Recognition of professional and academic qualifications
The academic qualifications and professional qualifications awarded
in Sri Lanka are well accepted within the region and often worldwide,
compared to some other countries granting such qualifications specially
in the region.
It is imperative that such recognition should be well maintained, if
not further improved. Academic degree qualifications are awarded in Sri
Lanka by Universities and degree awarding institutes established under
the provisions of the Universities Act No 16 of 1978 (as amended) and
through Universities established under separate Acts of Parliament,
while Professional qualifications are awarded by the Member Associations
of the Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) in Sri Lanka,
such as for Accountancy, Architecture, Engineering, Law, Medicine etc.
The procedures adopted by these professional bodies in granting full
professional qualifications to practice in Sri Lanka are quite rightly
very stringent in order to maintain quality and standards.
Some of these professional qualifications could be obtained by
appearing directly for the respective examinations of the professional
bodies or by gaining partial exemption from the academic degree
There is great concern now being expressed on the latter, when Higher
Educations Institutes (HEI) could conduct courses leading to degree
qualifications, but their acceptance for recognition may be
questionable. There is nothing to prevent HEII commencing and conducting
low grade degree programs if the authorities such as the University
Grants Commission (UGC) permit same, but the acceptance of such
qualifications by professional bodies having complied to their
requirements to practise the profession in Sri Lanka, would depend
solely on the respective professional bodies.
There are many such degree qualifications conferred sans professional
recognition in neighbouring countries. The expenditure incurred in
establishing infrastructure and procuring equipment would be a waste of
national wealth, public or private, loans or grants.
Hence it would be most essential to ensure or have some expectation
academically and professionally, that recognition of such degree
qualifications by the professional bodies would be forthcoming before or
more likely soon after the first batch of graduates are conferred their
Unless precautionary measures are taken forthwith, it could lead to
academic disaster and turmoil with professional disappointment through
such academic qualifications leading the youth (and their parents) of
the country to great frustration.
This is conveyed in my personal capacity for posterity.
The author has been the Head of the University of Moratuwa and Open
University of Sri Lanka, Past President of the Institution of Engineers,
Sri Lanka, Chairman of two local branches of UK professional bodies (ICE
and CIT), and currently the Chancellor of the University of Vocational
Technology and the Chairman of the Tertiary and Vocational Education