Category Archives: Abstracts

Papers abstracts

Causal Relationship between Macroeconomic Variables and Banking Sector Stock Returns: Empirical Evidence from the Colombo Stock Exchange

A.A.M.D. Amarasinghe


This study examines the causal relationship between macroeconomic variables and returns in the banking sector. Interest rate, exchange rate, and money supply are selected as macroeconomic variables because they are highly related with the activities of banks. Data on macroeconomic variables is collected from the publications of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka from January 2006 to December 2015. The Bank, Finance and Insurance (BFI) sector index is taken from the Colombo Stock Exchange website to calculate stock returns. The Augmented Dickey Fuller Test is used to check the stationary value of the time series data set. Results show that share returns are stationary at level and all macroeconomic variables are stationary at first difference. The Granger Causality Test is used to determine causality among variables. The results indicate a one way causality between share returns and exchange rate, a one way causality between money supply and share returns, and no causality between share returns and interest rate. Using causality results, variables are identified as independent and dependent to run regressions to identify the effects of each variable. Regression results show that there is a significant impact of exchange rate on stock returns as well as a significant impact of share returns on money supply. Investors are advised to key in on exchange rate changes when investing money in banking sector companies.

Keywords: banking sector, exchange rate, interest rate, money supply

Exploration of Recent Land Use and Land Cover Changes of the Bentota River Basin in Sri Lanka

Ranjana U.K. Piyadasa, Gayani Ranasinghe


Land is one of the most important natural resources for the survival and prosperity of humankind, and it is the platform on which human activities take place. The terms land use and land cover are not synonymous and the literature draws attention to their differences so that they are used properly in studies of land use and land cover change. However, the distinction between land use and land cover, although relatively easy to make at a conceptual level, is not so straightforward in practice as available data do not make this distinction clearly all the time, a fact that complicates the analysis of either one of them. Taking into account the available land use data, this study is carried out to explore both land use and land cover change from 1983 to 2013 of the Bentota River basin located between the Western and Southern Provinces of Sri Lanka. Changes in both the qualitative as well as the quantitative characteristics of land use are described considering the extent of land use and the level of detail conditioned by the spatial level of analysis and the availability of requisite data. Temporal mixed land use diversity of the area was examined calculating land use ‘entropy’ values for different time periods. Findings indicate that 80% of paddy lands of the Bentota basin have been abandoned and converted into marshes, grasslands and scrubs. Tea and cinnamon are the emerging crops, while rubber and coconut lands in the area are seeing a reduction. The level of mixed land use diversity of the area during the last three decades is similar. Future land use activities of the area will consist of water retention areas, commercial use, recreational use, and tourist activity use due to the upcoming Dedduwa Lake Tourism Development Project.

Keywords: Entropy value, Land use and Land cover change

The Invisible Reality of Technological Changes in Agriculture in the Postcolonial World: A Discourse Analysis

M.K.L. Irangani, R.P.I.R. Prasanna

The historical discourse on the factors that influenced technological changes in agriculture in the postcolonial world is widely questioned today. This paper attempts to open a new discourse on the historical factors that influenced technological changes in agriculture in third-world countries. It critically reviews both primary and secondary historical sources to derive the basic argument of the thesis and to test the research hypothesis regarding the effectiveness of the existing theoretical underpinning (the population-food race) in order to determine its sufficiency to interpret technological changes in agriculture that took place in the postcolonial world. In the larger view, this study views postcolonial technological changes in agriculture as a new form of western ethnocentric imperialism, from colonial to economic, with liberal economic values and principles. From a minor perspective, US geopolitical and military concerns are recognized as supporting this new, postcolonial economic imperialism, particularly as a tool against communist imperialism. The paper recognizes the thus-far-accepted theoretical foundation (the population-food race) to be inadequate for interpreting technological changes in agriculture in third-world countries. Finally, this paper’s review of historical information supports a view that technological change was a revolutionary attempt by western countries to promote postcolonial economic imperialism. Thus, visible factors such as the population-food race are not closely related to the reality, while invisible factors such as US foreign policy and geopolitical and military concerns, global corporate capital, and global institutional setups provide supporting evidence for the new form of imperialism—economic—in the postcolonial world.

Keywords: agriculture, economic imperialism, ethnocentric imperialism, food-population race, postcolonial world, technological change, third-world countries

Dynamic Trends of Intensity of Rainfall Extremes in Sri Lanka

R.M.S.S.Sanjeewani, Lasantha Manawadu


Changes in extreme weather and climate events are among the most serious challenges to society in coping with a changing climate. Occurrence of extreme rainfall events with higher intensity accomplishing flash floods is becoming a common phenomenon. It is timely important, identifying spatial and temporal characteristics of intensity of extreme rainfall events by countries. Maximum 5 day rainfall (Rx-5day) is an effective index which leads to identify intensity of rainfall extreme events, recommended by World Meteorological Organization. This considers the highest total rainfall within a consecutive 5 day period. This study focuses on spatial and temporal characteristics of Rx-5day in Sri Lanka from 1981 to 2010.  Daily rainfall data collected from Meteorological Department, Sri Lanka is used in the study and extremes are calculated using RClimDex 1.0 package, designed by Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI). IDW interpolation technique in GIS, non-parametric Mann Kendall test is used to analyze the significance of trends. Average maximum 5-day rainfall values ranges between 100mm-400mm. Among the severest extremes, Colombo is accounted by the highest value in 2010. Spatially, Rathnapura, Rathmalana, Colombo are highly affected by these extremes. Temporally there is an emergent increase of this index after 2002. Annual maximum consecutive five day rainfall predicates significant increasing trends in Batticaloa, Colombo, Hambanthota, Rathmalana and Trincomalee. Variation of Monsoonal regimes seems rely on variations of this index. These detections of trends of spatial and temporal patterns of rainfall extremes thus facilitate in decision making and planning related to disaster management and development in Sri Lanka. Keywords – Extreme rainfall events, ETCCDI, GIS, Non- parametric Mann Kendall trend test, spatial pattern, temporal trends

Keywords: Extreme rainfall events, ETCCDI, GIS, Non- parametric Mann Kendall trend test, spatial pattern, temporal trends


Illogicalities between Contraceptive Use and Recent Fertility Dynamics in Sri Lanka

Professor Lakshman Dissanayake


Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a rise in Total Fertility Rate (TFR) but no accurate scientific elucidation has hitherto been given in order to demonstrate why such an increase is observed after TFR arrived at the replacement level of fertility. This study shows that older women are left out of discussions on contraceptive use in Sri Lanka and that has made the increase of recent fertility mainly due to the increase of fertility of older women.  Most women in the latter part of the childbearing perceived that they are at a minimum risk of conception because of infrequent sex, and perhaps they are infertile at those ages. In addition, however the increase of fertility by older women in tsunami-affected districts due to fertility adjustment behaviour coupled with the recommencement of the postponed fertility behaviour in the conflict-affected districts with the conclusion of the war could be the other major reasons for the recent fertility increase in Sri Lanka.

Keywords: Fertility, Contraceptive use, Older Women, Total Fertility Rate, Conflict-affected Areas, Tsunami-affected Areas

Challenges of Sri Lankan Buddhist scholarly tradition to create Sri Lanka as the hub of Pali and Buddhist education

Ven. Medawachchiye Dhammajothi


This article is for the purpose of examining the challenges that Buddhist scholars have to face when making Sri Lanka a hub of education. These challenges can be understood in two areas. They are: Challenge of language skills and Challenge of subjects’ knowledge. Original Theravada Buddhist tradition is unique to Sri Lanka. Its sources have been preserved in Pali language. Thus, the knowledge of Pali language is compulsory for the study of Buddhism. During the Anuradhapura period Sanskrit language came into vogue. So, study of Pali, and Sanskrit Languages and teachings prescribed by them is the challenge for Sri Lankan Buddhist scholar tradition. During the colonial period English language influenced Sri Lankan Buddhist education. Today, as English has become more prominent as an international language acquisition of fluency in English is the challenge faced by Sri Lankan Buddhist scholars. As an immense amount of researches have been done in English, English language knowledge with Pali and Sanskrit turned to be a decisive factor in Sri Lankan Buddhist scholasticism. However, as Buddhist research stands at present proficiency in English with a sound knowledge of Pali and Sanskrit is not enough. Since, Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan are recognized as primary source languages for Buddhist studies, knowing these four languages and doing comparative researches on literature written in these languages is a new arena for Buddhist scholar tradition. So, the aim of this paper is to examine challenges faced by Sri Lankan Buddhist scholar tradition in the past and present and try to discuss its path and direction towards the building of Sri Lanka as a hub of Buddhist education.

Ceylon, The Likely Blueprint of Thomas More’s Utopia

Professor Laksiri Fernando


Thomas More’s Utopia published in 1516 was the first discourse on socialism in the modern era, based on a critique of emerging capitalism in England and the description of a well ordered and an egalitarian alternative society in an imaginary Island of Utopia. Utopia is an enigmatic treatise because of its futuristic vision, extremely witty literary style, combining fact and fiction, and numerous unanswered questions. Although written as a semi-fiction, mainly to avoid censorship, like in many other works of this genre, the connection between the description of the island and a travel narrative cannot be denied, and in fact admitted, although the island is not clearly identified, only leaving some clues.
This article argues, after examining the clues given and the circumstances under which it was conceived and written, that the likely ‘blueprint’ of Thomas More’s Utopia was Ceylon, either the information directly obtained from a Portuguese traveller, or more likely from a traveller’s monograph. This argument is substantiated based on, not only the carefully analysed similarities of the size, the capital city, the rivers, the most natural harbour (i.e. Trincomalee) and historical legend, but also the family institution, social customs, way of life and religious practices. The article also extrapolates, although not investigated in full for lack of space, that More’s imagination must have been triggered by the fact that Ceylon at that time was pre-capitalist or ‘Asiatic’ in a Marxian sense of the word and not commercialized. Perhaps this was one reason for the imbalance of More’s discourse, on the one hand socialist and on the other, totalitarian or Asiatic.

The effectiveness of group dynamics in English language classrooms

Shashinie M.T.Wijayadharmadasa


In English language classrooms, the most notable aspect would be the fact that the majority of students remain silent during the lesson. Only a few bolder students would speak up and ask questions to clarify something they do not understand. English language in Sri Lanka could be considered to be either our second or sometimes foreign language. Hence, students have varied problems and challenges with the language in the classroom. With English being introduced as the medium of instruction at higher education institutions, the demand for the language is ever increasing. Students who come from rural areas of the country and those who have had very little exposure to the language find this very challenging. Hence they are afraid to use the language in their classrooms, fearing they would be laughed at or reprimanded if errors are made. These preconceived notions have thus inhibited students from speaking in English which is mandatory for their higher studies and employment. A novel method of using group work in language classrooms has become a very effective way of getting students to communicate. Commonly known as Collaborative learning, this method has encouraged more and more language teachers to incorporate group activities into their lessons as there are more positive benefits than negative aspects to language learning. Although there may be some disadvantages to this teaching method, it has proven to be one of the most beneficial ways for students to master language.

Salinity, pH and Turbidity changes of water in the Negombo lagoon



The Negombo lagoon is a lagoonal estuary, situated in the Gampaha District. It receives surface water runoff mainly from the Dandugam Oya, Ja-ela, Hamilton Canal, and the Dutch Canal. The present study was carried out to identify salinity, pH and turbidity of water in the lagoon during October 2012 and March 2013. Sampling was carried out in 20 locations.The overall average salinity levels of water varied between 15.34ppt and 15.53ppt in the surface and middle layers of the lagoon and 17.23ppt in the bottom layer. pH of water of all three layers fluctuated between 7.68 and 7.75. The highest overall average turbidity of water was 24.99 NTU that was recorded in the bottom layers. Average turbidity levels fluctuated between 10.44 NTU and 12.89 NTU in the surface and middle layers.Spatially, water salinity decreased from the outlet towards the southern periphery of the lagoon due to dilution. However, it was comparatively high in the south west region possibly due to the influx of water from the Hamilton Canal. Water salinity increased from top to bottom of the lagoon due to the density of water. In the northern half of the lagoon, a relatively high pH was observed. However, a considerable relationship of pH could not be identified from surface to bottom layers during the considered period. The turbidity of lagoon water demonstrated an increasing trend from the northern outlet towards the southern fringe. The water in the lagoon appears to be directly influenced by the sediment discharged by Dandugam Oya, Ja-Ela Canal, and Hamilton Canal. Based on the salinity, pH and turbidity of the wate,r the Negombo lagoon can be differentiated into two regions. Overall, the spatial distributions of salinity and pH levels of lagoon water have a negative relationship with turbidity.

The application of mind mapping as a technique to enhance collaborative, creative, and innovative learning among Geography undergraduates

Ananda Karunarathne


Mind mapping can be considered a method that helps students to enhance and accelerate their learning capacity effectively in a creative and innovative manner. This method is also popular as an efficient brainstorming technique. Tony Buzan (founder of the strategy) pointed out that it is an extremely effective technique for sharpening the thinking and learning process. Thus the aim of this study was to apply the mind mapping technique to enhance collaborative, creative, and innovative learning among Geography undergraduates. In this context, the technique was applied to the first year undergraduates who followed the Cartography Course Unit (GYG 1102 / GYG 1202) at the Department of Geography, University of Colombo in 2012. All the students of the Cartography Course Unit were included in the study (population = sample). According to literature, this technique has not been tried out with Geography undergraduates in Sri Lanka. The resultant mind maps revealed that the students were able to think and analyze one aspect from different perspectives (angles) very creatively. This was the main benefit that they obtained from this practice. The technique was also identified as one of the best techniques that can be applied in many situations of the learning process. Analysis of students feedback revealed that 86 per cent of students identified mind mapping as an active, creative, and collaborative learning technique. The practice enabled students to be more innovative in their learning process. Some students supposed that they can apply the technique successfully to another situation also and some expressed that they can relate the experience significantly in different contexts. Mind mapping was identified as an effective practice that helped students to enhance their learning capacity.