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Privatization of Higher Education in Sri Lanka

Being a developing country Sri Lanka has a significantly higher rate of literacy of 91.2% in 2013. Many say the free education for primary, secondary and higher have a major role to play in this high rate. Since Minister C.W.W. Kanangara declared free education for all students in Sri Lanka in 1940s, Sri Lankan education has taken a brighter path.

However it has occurred that along with the free education there is a lack of resources to educate all the potential students for the higher education. University education has become a battle and many struggle to get admission to local universities. Given that there are only about 15 state universities available for about 220,000 students who sat for Advanced level examination 2013. Out of these potential students only about 20,000 students got admission to state universities. So the question pops up in the mind is that “how far the students of Sri Lanka are enjoying free university education?”

Private Universities in Sri LankaHigher education is a dream of every parent and student. Most of them don’t have a chance of getting admission to state universities. Where the rest of the students who successfully completed secondary education will continue higher studies? Few years back when the country was in a dark era, parents who could afford the bliss of education would send their children abroad for university education. These were a very few amount. And those who couldn’t afford this would wave bye to their higher studies dream. These leftover students could have being the leaders or scientists who might have changed the paths of the country. So is Sri Lanka in a situation to afford to neglect these potential students?

To fulfill the needs of these students private institutes stood up to offer the foreign degrees mainly from the universities in United Kingdom, United States and Australia. They started partnerships to offer these degrees at a affordable rates. Scholarships were given for those who are successful. This was a blissful path took by many students who dreamt about higher education. Part time studies were available for the working students and the age was not a problem. This gave a chance to everybody who dreamt about higher studies take their chance and stand up.

However this was not the same case for those who wanted to study medicine. There was limited number of vacancies available in the state universities. So the private institutes tried to offer this degree as well. However some opposed to this idea of everybody getting a chance to be educated. Regardless they success or not, a country full of educated people will only be a blessing for a developing country to keep one step ahead.

These battles were fought and many private institutes had to limit the range of degree courses offered. Along the years many changed and today in 2014 we stand giving everybody an equal chance to be educated at an affordable rate. Medical students, Engineers, Architects, Business students and art students now have the chance to continue their dream even if they didn’t get a chance to enter state universities. Many private institutions are in corporation with the state and to offer the quality education for all. Scholarships are given, easy payment plans are offered. Sri Lanka is in a place where today those who wishes to have a higher education can chose from many options and follow their dream. Sri Lanka has opened gates for many global universities to offer courses. And the privatization of the higher education of Sri Lankans has brought many perks along. Foreign students are welcome and it has truly opened gates for a better connection globally and Sri Lankan students to explore the possibilities.

Manisha Jayawardana
Manisha Jayawardana

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