Speaking to media at the Information Department yesterday, he said “We have 281,786 who have sat for the Advanced Level examinations out of which 181,126 have qualified to enter universities, however only 30,000 students are enrolled which leaves nearly 150,000 students stranded with no future prospect for employment or higher education,” he said.
“Every consecutive government has tried to increase this intake but had not been successful. According to the election pledge and manifesto of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, there is a legible and pragmatic roadmap on achieving this. Our initiatives will see an increase in 25 percent in the intake starting this year.”
Referring to the bleak future of students who do not have access to universities, the minister described them as becoming both a burden to their families and the country. He noted that this culture of taking on ad-hoc odd jobs to supplement their livelihoods should be stopped and that the younger generation should be better guided.
In addition to the intake, degree awarding institutions such as NSBM, SLIIT, SLETC and SLT Institutes will be uplifted and absorbed by the government. Meanwhile private education institution industry would be further regulated. Further more 300 university colleges will be set up in an effort to avoid students from idling after sitting for the Advanced Level examination.
“Every pradeshiya sabha will have University Colleges within its purview that will cater to students from those respective areas. At the university college, students will be able to complete a two year higher national diploma and continue with their degrees thereafter. This will reduce the waiting time that students now spend, with some waiting a year for university entrance to come through.”
He added that the ministry had identified several state owned educational institutions replete with facilities which are however not performing at its full capacity. “I visited an institute in Ratmalana and was surprised to find that in some courses there were only a handful of students. These are places that can be upgraded and absorb more students.”
He further said that due to the drop out after Advanced Level examinations, many parents go out on a limb to send their children abroad for higher studies. “We have also come across a paradox where students who are graduating cannot find gainful employment due to their unsuitable for the local industries while the industry is facing a dearth of skilled individuals,” he said. “We have already held consultations and discussions with universities to increase the intake by 25 percent this year.”
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)