Sri Lanka will set up 300 university colleges where students who cannot enter state universities can join and earn a higher national diploma, Higher Education Minister Bandula Gunewardene said.
This year 181,000 students has passed the Advanced level examination earning entry qualifications for universities.
However there are only about 30,000 seats in tax-payer funded universities, leaving about 150,000 high and dry, he said.
Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has promised higher education opportunities for all students who meet entry requirements before his term ends, and the first phase is starting now.
Entry to existing universities will be raised by 25 percent for the next academic year.
The university colleges will be set up using existing facilities and vocational colleges and similar state agencies which are underutilized or unutilized instead of spending money on new buildings, he said.
By the end of 2020, at least 100 such colleges will be set up, which will give two year diplomas. Many of Sri Lanka’s vocational colleges had space and facilities which were unused or underutilized, Minister Gunewardene said. The university colleges will focus on information technology, software engineering and English. These students will have an qualifications which can used internationally Minister Gunawardene said.
Meanwhile the better private degree awarding colleges will also be given ‘Chartered’ status by the government, which will be monitored on an ongoing basis, he said.