Saturday, June 29, 2013

25 New Technical universities to fill the skills gap - Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government plans to set up 25 technical universities and university colleges across the island, to cater to students who fail to gain entry to state universities.

The ground-breaking move will provide job-oriented courses and create alternative learning pathways up to degree level for thousands of students leaving formal education. The plan is that job-oriented courses will upgrade students’ competencies, leading to degree-level qualifications and professional development.

The proposal, made by Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, has been approved by the cabinet, which has allocated US$16 million for the project. The 25 colleges will be affiliated to the University of Vocational Technology and will accommodate more than 50,000 students, who will study for degrees and diplomas.

The aim of the project is to provide progressive training to students in the technical education and vocational training system and help them acquire university education, with the intention of preparing them for the modern, high-tech employment market.

Sri Lanka has 15 state universities but only 23,000 students are admitted annually out of the 220,000 who sit the university entrance (A-level) examination every year. The limited capacity of the universities means most students miss the opportunity to obtain a higher education. About 12,000 Sri Lankan students go to foreign countries annually seeking higher education and US$400 million of foreign exchange is also drained from the country.

A memorandum of agreement, or MOU, signed last week for the establishment of the first technical university, Malik Abdullah Technical College, will provide technical education facilities for 1,500 students in the eastern province. After signing the MOU, Alahapperuma said that revolutionary changes were being introduced to effectively address the mismatch between state education and job requirements.

Full Article - UniversityWorldNews

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