Govt to play matchmaker for school drop-outs
Deputy Minister Duminda Dissanayake
Youth Affairs and Skills Development Deputy Minister Duminda
Dissanayake, a young aspiring politician, in an interview with the
Sunday Observer said the decision to make vocational training mandatory
for all school dropouts leaving before GCE Ordinary Level will be
implemented shortly by the Government as it aspires to elevate Sri
Lanka's image from an unskilled, cheap labour exporting country to a
skilled manpower generator.
The Deputy Minister who will celebrate his thirty second birthday
tomorrow said the President was sound in his decision to appoint two
young members of his Government to head the Youth Affairs and Skills
Development Ministry, an area involving the youth of the country. "I
believe we are in a better state of mind to understand their
aspirations, desires and drawbacks and help them find their place in
The Government with the initiative of Minister Dallas Alahapperuma is
in the process of implementing a program targeting school dropouts. The
program yet in development stage was partially inspired by the F3 team.
The F3 team comprises students who failed all three subjects at the
GCE Advanced Level exam last year. Among the F3 group, there were
students who obtained ten As at the GCE Ordinary Level.
They can never be classified as ignorant or disqualified.
The formal school system did not fit them in but they ought to fit in
somewhere. Evaluation of a three-hour examination, at the end of a
lengthy two-year education span must not be allowed to cast them as
obsolete and useless.
A good portion of these AL drop outs enter the job market as
unskilled employees. Our aim is to end this tradition.
The Government has come forward to find ways to turn these youth into
We invite the F3, F2 and F1 groups to come to us, make use of the
vast opportunities available in the vocational training sector to add
value to themselves as job seekers so that they can market themselves
better and secure better jobs.
Under the proposed school-dropout program the Government will take up
the role of matchmaker and find potential school leavers placements in
the technical education sector so that these students will be trained to
become active contributors in the development process instead of joining
the queue of the jobless.
The proposal is to make six months training at a State-run vocational
centre or a technical training institute compulsory for school dropouts
who will leave school before national examinations - GCE Ordinary Level
or GCE Advanced Level. Without this six month training certificate the
students will not be issued their leaving certificate.
The objective is to equip the dropouts with skills to secure
placements in the alternate job market. The present school system drives
students and parents for white collar jobs whereas more lucrative jobs
are available elsewhere. We are currently making an effort to enhance
recognition to blue collar jobs and popularise technical training. This
is not just masonry or carpentry.
Technical education involves motor mechanics and information
technology, beauty culture, hairdressing, etc areas where there is a
high demand but a dearth of skilled manpower.
Construction is an area that can be more lucrative than a doctor's
profession considering the industry's boom.
This was the first time the two important ministries-Youth Affairs
and Skills Development were brought under one roof, under a minister who
is a youth himself. I am happy to make my contribution to find solutions
to the burning problems of our youth.
I believe as young ministers we are in a better position to read
their aspirations and deliver better results. In the past Youth Affairs
and Skills Development were two seperate ministries and were pulled in
We invite the young members of our society to join hands with us and
take advantage of the numerous training programs available to them via
the vast network of technical colleges and vocational training centres
We revise our syllabi from time to time to suit the changing needs of
the job market.
Hence it is a great opportunity for our youth to equip themselves and
raise their value before stepping in the direction of the job market.
Our aim is to revise Sri Lanka's image overseas from a cheap unskilled
labour provider to a skilled labour exporter.
All programs offered at our institutions are internationally
accredited to boost recognition.
They are recognised worldwide and almost all the students passing out
from these institutes secure jobs before they attend the convocation.
In future the labour force passing out from these institutes will be
particularly recognised since the Government is contemplating making it
mandatory for skilled workers like plumbers and electricians to get
certified by the State.
This is a proposal that has been given serious consideration.
In other countries you will not be allowed inside a house or a
construction site unless you are a registered plumber or electrician.
This is not the case in Sri Lanka.
We are planning to introduce such a system in Sri Lanka. This will be
an added advantage for our youth trained in State vocational and
technical training centre.
In addition, we have planned to set up special units of certified
skilled workers at the Ministry. This will provide easy access for
people to find and get in touch with a certified technician, carpenter
or plumber. At the moment there is no such contact mechanism. There is
only word of mouth.
The people found this way, will neither guarantee a job well done,
nor can they be held accountable for anything gone wrong. This is a big
flaw in our system.
With the end of the conflict, the youth in the North and East areas
have become more and more independent. In this light the Ministry has
planned for the year 2011, establishment of a Ceylon German Technical
Training Institute in Northern province and a branch of National
Institute of Business Management (NIBM) in Jaffna district. There are
more proposals in the pipeline.
We hope to increase the intake to our institutions to nearly 140,000
this year. The intake for 2009 and 2010 were 114,137 and 99,736