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Country’s higher education is not doing well compared to primary education … Samarasinghe

Mahinda Samarasinghe 0401

Sri Lanka Poujana Peramuna Kalutara District Parliamentarian Mahinda Samarasinghe has observed that though Sri Lanka was in a better position in primary education the country’s higher education is not doing so well comparatively.

He made these observations participating in the second reading stage of the debate on budget 2021 proposals. Samarasinghe said:

“Sri Lanka’s position in world rankings with regard to primary education was praiseworthy and its record was impressive. But when we look at higher education, our position is quite low especially compared to India, the Maldives, Malaysia and South Korea. This should be rectified if we are to move forward in the path to sustainable development. As per statistics, around 375,000 children entered school education annually.

As per 2018-2019 figures around 267,000 sit the GCE Advanced Level examination. Of them 150,000 get through the examination and are qualified for university education. But our universities enroll only around 32,000 students a year. It is around 8.53 per cent of the original figure. This shows us that we must give more weight to develop our education sector. The budget proposals have addressed that need.

Prime Minister announced the construction of new city universities for each district. Setting up of a non-resident City University per District, targeting specific areas of high demand for employment opportunities is proposed and I think it is a move in the right direction. This would enable us to double the intake to university education. Today in the country’s job market around 80 percent jobs are provided by the private sector. The public sector provides only 20 percent of jobs. So education should cater to the needs of the job market.

Instead of promoting classical studies and traditional curriculum in universities, we must promote technical education in Vocational Training institutes. When we take an institute such as Germantech, there are around 1,800 students there and around 600 have job opportunities each year. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President we set up a branch of Germantech in Kilinochchi where 300-400 students were currently studying. Many who obtained Germantech certificates have been able to win foreign employment with decent salaries thanks to that certificate.”

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