Sri Lanka universities to be given more freedom to change syllabi

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s universities should be given the freedom to change their curriculum to the needs of the country, as some of their courses do not fit the need of the economy, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

“Some of the courses taught in universities today are not in consonance with market requirements,” President Rajapaksa said in his inaugural speech to parliament.

“Universities and other higher education institutions should be given more freedom in the enrollment of students and in the restructuring of their syllabi to meet the needs of the marketplace.”

Sri Lanka’s education system is in crisis with tax-payer funded state universities spewing out thousands graduates with low quality degrees who cannot get a job in productive sector.

The state higher education system also has high quality universities and courses which are very much in demand.

But there has been no accountability for universities that turn out degree holders who cannot contribute to society, critics say.

Many graduates who learned at tax-payer expense then demand and get jobs in the state sector also at tax-payer expenses.

About 50 cents of every tax rupee paid by the people now go to pay salaries and pensions of state workers.

Some of the brightest students enter the university through the advanced level examination ends up with degrees that cannot be used in the real economy.

Meanwhile President Rajapaksa said supplementary courses will be given to university students.

“In the near future, we intend to introduce short-term courses to equip our university students to meet the needs of the modern job market, which they can opt to attend whilst pursuing their current courses of study,” he said.

President Rajapaksa has said he wants to give opportunities for higher education to every person who is qualified.

“We have to pay special attention to ensuring that our future generation will become productive citizens by nurturing them with the required knowledge, skills and abilities,” he said.

“The opportunities young people have to pursue higher education and technical education should be broadened.

“The infrastructure facilities needed for this must be developed within a short time frame. The number of students entering tertiary education can be increased through more effective utilization of the capacities of state universities and other higher educational institutions.” (Colombo/Jan05/2020)