Go Forward

LANKA DEVA Ushanthi Manjula Zoysa

 October 19, 2021

Name LANKA DEVA Ushanthi Manjula Zoysa
Country Sri Lanka
Present position, department/division, and organization Assistant Director, Department of National Planning, Ministry of Economic Policies and Plan Implementation
Date of completion September 2020

Q.1: During the past one month, is the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in your country increasing, or decreasing?

The confirmed cases of COVID-19 were decreased during the month of September 2021 compared to the previous months.

Q.2: In past several months, did your government declared and introduced strict measures to restrict movements or actions of general public? If yes, what were they?


  • The quarantine curfew was imposed in the country from time to time depending on the severity of COVID confirmed cases and death roll. Sometimes, passengers allowed to travel within the province by their own vehicle for necessary activities.
  • The use of Public transport, arranging group gatherings such as weddings, funerals, meetings, seminars, workshops, and other ceremonies were suspended.
  • Opening of Shopping malls, bars, hotels, restaurants, and guest houses was prohibited and food and other necessities were distributed through the several permitted government authorities.
  • Wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing is compulsory when people go out.
  • The authority called employees for duty only for essential services and others performed their duties online. In addition, when calling officers for duty to government institutions in the above manner, steps had been taken not to call pregnant officers, breastfeeding mothers, and officers with particular illnesses. Such officers should be called for duty only in urgent situations and, in such cases, they have provided with special facilities and allowed a special time to arrive at the workplace and depart.
  • All schools, private classes, and all educational institutions were closed and introduce online learning method.
  • Action had taken to introduce modern technologies instead of notes and coins in money transaction.
  • Public should submit their vaccination card when requested by the authorities.
  • Offering snacks and tea during meetings was temporarily suspended due to health concerns.
  • Travel Restrictions inbound international passenger flights are operational with protocols. These travelers must quarantine for 14 days at designated sites upon arrival.
  • Most outbound passengers must take RT-PCR tests within 72 hours before departure; foreign nationals and holders of official or diplomatic visas may be exempt. International passenger ships, such as cruise liners and ferries were barred indefinitely; however, ports are operating for cargo transport. Foreigners already in Sri Lanka may apply to extend their visas.

Q.3: How have your life and work changed because of COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic especially the 3rd wave has changed my both daily life and professional life too. Living through a global pandemic has driven dramatic shifts in my jobs, eating habits, childcare, and even our collective sense of time. Since May, I am working from home due to health guidelines published by the government. I feel I have saved my time for household work and child care because I have saved 6 hours per day to office commuting time.

However, online work is boring and I have spent too much time in needless meetings during the past few months. I think face-to-face contact is crucial for generating new ideas. Isolation separated co-workers, friends, and relatives, almost completely, from the routine and events that usually root our lives in a time.

Q4: What do you think are necessary for the society of your country to prepare for / to deal with another pandemic expected to happen in the future?

I think the general public must follow the health guidelines as habits not forcefully. I observed that some people think that it is not their responsibility and they do not care the others' health. First, must improve the discipline, and then the government can control any pandemic with a disciplined society. Since 2019, the government had taken several measures and conduct several programs to get rid of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it was not successful due to un-respectful people. Most of the activities and programs are conducted by the SL three forces. To tackle another pandemic in the future, the government should pre-prepare the necessary infrastructure identified through this COVID-19 pandemic.

Q.5: How are you taking advantage of the experience with Meiji University? What do you think are the "growth" or "progress" that you made through the 2-year study?

It is a great privileged having to be a Master's Degree holder of Meiji University under a JDS scholarship. Especially, as a middle-level government officer, it is very expedient to having Public Policy Degree for the career plan of my professional life in the future. In addition, I have acquired immense knowledge relevant to several areas such as Macro Economics, Statistics, Public Finance, HRM, and Research methods except for public policies through the expertise of the relevant disciplines. Moreover, it is great to announce that I have broadened my horizon through the intensive courses which were offered by GSGS with field visits under JICA support.

Furthermore, Meiji Uni. offered a great opportunity to interact and share the different cultural values, disseminate knowledge, share the experiences, observe and learn the values of Japanese society and build a strong network among the other JDS fellows, Japanese nationals, and foreign friends from several countries. It was a great platform for me to learn the Japanese way of studies, how to prepare for a disaster, how to obey others, and disciplines. As a whole, 2 years' stay in Japan was fruitful not only for my career but also for my personal life.

Currently, I am performing my job at the Department of National Planning under the higher education sector. Therefore, my research skills are vital for me when I evaluate the higher education development project proposals. Thus, my research skills and lesson learned were very helpful to identify and take correct decisions, resolving problems, creating effective observation reports and critical thinking ability allowed me to apply the newfound information in order to solve problems or identify better procedures in the workplace.

Finally, I am grateful for GSGS and their staff to open their resources for the Sri Lankan community to catch these advantages without any restrictions. I love Japan forever.