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Sunday, 1 July 2012

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Higher education landscape in Sri Lanka changing

The higher education landscape in Sri Lanka is changing with the increasing private sector involvement in the sector, a recent study conducted by Human Capital Research Program of LIRNEasia has revealed. Dr.Sugatha N.Gamage said that by 2010 there were 52 higher education degree awarding institutions in the country.

Alternatives to the University Grant Commission (UGC) mediated public university system have emerged and they have sufficient legitimacy and maturity. These alternatives accounted for 36 percent of the 15,999 graduates produced in Sri Lanka in 2010/2011.

There are 253 degree programs and many degree equivalents are also offered by these alternative institutions.

The objective of the study is to provide a base for the study of higher education sector in the country. The public has no maps to guide them in this rapidly emerging landscape. LIRNEasia also launched a directory of degree programs based on this study to guide students and other interested parties, she said.

Out of these 52 higher education institutions, 16 are public institutions coming under the UGC purview, nine public non UGC and 27 private institutions.

There is one public UGC institution, one public non UGC institution and 17 private institutions that have started enrollments but not awarded degrees yet while there are another two private institutions that have started programs. Accordingly there are 73 higher education institutions in the country.

Between 2008 and 2010 graduate output has increased from 15,923 to 18,999 or 8-10 percent and the increase has come from the alternatives to the traditional UGC system. Over 12,000 graduates have passed out from state universities in 2010. According to the study, 73 percent of computer science and IT graduates come from private sector institutions and the private sector also produces 24 percent of commerce stream and 22 percent of other subject stream graduates.

The private sector accounts for only six percent of engineering graduates while all others come from state institutions.

Dr.Gamage said that the graduate output from public institutions has stabilised while semi-public and private output has increased. Most of the degree programs (75 percent) are with a three-year duration, while 19 percent of the programs are four years. Degree programs offered by private institutions cost between Rs.200,000 to over one million.

There is a positive correlation between the demand and the cost and in 2010 the output of over Rs one million costing degree programs were 887, while the output of programs costing 200,000-500,000 was 395. Some of the high cost degree programs offered by foreign university affiliated institutes include a study period in the foreign country.

Degree programs for British qualifications lead the market and Australian qualifications follow.

 

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