Online Learning for Extending Access and Facilitating Employability in Sri Lanka

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Livelihoods // The Sri Lankan University system which operates under the Universities Act of 1978 consists of the following institutional framework: // • 15 National Universities, // • One School (the School of Computing, the University of Colombo) a number of Institutes, // several Postgraduate Institutes and Centres (e.g. Staff Development Centre, University of Colombo) attached to the universities.// • The University Grants Commission (UGC), the apex body that allocates funds to the universities, determines admission criteria, and supervises and monitors the overall working of the university system. // The National Education Commission, established under the provisions of the National Education Commission Act No.19 of 1991 has the primary responsibility of making recommendations to the President of Sri Lanka on educational policy, including higher education. Until recently university education continued to be a government monopoly in Sri Lanka. All state universities are government funded, and except the Open University of Sri Lanka, depend on government grants for about 95 % of their expenditure. While most post-graduate courses are fee-levying, all undergraduate courses are provided free of charge. Students are also heavily subsidized through scholarships and bursaries, and hostel facilities are provided at a nominal charge. // Sri Lanka’s Human Development Index (HDI) was 0.743 and the Gender Development Index (GDI) was 0.735 in 2007/08 (UNDP, 2007/08). The corresponding HDI and GDI ranks are 99 and 88. While progressive policies implemented in education helped to expand facilities in general education and to benefit both sexes, the percentage of the age group (20-24 years) entering university education increased negligibly. Thus in 2006, 58.21% of the students who sat for GCE (A.L) Examination were eligible for admission but only 13.97% of them could gain admission (UGC, 2006). // Paper ID 704

Sri Lanka