Mr Ryotaro Hayashi
Social Sector Economist, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Ryotaro Hayashi is social sector economist working for Asian Development Bank (ADB). He has been working for mainly postsecondary education projects and knowledge products in South Asia, especially Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan for the last 7 years. Before joining ADB, he worked for World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). He has MSc Social Policy and Development from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with distinction.

Digital Transformation Readiness of Sri Lanka Higher Education

Sri Lanka made a remarkable transition to online higher education soon after the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing free internet access to university web servers during the initial pandemic period was instrumental for this change. The online higher education also became a lifeline for students to continue higher education during the recent economic crisis. However, nation-wide online higher education survey results suggested challenges such as students’ fatigue, poor internet connection and lack of access to digital devices. Increasing student migration requires structural higher education reforms to deliver quality courses with international recognition. The rising youth unemployment also calls for new digital approaches in higher education to align with industry demands by using high frequency data. Changing the mindsets and attitudes of all stakeholders is critical to reimagine higher education under unprecedented crisis in Sri Lanka.