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Skill Formation Regimes in South Asia

A Comparative Study on the Path-Dependent Development of Technical and Vocational Education and Training for the Garment Industry


Markus Maurer

In the face of accelerated economic globalisation, many of the industries in economically less developed countries have become more technology-intensive. Skill formation processes, both inside and outside firms, are therefore changing. This study scrutinises such transformations by comparing – from the perspective of historical institutionalism – the skill formation regimes of the garment industries in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It sheds light on the differences between the trajectories of the in-firm skill formation regimes of the two countries, and reveals the important part that varying paths of educational development in both countries have played in shaping these trajectories. At the same time, the study shows how, in both countries, state-led skill formation regimes have been transformed not only by market forces and the growing importance of corporate business interests, but also by the social demand for educational credentials.


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PART C SRI LANKA THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE REGIME IN SRI LANKA THE POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE REGIME BEFORE ECONOMIC LIBERALISATION In contrast to most other parts of the Indian subcontinent, the colonial administration of Ceylon did not face many hostilities prior to the de- colonisation process, which was also not as marred by violent conflicts between the different political, ethnic and religious groups as other areas in the region.217 The transition was smoothened by a number of continui- ties that outlasted the colonial period, after Sri Lanka gained independ- ence from the British Empire in 1948 while still formally remaining un- der the British crown. On the one hand, the political elite basically re- mained the same; politics continued to be the preserve of the anglicised representatives of the Tamil and the Singhalese communities, which had increased their influence since the British had granted universal adult franchise in the early 1930s.218 Clearly, the subsequent socio-political movement that pressed for Ceylonese autonomy and for increased social equity was initiated by the Singhalese elite and catered to the interests of the poorer strata of the Singhalese population, whose political support had become crucial for local politicians following the introduction of 217 Sumantra Bose, “Decolonization and State Building in South Asia”, in: Journal of International Affairs 58 (2004), pp. 95-113, in particular p. 108. 218 Laksiri Jayasuriya, Welfarism and Politics in Sri Lanka: Experience of a Third World Welfare State (Perth: University of Western Australia, 2000), p. 95; Kele- gama,...

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