Tertiary education opportunities in SL
There are about 165,000 GCE O-level students who are happy to be
able to gain admission to the GCE A-level class. While there would be
in about two years time 25, 000 students from among them who will be
happier to be able to enter a Conventional State University in Sri
Lanka, resulting in about 140,000 students left in the lurch as it may
be! While congratulating those who succeeded the first hurdle at the GCE
O-level they have to be wished well for the second hurdle at the GCE
A-level and moreover guide them on other opportunities available
before it is too late! Undoubtedly the youth would be the happiest once
they are employed eventually as highly skilled personnel in various
occupations or become well qualified professionals needed both for the
local market and also the international market.
It is quite well known that many parents and school authorities may
not be aware of the opportunities available for Tertiary Education in
Sri Lanka irrespective of the Z Score achieved at the GCE A- level,
and / or GCE O-level performances.
Many parents, grandparents, guardians and others of our youth are
unaware of these opportunities and concentrate only on the 15
conventional universities in the country and get disappointed when their
off spring fail to get admission to these universities.
Another purpose of this article would be for those who aspire
overseas education or for those already in 'greener pastures' to
encourage and motivate those here in Sri Lanka on the opportunities,
which are quite common in the countries they currently dwell.
Of course an indirect purpose would be for them and those in Sri
Lanka not to over-react to offer and accept costly overseas tertiary
education leading to financial hardships when such opportunities are
available locally unless overseas education at under graduate level is
sought for some other valid reason.
Some Post Secondary school students who sought Sri Lanka University
Education having sat for the G.C.E. Advanced level examinations in
August 2011 would be rejoicing having secured a Z score for their
desired field of study and the desired university while some others
would be quite disappointed at varying levels for not having secured the
required Z score rating or having doubts on the results.
Also there may be some who have the required entry requirements, but
nevertheless would wish to pursue other alternate avenues of Tertiary
and Vocational Education.
Furthermore, there may be those who did not even attempt the G.C.E.
Advanced Level examination, since they prefer alternate routes of
Tertiary Education as some of us did in following Technical Courses soon
This message is not for a category of 'Dropouts' as I do not believe
there is such a category, but to encourage and motivate the 96 percent
(approx) of the age cohort who seek alternate routes for their career
development through Tertiary Education of which university education
through UGC at the Conventional Universities and their Institutes is
just one of the avenues in Sri Lanka, catering only to about 4 percent
of the age cohort.
For those who seek 'University' education in Sri Lanka, they should
be reminded that within the UGC, there is the Open University of Sri
Lanka and also in addition there are other Universities outside the UGC
established under separate Acts of Parliament such as, the University of
Vocational Technology, Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka,
Buddhasravaka Bhiksu University, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence
In addition there are Local Degree Awarding Institutes recognized by
the UGC and the Ministry of Higher Education.
These are as listed below and their respective websites would give
details of the programmes of study being offered leading to recognised
Institute of Technological Studies
Institute of Surveying and Mapping
Aquinas College of Higher Studies
National Institute of Social Development
National Institute of Business Management
National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering
Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology
Diploma level Programmes of Study are offered under the Ministry of
Youth Affairs and Skills Development and also under Ministry Higher
These are programmes leading to National Diplomas and Higher National
Diplomas with career development pathways subsequently available to
Well recognized Professional Courses are also available through
Member Associations of the Organization of Professional Associations
(OPA). The Member Associations of the OPA which offer such courses are
as listed below;
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Institute of Architects
Sri Lanka Library Association
Institute of Supply and Materials Management
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
Pharmaceutical Society of Sri Lanka
Institute of Chemistry, Ceylon
Gemmologists Association of Sri Lanka
Institute of Personnel Management, Sri Lanka
Computer Society of Sri Lanka
Institute of Valuers of Sri Lanka
The Textile Institute Sri Lanka Section
Institute Chartered Shipbrokers, Sri Lanka
Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing
Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka
Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrator
Of course, there are also many Private Higher Education institutes
conducting relevant training programmes through Certificate, Diploma and
Advanced Diplomas etc of International Qualification Awarding bodies and
degrees of Overseas Universities.
The Academic Credibility and the Registration of such non - degree
level Tertiary Education Institutes should be ascertained from the
Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) the details could be
obtained by visiting its website www.tvec.gov.lk.
Undoubtedly, obtaining such qualifications through programmes of
study while being partly of fully in Sri Lanka would be of a lesser
financial burden than proceeding overseas, to obtain the same
In addition to all the above, the trend in the development of
Tertiary Education and Vocational Training world over is the rapid
progress and recognition of Vocational Education. In some developed
countries, fields such as Law, Medicine, IT and Engineering are now
categorized as Vocations.
It has to be clearly understood by Post secondary School leavers,
their parents, teachers and school authorities, that while graduating to
obtain a degree is prestigious there are many other avenues of obtaining
Professional, Technological and Vocational Qualifications which can be
equally or more prestigious rather than being an 'unemployed graduate'
with a degree or being a frustrated secondary school student repeatedly
trying to secure a place in a conventional university.
There are currently about 800 Tertiary level educational institutes
maintaining the TVEC registration, with TVEC Accredited courses. The
Tertiary and Vocation Education and Training opportunities through TVEC
Registered and Accredited courses could be verified by visiting the TVEC
website www.tvec.gov.lk through the link 'Registration and
Fields of study in the following areas;
Agriculture Plantation and Livestock
Art Design and Media (Visual and Performing)
Automobile Repair and Maintenance
Aviation and Aeronautics
Building and Construction
Electrical, Electronics and Telecommunication
Finance Banking and Management
Fisheries and Aquaculture
Gem and Jewellery
Hotel and Tourism
Human Recourses Management
Information Communication and Multimedia Technology
Leather and Footwear
Marine and Nautical Science
Medical and Health Science
Metal and Light Engineering
Personal and Community Development
Printing and Packaging
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
Textile and Garments
Most of these courses of study are now aligned to the National
Vocational Qualifications framework (NVQF) which ranges from NVQ levels
one to seven, where level seven is at degree level for some selected
fields at the University of Vocational Technology at Ratmalana.
The TVET GUIDE 2012 presents Fields of Study, available in the
Provinces of Sri Lanka in the various districts. For Human Resource
Development and to be gainfully employed with career prospects for
further academic advancement even upto degree level, these avenues
should be explored and pursued rather than focusing only on the
traditional routes some of which may be now outdated.
This is a comprehensive guide on the Technical and Vocational
Education and Training Opportunities available at the Public sector and
Private sector accredited training institutions also a TVEC Registered
list of Private and Public Training institutes. Students can find out
what Technical and Vocational Education and Training sector provides for
their future career.
This Guide has three indexes which support easy access to fields of
study, educational qualifications required and the institute names. The
information could be searched on a provincial basis and the details
could be obtained by visiting its website www.tvec.gov.lk. And linking
with the TVET GUIDE.
The writer is Chancellor University of Vocational Technology and
chairman, Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission, former Vice
Chancellor University of Moratuwa and Open University of Sri Lanka.