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Opening Of Private Universities In Srilanka Information Technology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 3945 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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1. Being identifying higher education sector as a one of key factors that decides future of any country, maximization of opportunities for higher education is prime objective of any government. Today population is considered as an asset for a country and youth is the most important segment of the population. Every year thousands of youth enter to the national work force and it is beneficial to both individual and nation to equip those youth with right skills to build the country. Identifying skills and weaknesses of each individual and polish their skills with right knowledge should be the main goal of higher education institutes. For example 2/3 of school leavers of Taiwan enter to vocation training institutions and gain necessary skills and knowledge which laid strong foundation for the rapid development of Taiwan.

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2. Comparing to other third world countries, more than 90% of Sri Lankans gain their primary education. However according to statistics issued by University Grant Commission out of school leavers from G. C. E Advance Level Examination, only between 20 000 and 22 000 are eligible to enter universities in each year. In other words lesser than 2% of participants of G.C.E Advanced Level Examination are selected for universities. It is clear that current percentage of entering universities is not sufficient to contribute the development process of country. This is one of major reasons, which causes to decline the development of

Country. Even one of the modern measurements of measuring progression of the country is percentage of entering higher education institutions. Now it is become a national level issue and various options are suggested to solve this burning problem.

3. One of the alternatives that are suggested to solve this problem is the opening private universities in Sri Lanka. Situation for opening private universities in Sri Lanka is evaluated from various aspects (advantages, disadvantages) and summarizes the findings is the main objective of this paper.


4. The prime aim of this paper is to evaluate the “opening private universities in Sri Lanka” from various aspects and finally present recommendations for this issue. Today this topic becomes common topic among many professionals, academics, intellectuals and many other people. However proper evaluation on “opening private universities in Sri Lanka” is not done yet and this effort is to analyze the situation for private universities in Sri Lanka. Countless ideas and suggestions are forwarded by various parties regarding this topic. All these ideas and suggestions are analyzed and to streamline common solution which can be acceptable for all parties.

5. First current situation is observed and main points are identified. Next advantages and disadvantages of opening private universities are recognized. Findings of above stages are summarized and finally recommendations are presented based on findings. Thus proper evaluation on the topic of “opening private universities in Sri Lanka” is expected to present achieving the primary objective of this paper.


6. The first modern university of Sri Lanka was “University of Ceylon” which was established in 1942 with its first campus in Colombo and second campus in Peradeniya later. In 1972 “University of Ceylon” was become “University of Sri Lanka”. Later Colombo campus is become “University of Colombo” and Peradeniya campus become “University of Peradeniya”. Subsequently “University of Jaffna” and “University of Ruhuna” were started. Some Peruvians were also become universities such as University of Kelaniya and etc. All these universities are controlled by University Grants Commission (UGC) of Sri Lanka. All these universities are operated as state own entities and there are many difficulties in these universities. Due to limited resources available in these universities, it is impossible to cater all students who pass the G. C. E. (A/L) Examination. So that district wise selection method is used to select undergraduates for universities. Thus students who perform extremely well at the G. C. E (A/L) Examination only get chance to enter universities. Due to this district wise selection students in districts like Colombo and Kandy need higher results in the G.C.E (A/L) Examination where as students in lesser develop districts need lower marks to be qualified for university entrance. Although nearly 500 000 students are participated for G.C.E (A/L) examination only around 20 000 students are qualified to enter universities. As a result of this situation, many other are forced to go for other tertiary educational options.

7. Even though some are qualified to enter universities, suitable undergraduate course cannot be selected as they want and they have to follow the course given by UGC and in a given university. This may lead to waste in born skills of undergraduates and force them to start their career they do not interest.

8. Other than the national universities, few tertiary educational institutions are operated by the government such as Open University of Sri Lanka, various technical colleges and etc. Semi governmental institutions like Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) are operated under Ministry of Vocational Training in Sri Lanka. Another option available

for school leavers is that register for external degree programmers conducted by state universities. Like this higher education sector including universities are under controlled of the government either directly or indirectly. Most importantly it can be noted that though limited financial support is provided to universities through various funds such as Mahapola Trust, self funding is needed for the students in other vocational institutions.

9. Due to limited options available for higher education sector in Sri Lanka, many leave for foreign universities and universities in United Kingdom, Australia and USA become most popular destinations among Sri Lankan students. Considerable percentage of undergraduates including who are able to secure local university acceptance now go for foreign universities and this cause to lost of large amount of foreign exchange to country. Unlike Sri Lankan universities, which takes 4-5 years for BSc Degree, normal 3 years degree programmes are offered by foreign universities and most importantly curriculum of the courses of foreign universities are update and relevant to the industry. This situation leads to create big distance between graduates of local universities and graduates of foreign universities. Although going for foreign universities is one option for Sri Lankan students it would not be affordable for most of undergraduates as considerable amount of money is needed. In Sri Lanka degrees are offered by institutions in collaboration with foreign universities such as APIIT and various exams conducted by professional bodies are also available for Sri Lankan students such as CIMA for Accounting, BCS for Computing and etc. However, both these options are also expensive, as fee should be paid for relevant foreign university or professional body too.

10. In Sri Lankan job market, it can be noted that there are few fields that have demand for graduates namely Information technology, Accounting, Law and etc. This leads many graduates to be unemployment and unemployment rate raises to 5.9% which forces to reconsider suitability of the higher education again. The suggestion of “opening private universities in Sri Lanka” is come to stage in such environment. It is stated that local undergraduates can complete degrees at lower cost and build up their careers in their chosen fields. Most importantly unlike state universities which use old curriculums that are out of date, private universities are capable enough to provide up-to-date knowledge and make a suitable work force for country.

Career Path for Students in Current Higher Education System




Degrees in National Universities (Internal Students)

University Entrance

G. C. E A/L

G. C. E O/L

Degrees in National Universities (External Students)

Foundation Course/ Professional qualifications / Work Experience

Degrees in Open University of Sri Lanka

Tertiary & Vocational Qualifications in Public Training Institutions

Professional Qualifications Equivalent to Degree

Degrees awarded by Sri Lankan Private Institutes

Degrees awarded by Foreign Universities through Local Institutes

Degrees awarded by Foreign Universities in Foreign Countries

Figure 1: Career path for students in current higher education system



11. There are many advantages of opening private universities in Sri Lanka. Both direct and indirect benefits can be enjoyed by various parties and lets see one by one in details.

a. Degree can be completed at Lower Cost. Degrees can be offered at lower cost comparing to other universities because comparing to the countries like Australia and etc cost of education is lower in Sri Lanka. This allows undergraduates to complete their degrees at lower cost and save their money.

Up-to date Curriculum. Unlike state universities in where old curriculum is used, regular updated curriculum can be maintained in private universities. As fee is charged, enough money is available for private universities to update curriculum. One of major reasons of rejecting state universities from Sri Lankan youth is their old curriculum, which are not modified for even 10 years. Due to this reason, there is a trend of leaving universities by those who qualified to enter universities.

Industry Relevant Degree Programs. As curriculum is updated, it is possible to align knowledge and skills provided in the courses with the current requirements of the job markets. So that those who would be graduated with necessary skills and knowledge levels that satisfy industry requirements, can easily find a job. Thus following industry relevant degrees unemployment can be reduced and most importantly useful work force for country can be produced.

Free to Select Degree Programmes. It is not possible to select the degree programme as student wants in current system and students should be enrolled to the course, which is given by UGC. This may leads to select student to course which completely contrast with skills of particular student and finally what happen is that student is forced to enter new field which particular student would never want to

Enter. So that such graduates might be lost in industry and entire career would be unsuccessful. But in private universities situation is completely different and student can enrol to suitable degree programmes which are matched with their skills and career expectations.

Wider Range of Courses. Few courses are conducted in state universities and most of these courses are not suitable for current requirements of the industries. For example those who follow physical science degrees in state universities, have to go for jobs in other fields. But new courses which are matched to current requirements can be conducted and fresh subjects like jewellery design, logistics and etc can be introduced through private universities.

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Flexible Study Options. Both full time and part time degree programs can be conducted in private universities which allow undergraduates to work while studying. This is one of biggest advantage of private universities because finally when student is graduated after 3 or 4 years he would equip with work experience and such graduates can easily go for better employment opportunities. On the other hand being working student can self fund their courses which would be great advantage for them.

More Resources can be Utilized. As fee is charged, resources which are necessary to degree programs can be provided for undergraduate students in private universities. Limited resources are available in state universities as government universities are totally depended on funds provided by government. So that even basic resources are not available for students of government universities. But resources can be provided in private universities as fee is charged from every student.

More Space in State Universities. If private universities are opened, it can be expected that portion of students who are qualified to enter state universities, will move to private universities. So the space will be created in state universities and it can be filled with students are in next line. Thus this allows more students to be graduates.

Money is Saved for Country. It is learnt that huge money is moved out annually from the Sri Lanka as a result of going abroad for studies. It is reported that nearly $ 60 million is spent annually for study abroad by Sri Lankan students. If private universities are opened in Sri Lanka, considerable amount of this money can be saved within country.

No other Costs for Students. Various expenses such as air ticket costs, living expenses and etc have to be covered by those who move for foreign studies. This adds large additional cost for students. But if private universities are opened, all these additional costs could be eliminated or reduced.

Revenue Generate Through Foreign Students. If private universities can be established successfully, foreign students can be attracted. Providing education is used as one of main sources of income in countries like Malaysia. This can be done in Sri Lanka too and it is possible to generate income to country via private universities.

Beneficial for Academics, Professors. Benefits of opening private universities can be enjoyed not only students but also various academics like lecturers, professors and etc. It is concerned that lecturers does not get enough salaries and other benefits from state universities. One of the best solutions to solve this problem is that getting their contribution for private universities. Visiting lectures can be done and most importantly unlimited resources can be utilized for researches of academics in private universities.


12. Although opening private universities can be good solution increase capacity of higher education opportunities, one of the main questions is that for how many people this would be affordable. Paying fees for 3 or 4 years might be questionable for certain students. In Sri Lanka 22% population are under the level of poverty. So there is question whether opening private universities would be affordable for certain levels of community.

No Proper Regulators to Assure Quality of Education. Regulations to measure and monitor the quality of education is private universities are not set up yet. It is necessary to monitor quality of higher education because future of youth is depended on it. So mechanism to monitor and supervise quality of private university is a must and most importantly such regulations must be able to work autonomously. Otherwise reputation on university education of Sri Lanka might be damaged badly.

Getting Jobs for Graduates Would be More Difficult. As more and more graduates are produced, competitions for jobs are higher. Employers have more choice and subsequent results would be further increase of unemployment and this might lead for youth unrest.

Social Issues. Strong objections for opening private universities can be noted from various parties of the society. Several protests and campaigns are conducted against opening private universities by portion of students of state universities. Even consensus cannot be reached by intellectuals of the country and some stands for opening private universities where as others oppose to it. This situation is able to create attitude within country that private universities are harmful to country.


13. Review which is carried out on opening private universities in Sri Lanka, highlights major issues which should be addressed immediately. Radical change is needed in higher education system in Sri Lanka which would be able to produce graduates who are suitable to enter national work force. Although radical change is need, it is clear that government is unable to provide necessary resources such as financial and human capital. On the other hand long time is required for government interfere for higher education system as all procedures have to be standardized (first act should be approved, then circulars should be issued and etc). So that flexibility which is essential to cater requirements of both youth and national industries, is difficult to find in such interfere of government.

14. Suggestion of opening private universities is come to stage on such ground conditions and it is welcome by many parties as enough flexibility can be found in that suggestion. More resources can be utilized by involved parties for private universities unlike limited ability of government to build up universities. So the suggestion of opening private universities is looked optimistically by various parties. For example parents think their children can complete degrees at lower cost. Thus various groups of the country look forward about this proposal. However in current context of Sri Lanka there are several issues which are needed to be clarified before moving to establishing private universities. Even legal grounds for private universities are not cleared at the moment for example there is question of validity of medical degrees which would be offered in private universities in Sri Lanka. Since it very complex process of validating degrees like MBBS, first of all legal issues should be cleared.

15. Then other issues should be taken into account as all points should be cleared. There is good side as well as bad side of opening private universities in Sri Lanka. It is learnt that currently several opinions regarding this topic are expressed by different groups of society. So it is vital to take ideas and suggestions from various parties including current university students, academics, lecturers, professors, public and etc. After carefully evaluation of ideas and suggestions, final consensus on this suggestion can be sought out.


16. Primary objective of this service paper is to identify recommendations for opening private universities in Sri Lanka and to achieve this objective first current situation is analyzed and then advantages and disadvantages are observed. Finally, recommendations can be identified and those recommendations can be divided into two categories, namely long term and short term. Long term recommendations which are covering broaden scope, are formulated for period of more than 5 years where as short term recommendations are more specific and formulated for shorter period.

a. Long-term recommendations.

Establish National Policy for Opening of Private Universities. First of all national policy for opening private universities in Sri Lanka should be determined. Quality of education could be reduced due to regular changes in policy towards private universities. Therefore it is essential to establish stable national policy on opening private universities. All condition which should be fulfilled to open private universities should be defined such as up to what level government can interfere.

Establish a Clear Legal Environment. Legal issues regarding private universities and degrees offered should be cleared. Otherwise students of private universities would have to stop their studies after completing 1 or 2 years. There are issues on validating various degrees. So that it is necessary to clear all these legal issues before moving to private universities.

Determine Selection Method of Students for Private Universities. This very important because it is clear that all Sri Lankans cannot afford fees of private universities. Due to this reason, private universities might be limited to few segments of the society. So it essential to establish impartial selection method to ensure all Sri Lankans can get maximum use of private universities. Various actions can be taken to ensure that all Sri Lankans have advantages of private universities such as portion of the entrance to the private universities can be done according to the G.C.E. A/L results, offering various scholarships for needy students and etc.

Set up of Monitoring Mechanism for Quality Assurance. Quality of the education of private universities must be assured in various aspects. First quality of degrees offered should be measured. Then quality of learning methods, examinations should be measured, and then qualifications of lecturers should be observed. Like this quality of education should be measured in every aspect and if private universities cannot be fulfilled necessary quality standards monitoring mechanism should be strong enough to take actions against particular universities. Therefore it is must to establish independent body to monitor quality of private universities.

Set up of Self-Funding Mechanism for Students. Countries like United Kingdom offers special loan facilities for students to pay university fees. Such loan schemes can be introduced to Sri Lanka too. So that financial support can be provided to needy students.

b. Short-term recommendations.

Determine degree programmes for private universities. One of main objectives of opening private universities are that produce graduates who are

Suitable for current requirements of national work force. Demand for graduates in certain fields can be notified such as Information Technology, Law, Technical subjects and etc. Identifying such fields and introducing more and more degrees in such fields should be done immediately. Industry related courses, which are suitable to fulfil current requirements of work force, can be recognized through useful discussion with necessary parties.

Determine the Support should be Provided by State Universities. Determining up to what level support is provided by state universities for initiative of private universities is very important. Both state and private universities can be benefit if there is collaboration up to certain level.

Basic Requirements for Opening Private Universities. It is vital to establish basic requirements for opening private universities in Sri Lanka. If there is no control many private universities might be opened with lesser facilities and offer lower quality education. As this is very harmful to reputation on higher education of Sri Lanka, necessary steps should be taken to determine basic requirements at the initial stage of opening private universities.

14. These are the recommendations which are identified at the end of this service paper and it can be stated that if these recommendations are followed, opening of private universities can be done in more useful manner which allows to give more benefits to the Sri Lankan society and it is possible to produce graduates with necessary skills and knowledge who can successfully contribute the development process of the nation.




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