Education & Skills Opportunities

An Expert's View about Education in Sri Lanka

Last updated: 21 Mar 2011

The Government’s focus on re-building the economy in Sri Lanka and the opening up of the North and East for trade and investment has created large scale development projects in-country.

Sector briefing Education & Skills Opportunities in Sri Lanka Why Sri Lanka ?Government incentives for UK universities and local 1. The Government?s focus on re-building bodies to set up UK the economy in Sri Lanka and the opening up of the North and East for accredited courses in Sri trade and investment has created Lanka? large scale development projects in- country. This surge in activity requires private sector input in many fields ?Sri Lanka maintains a including information technology (IT), engineering, management, hospitality, literacy rate of 91% - the leisure & tourism and related fields. second highest literacy rate in any other SAARC nation 2. In their main policy statement for the next ten years the Government of Sr reaches only 60%? i Lanka (GoSL) identified the need for private sector participation in higher education, further education and vocational training. GoSL therefore plans to fast-track new legislation in 2011 that will enable foreign education providers to deliver courses in country under their own brand, with full ownership and 100% repatriation of profits. Sri Lanka also has logistic relevance as a potential regional education/knowledge hub. Find general information on the Sri Lankan market conditions on UKTI?s website. The Doing Business Guide for Sri Lanka gives an overview of Sri Lanka?s economy, business culture, potential opportunities and an introduction to other relevant issue UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Education & Skills Sector opportunities in Sri Lanka Opportunities There are no Sri Lankan Universities featured in the top 100 universities in the world. Higher Education The quality of higher education has been adversely affected by a shortage of trained faculty staff, ingrained resistance to modern The higher education sector in Sri Lanka is on teaching methods and processes and little a strong upward curve in growth, with investment in university infrastructure. The increasing numbers of students opting for increasing prevalence of student unrest, international qualifications. strikes and demonstrations in state universities has been heavily influenced by This is largely due to insufficient numbers of the country?s political opposition parties. places available in the 15 Government - ma Political intervention in student activities has naged universities. Admission into a Sri recently led to closure of some state Lankan university is highly competitive and mer universities. Therefore, parents with sufficient ely satisfying the minimum admission economic means are increasingly unwilling to requirement is no guarantee of a place. Wh send their children to Sri Lankan state ile there are approximately 130,000 universities and seek either overseas students that qualify for a university place educational opportunities or alternative, and each year, only 20,000 students are more affordable, private sector higher eventually admitted. educational opportunities available in-country. Descr iption No of students The provision gap in the education system Students sat offers the following opportunities for for the ?O? Level Exam 530,000 Students qua education providers from the UK: lifying for the ?A? Level Exam 207,436 Studen ts satisfying minimum 130,236 requ Affiliation with Sri Lankan Higher irements for university admission S Education Institutes tudents applying for university 46,010 S tudents selected for State universities 20,270 Un Affiliations could be for validation of iversity admission as a % of total no of 9.7% qualifications, franchised operations or joint- students sat for A/L exam venture partnerships. Common practice is University admission as a % of total no of 3.8% that foreign universities allow local providers students sat for O/L exam to offer programs under which students can University admission as a % of eligible 15.5% study in Sri Lanka for a part of the degree students and complete the remaining part of the Source: University Grants Commission ? Year of degree at the parent foreign institution. A/Examination 2008 Some foreign institutions also allow the entire degree program to be followed in Sri Lanka. Joint delivery of courses, joint research, In 2009, approximately 13,000 students curriculum development and student/staff travelled overseas for their higher education. exchange programmes are also available. The UK is still the No.1 Western education There is no legal barrier for foreign destination for Sri Lankan students. At the universities/higher education institutes end of 2010 there were approximately 6,300 recognised by the University Grants Sri Lankan students following various courses Commission (UGC) to award degrees affiliated in the UK. with local HE providers. This means that there is an opportunity for Establishing a Higher Education/Training the private sector to cater to upwards of Institution in Sri Lanka 50,000 students who are looking at Further or Higher Education programmes and courses. There are currently several options by which to enter the private sector higher education market in Sri Lanka. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Education & Skills Sector opportunities in Sri Lanka Foreign education providers can either set up Although the majority of Sri Lankans do not operations either under the Department of have the resources to fund options for Registrar of Companies as a private limited international education, there is a growing company or under the Board of Investment in disillusion with what the state offers. Of even Sri Lanka (BOI). [NB this is subject to more significance, a growing number of imminent change as the BOI undergoes Sinhala-medium private schools are now restructure of its remit] offering English medium British A-levels as an option, and the uptake is high. (Note: to be There is no legal barrier to establishing admitted to universities in Sri Lanka, students private sector education institutes, foreign must sit for Sri Lankan A Levels. International affiliated institutes or private degree awarding Schools do not offer their students the option institutions under the University Grants of taking Sri Lankan A levels). In 2009, Sri Commission (UGC) or Board of Investment Lankan private schools (national and (BOI) as long as they don?t carry in the title international) produced approximately 2,500 the word ?University?. candidates with good British A-levels, along with the desire and the financial resources to Opening affordable branch campuses / pursue higher education at a degree or offshore campuses in Sri Lanka diploma level. The GoSL is shortly planning to introduce a Specific opportunities for degree separate Parliamentary Act (New Private pathways / top- up degree programmes University Act) to allow foreign universities to for professional Institutions members set up branch/offshore campuses. This Act lays down guidelines for foreign universities A large body of students taking UK to offer degree programmes. The Act is qualifications (eg. CIMA, CIM, ACCA, ICASL, expected to ready by Q1 of 2011. In the ABE, BCS, EDEXCEL and City & Guilds) are second phase of this programme, the GoSL looking to further their studies in the country. plans to develop six state universities to Target Sectors international standards and specifically to promote Sri Lanka as a recruitment hub for other countries in the region (India, Maldives, Information Technology /BPO China, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Japan). Sri Lanka has been earmarked by major Additional plans: employers in India and the region as an emerging destination for finance and ? Establishing Knowledge City / accounting, legal services and software University Parks testing. Furthermore, Colombo is currently ranked 7th out of 50 fast emerging global ? Developing linkages between outsourcing cities. universities There is, therefore, a major opportunity here ? Encouraging Private Public for providers of ICT and software engineering Partnerships courses, and to supply customised training programme for companies engaged in the ? Promoting online distance learning BPO industry. ? A Nat ional Accreditation and Quality Assurance Council. Maritime, Aviation & Logistics Demand for International Schools As the country fast-tracks its ports development, demand for training in cargo Despite the high cost of fees there has been handling, logistics and supply chain an increase in demand for international school management, will increase. leaving qualifications. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Education & Skills Sector opportunities in Sri Lanka Courses in shipping and logistics, marine However, there are no postgraduate courses engineering, marine insurance and security in these fields, and as a result there is further are also in short supply. demand for research programmes abroad. MBAs are very popular with professionals, but Finally, demand for courses in engineering they generally opt for distance learning / and technology, aerospace, mechanical and affiliated courses, due to the high cost. automotive engineering is also growing. Engineering Courses Hospitality Management and Tourism There is a general shortage of courses in The GoSL has identified growth in tourism as quantity surveying, and post graduate a revenue and employment generator. But courses for qualified engineers. Sri Lanka?s Hotel and Tourism Sector has identified a critical shortage of developed Continuous Professional Development (CPD) human capital. There is therefore a gap in Programmes the market for training programmes in food and beverages, front office, housekeeping, There is a general perception by private marketing, human resource management and sector companies that the current system in general management. Sri Lanka does not deliver either the number or quality of graduates they require. Although Management Training and Education there is a strong research culture in the universities it is largely academic and not Sri Lanka currently has limited options for geared to market requirements. Common management training and education. At complaints include that graduates from state Masters level the demand for MBA degree universities do not possess either the skills or places is est. 6,000 applicants per year. the appropriate attitude to work expected by However, annual admissions to all employers. There is an opportunity, therefore, government and private programs are for less to deliver customised training programmes to than 900 candidates per year only. leading private sector companies to develop Opportunities in the local university system soft skills for their employees. for Doctoral studies and Postgraduate Studies in Management and Economics are also English language and communication limited. Only the Postgraduate Institute of skills Management (PIM) offers a Doctoral program - and it admits only 12 students at a time (in Lack of communication skills in the workforce two-year intervals). There are therefore (both written and spoken) has become a reported to be a number of managers with drawback to the development of businesses. MBA or postgraduate qualifications who would Hence, there is a high level of interest from study for doctoral degrees should a good- private sector companies in English language quality program at a reasonable price become training. There is a clear gap in the market locally available. for comprehensive English/Business English programmes. Although many private sector There is also demand for postgraduate companies would like to send their employees studies in all research fields. Graduate output to the British Council for training in business from Sri Lankan universities for 2008 was English, it doesn?t have the capacity to satisfy 11,941 (first degree) and 2,708 local demand. Provision of generic skills of (postgraduate). Out of these, a considerable language and communication is therefore yet percentage of graduates preferring research another dimension of the education market programmes have increased in the fields of which is not adequately satisfied. bio-technology, pharmacology and molecular biology. In addition, the University of Colombo has introduced new undergraduate courses in pharmacology and bio-chemistry. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Education & Skills Sector opportunities in Sri Lanka Technical and Vocational Education Training Future strategy for sustainability (TVET) - Linking technology and the world of work during general education The TVET Sector in Sri Lanka continued to - Establishing pathways for school-leavers expand during the first half of 2010. There to enter TVET were 820 public, private and NGO sector - Linkages with Higher Education institutions registered to provide technical - Recognition of non-NVQ programmes and vocational education in the country by under NVQ framework end June 2010. With the inception of the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) There is, however, an opportunity for UK system in 2005, a total number of 28,118 vocational education providers to offer: NVQ certificates have been issued by the - academic staff exchange - UK-Sri Lanka Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission linkages (TVEC) as at end June 2010. Nine Technical - deliver sector-specific skill content and Colleges in nine provinces have been assessment standards in a wide range of upgraded into Colleges of Technologies and sectors have started to offer national diplomas. The - provide ?Train the Trainer? programmes to University of Vocational Technology equip the training providers with relevant (UNIVOTEC), which was set up in 2008, has skills and understanding commenced several new degree courses to provide technical and vocational training in different fields. The Technical and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) which is the If you have any questions on the apex policy setting and regulatory body for opportunities above, contact the UKTI Sri the TVET sector, developed a national TVET Lanka contacts named in this report. policy framework. The intention of developing Business opportunities aimed specifically at this policy framework was to introduce UK companies are added daily to UKTI?s policies and strategies to provide training that ma website. These leads are sourced by our staff tch the labour demand at the national and overseas in British Embassies, High international levels. The TVET plans were Commissions and Consulates, across all designed in 2009 with a special focus on the sectors and in over 100 markets. Northern and Eastern provinces. Furthermore, TVEC worked on a new programme where You can be alerted to business opportunities TVET plans are developed to supply trained on a regular basis by registering on the UKTI skilled workers depending on the labour website. Find out more on UKTI?s business demands of specific geographic areas in: opportunities service on the UKTI website ? Textile & Garments ? Gems & Jewellery ? Printing ? Construction ? Hotel & Tourism ? Automobile Repair & Maintenance ? Office Management ? Food & Beverages ? Rubber & Plastics ? Leather & Footwear ? Plantation ? Electrical & Electronics ? Metal & Light Engineering ? Health UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Education & Skills Sector opportunities in Sri Lanka Major events and activities UKTI contacts In Sri Lanka Manori Dissanayaka Trade & Investment Officer Education UK Exhibition, organised by British High Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka British Council Tel: +94 11 5390664 Contact: Mr Tony Reilly, Country Director, Email: British Council Email: Time: February 2011 Janet Ford Head, UK Trade & Investment ADYAPANA 2011 British High Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka Contact: Manori Dissanayaka Email: Tel: +94 11 5390663 Time: October 2011 Email: EDEX 2011 Contact: Manori Dissanayaka Email: Time: January 2011 In the Region WorldDidac India Contact: British Educational Suppliers Assoc Email: Time: September 2011 BES Asia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 5th annual Conference, workshops and all-British exhibition of educational resources, services and training solutions. Contact: William Prieto-Parra, British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) Email: Date : 1-2 November 2011 Find full details of all events in this country and sector on the UKTI website. New export events are added daily to the site and you can register to be alerted to them on a daily, weekly or monthly basis UKTI?s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides grant support for eligible Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SME's) to attend trade shows overseas. Find out more about UKTI support for attendance at overseas events. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Education & Skills Sector opportunities in Sri Lanka Next steps - How UKTI can help This work is available via our Overseas British companies wishing to develop their Market Introduction Service (OMIS) a business in the Sri Lankan market are chargeable service which assists British-based advised to undertake as much market companies wishing to enter or expand their research and planning as possible in the UK. UK business in overseas markets. TI?s team in Sri Lanka, with its wide local knowledge and experience, can provide a To find out more about commissioning this range of services to British-based companies wi work, or accessing other UKTI services and shing to grow their business in global ma specialist advice, please visit the UKTI rkets. website to find contact details for your local UKTI office. This can include: ? Provision of market information ? Validated lists of agents/distributors ? Key market players or potential customers in the Sri Lankan market ? Establishment of interest of such contacts in working with you Whereas every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this document is accurate, neither UK Trade & Investment nor its parent Departments (the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), accept liability for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, and no warranty is given or responsibility accepted as to the standing of any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. Published 2010 by UK Trade & Investment. Crown Copyright © UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Education & Skills Sector opportunities in Sri Lanka
Posted: 21 March 2011, last updated 21 March 2011