In Sri Lanka almost 90% of school-age children complete Grade 11, the grade that marks the end of the senior secondary school, but only 37% of those qualify at the GCE (O/L) examination and proceed to Grades 12 and 13, the collegiate years. Therefore, for all practical purposes, the typical school leaving age in Sri Lanka is 16, the age of an average student completing Grade 11 in Sri Lanka. We use the term 16+ to characterize the full range of school leavers no matter when they leave school.
Where do our school leavers go? A recent World Bank report estimates the net tertiary education enrollment in Sri Lanka to be about 11%, with 2.4% in public universities, 1% in public technical education and the rest or 8.5% attending various private institutions. (The Treasures of Education System In Sri Lanka, The World Bank, February 2005, Table 1.3).
How did the 8.5% out of 11% get to know about these private opportunities? The Technical and Vocational Education Commission makes a valiant effort to keep track of education and training opportunities in their sector. However, their data are not complete or up to date. Their publications are not widely available either. The University Grants Commission, the agency responsible for higher education can barely keep up with the affairs of the 13 public universities under its charge, let alone keep up with the increasing number of opportunities for receiving degrees in Sri Lanka, with most of them being local institutions offering foreign degrees. Those students attending private institutions probably got their information through the grapevine.
How do the 89% or so school leavers who are currently not in formal tertiary education acquire skills? Judging by the resume of a typical 16+ skill seeker or job seeker, these kids badly need some guidance in their further education. They seem to acquire various types of dubious credentials at significant cost. The Well-to-do can afford to try out several courses until they hit the right one. Others spend money their parents can ill afford for little gain, and stop after they run out of money. These students would have made wiser choices if better information was available to them. buy atarax
Other countries in Asia do a much better job of offering choices to their 16+ group and keeping them informed about these choices. The Studymalaysia Web site that sponsored by the government but maintained privately, is a comprehensive source of all tertiary education opportunities in Malaysia. It addresses financial concerns and offers career guidance as well. The University Grants Commission of India maintains a Fake Universities Alert for local students, and also gives information about private colleges and universities to local and foreign students through its Web site.
The Education Forum may fill part of the void by posting some information here on this Web site in a user-friendly format similar to studymalaysia.com. Have you already done any work in this area or do you have any thoughts on the topic? If so please share them here, or, stay tuned for more information.