco Insurance, Sri Lanka’s largest private sector insurance company, has joined hands with Apollo Hospitals to offer value-added benefits free of charge to families and members of corporate accounts who are covered by its Suwa Sampatha, a company spokesman, All Suwa Sampatha policyholders are entitled to a complimentary lifetime registration with Unique Hospital Identification to all Apollo Hospitals Worldwide.

A free ambulance service will be made available to customers within Colombo city limits for emergency admission to Apollo Hospital. Also patients are guaranteed a room within the shortest possible time. Furthermore, all ‘Suwa Sampatha’ membership cardholders will have a special facilitation desk at the Hospital.
Also customers will be invited to lectures conducted by Apollo to educate clients on common diseases and lifestyle modification practices.

Ceylinco Suwa Sampatha health insurance covers hospitalization expenses, out patient treatment, laboratory tests, emergency transport to hospitals, and other specialized services.

NDB Bank in Nugegoda
NDB Bank has opened another full-service branch at Nawala road, Nugegoda.
“As a much sought after residential area and fast developing hub of commercial activity, we selected Nugegoda as a prime location for one of our first sub-urban branches”, said NDB Bank’s Chairman, S. K. Wickremesinghe.

The branch will be fully networked with the head office, so transactions will be updated on-line and in real time. It will also be equipped with NDB Bank’s touch-screen Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which uses web-based technology that will enable a host of innovative features in the future.

New journal covers social, economic issues
By Professor Sirimevan S. Colombage,
(Former Director of Statistics, Central Bank of Sri Lanka.)

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) recently launched the maiden issue of its annual journal, VISTAS. This is an outcome of the Faculty’s continuing commitment to enhance its research and teaching capabilities.

With the rapid pace of global integration, the social, cultural, technological and economic landscape of Sri Lanka has been changing swiftly. Although these changes have facilitated the socio-economic progress of the country in general, there have been a negative fall-out as well.

The knowledge gap between the rich and the poor, digital divide, deteriorating quality of education, inadequate skills development, social inequity, poverty, human rights violations, youth unrest, child abuse, violence and drug addiction are some of the problems faced by our society today. A proper understanding of these emerging quandaries is needed to find ways and means to deal with such adverse consequences.

The academic community has an obligation, in addition to its routine functions, to investigate these problems and to create public awareness. Regrettably, there is a severe dearth of such research in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the universities, in particular, have been criticized for the paucity of research and their inability to contribute to national-level policy making. In this context, the path-breaking initiative taken by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the OUSL not only to inspire such research but also to disseminate its research findings to a wider audience through this journal is commendable.

The journal contains several research papers and a few research communications. They cover a wide array of current issues including teaching techniques, youth empowerment, gender equity, children’s rights, human rights and poverty.
Several authors have focused on various teaching methods in their papers in this journal.

In her paper, Dinali Devendra looks at the readability of a text on the comprehension of a particular type of cohesion, called reference, in teaching English as a secondary language. Based on a sample survey of students in the post-graduate diploma education programme of the OUSL, T.S. Fernando concludes that a majority of the students indicate an improvement of their teaching competence.

Focusing on the tutor comments on essay type assignments of the same diploma programme, Dayalatha Lekamge and Swarna Jayatilleke make several recommendations to improve the programme. Anne Gold, Elanie Unterhalter and Louise Morley of the University of London, in their paper, have addressed the question of managing gender balance in higher education across the Commonwealth.

As regards human rights, the paper by Asoka Silva sheds light on the European Convention on Human Rights. He analyzes the political background that gave rise to the Convention, and also examines the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention. Rohana Ratnayake, in his presentation, looks at the problems of representing children’s rights in judicial proceedings.

The journal has not ignored the socioeconomic problems faced by the country today. Recognizing the need to integrate youth into development programmes as a means to poverty alleviation as well as to conflict prevention, Markus Mayer investigates the potential of social science graduates to act as facilitators of development activities. Upali Vidanapathirana examines the nexus between poverty and indebtedness in two peasant communities using micro-level data.

The research communications contained in this volume have focused on labour in small tea holdings (by A. S. Chandrabose), students’ perceptions and reactions (by D. Devendra and V. Medawattegedera), gender analysis of managers (by R.M.J. George), web-based learning materials (by S. Karunanayake) and second language academic listening comprehension (by V. Medawattegedera).

Given the diversity of issues covered and their in-depth analysis, VISTAS will provide valuable reference material for teachers, students, researchers and policy makers.
A number of journals were launched by the universities and various research organizations in Sri Lanka in the past, but many of them failed to continue for long owing to various reasons. I sincerely hope that the same fate will not fall upon this valued journal.

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