World TVET Database - Country Profiles
|TVET Country Profile|
| 1. TVET mission|
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
7. Statistical information
1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy
Formulated by the National Education Commission and Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) , the National Policy Framework on Higher Education and Technical & Vocational Education (2009)outlines a framework for tertiary education. The document is divided into three sections – higher education; TVET; quality assurance, assessment & accreditation and career guidance &counselling – with the TVET section focusing on the background of TVET in Sri Lanka; economic and financial aspects; image, effectiveness, and employability; human resource management; and linking different educational and vocational qualifications.
The Framework sets the following goals for TVET:
- Policy 61: Create a legal environment that facilitates development initiatives and effective implementation of TVET;
- Policy 62 : Ensure that all TVET institutions in the state sector provide relevant statistics on an annual basis to the TVEC;
- Policy 63: Require all registered private sector TVET providers to submit annual financial and statistical reports to the TVEC;
- Policy 64: Encourage state and private sector providers to use basic cost information uploaded to the TVEC in generating financial accounting reports;
- Policy 65: TVEC should establish a Management Information System to facilitate generation of financial management reports by institutions;
- Policy 66: Curricula and courses provided at state-run TVET institutions should be strictly responsive to economic and social demand and be maintained at national and international competitive levels;
- Policy 67: Enhance active participation of industry sector employers in designing courses provided by state-owned TVET institutions;
- Policy 68: The legal provisions of state-run TVET institutions should ensure more financial autonomy;
- Policy 69: Rationalise courses to optimise the use of resources in state TVET institutions;
- Policy 70: Provide state assistance where necessary, to non-state sector TVET institutions;
- Policy 71: Encourage establishment of formal, long-term public-private-partnerships at institutional and training centre level;
- Policy 72: Ensure that donor/lender funding is utilised in a manner that is consistent with the national development plan for the TVET sector;
- Policy 73: Provide sufficient funds for the development of TVET institutions;
- Policy 74: National Vocational Qualification certification should be the standard of competency in the TVET sector, in content delivery methodology and the overall evaluation process for education and training;
- Policy 75: Establish salary scales for certified craft personnel commensurate with the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ).
- Policy 76: Ensure due recognition of NVQ competency standards in recruitment to state-sector posts, and in awarding government contracts.
- Policy 77: Encourage TVET institutions to establish partnerships to conduct training programmes for industry;
- Policy 78: Create better foreign employment opportunities for TVET qualified personnel;
- Policy 79: Develop entrepreneurship skills to promote self-employability;
- Policy 80: Design customised TVET/livelihood training for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;
- Policy 81: Develop staff through pre-service training and in-service exposure to industry;
- Policy 82: Establish a transfer scheme in each training organisational network, based on accepted principles that will ensure optimal delivery of its training programmes for the benefit of students;
- Policy 83: Develop and implement a Performance Appraisal (PA) system based on the assumption that staff personnel are competent professionals and that institutional frameworks exist to support their development;
- Policy 84: Develop and implement in each training organisation, an internal promotional scheme which is effective, fair and systematic;
- Policy 85 : Extend the resources of the TVET sector to the school system, through short term programmes on technology;
- Policy 86: Provide a seamless pathway for school leavers who do not have direct entry into higher education, to continue their education in the TVET system;
- Policy 87: Establish linkages with higher education institutions in the area of research, programme development and in policy matters; and
- Policy 88: Establish a standardised system to recognise non-NVQ programmes under the NVQ framework.
The six groups were selected according to vulnerability due to their limited access to skills training and resulting problems in finding employment.
The identified groups are:
- Disadvantaged women, especially those heading households;
- People with disabilities (mental and physical);
- Disadvantaged youth (including school drop-outs and former child labours);
- The poor (including people from plantation, rural and urban areas);
- Persons affected by conflict (including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and ex-combatants); and
- Family members of migrant workers.
- Recognise training for the vulnerable as a national priority in achieving inclusive economic and social development;
- Establish information systems to coordinate action and assess performance
- Ensure adequate financing;
- Raise awareness and establish career guidance and counselling;
- Expand the network of training providers to increase outreach;
- Employ flexible and innovative training approaches;
- Incorporate livelihoods and life skills training;
- Combine training with support for employment; and
- Develop an inclusive culture within training providers.
The Tertiary and Vocational Education Act No. 20 of 1990 is the main legal document guiding TVET in Sri Lanka. It stipulates the establishment of the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC). The TVE (Amendment) Act No. 50 (1999) reconstituted TVEC as a statutory body. Amendments to the existing Act were suggested in 2012 and are currently under consideration.
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2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems
Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from UNESCO-IBE (2011). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Sri Lanka. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.
Primary education starts at the age of five and lasts for five years. It is divided into five grades and finishes with the Grade 5 Scholarship and Placement Examination. Secondary education consists of two levels – junior secondary and senior secondary levels. Junior secondary level (grades 6-9) lasts four years while the senior secondary level (grades 10-11) lasts two years. At the end of secondary education, students sit the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary-level examination which gives access to one to two-year programmes at technical colleges and finishes with a vocational diploma. The GCE examination is followed by the last stage of formal education – the collegiate level – which lasts two years and leads to the GCE Advanced-level examination. Primary education is compulsory. After passing the GCE Advance-level examination, students can continue with higher education at universities and national colleges of education or TVET institutions. Bachelor’s degrees usually take three to four years, master’s degrees take two years and doctoral degree programmes take three to five years.
Formal TVET system
The Formal TVET sector of Sri Lanka comprises 348 public sector training centres and about 670 active private and Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) training centres. These are shown in the following diagram:
Non-formal and informal TVET systems
A large number of non-formal TVET in Sri Lanka focuses on IT and is offered on a fee-levying basis. Nevertheless, there is a widespread network of non-fee levying institutions which are funded through national and international charities.
The National Vocational Qualifications Framework of Sri Lanka (NQVSL) recognises competencies acquired through informal learning such as:
- Workplace experiences;
- Life experiences;
- Self-directed study;
- Informal uncertificated learning;
- Formal uncertificated learning;
- Informal undocumented study;
- In-service training;
- Distance education or open learning;
- Community-based learning; and
- Overseas education, training or experiences.
Scheme extracted from National Education Commission (2012). National Vocational Qualifications.
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3. Governance and financing
Education in Sri Lanka is administered centrally and at provincial level. The Ministry of Education is responsible for drawing up national policies and plans, managing public schools, teacher education and quality assurance. Provincial Councils are in charge of implementing education policies. Each of the nine provinces has a Provincial Ministry of Education which is headed by a Provincial Minister and assisted by Chief Secretary and Provincial Director of Education. Provinces are further divided into educational zones which are administered by a Zonal Education Office. Each zone has approximately 100 to 130 schools. Zones are further sub-divided into divisions which are headed by Divisional Officers who assist Zonal Directors.
Higher education is administered by the Ministry of Higher Education, while the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development is responsible for TVET.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development is in charge of formulating national policies and implementing youth development programmes. To achieve these objectives, the Ministry encompasses the following 17 statuary bodies:
- The Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) was established under the provisions of the Tertiary and Vocational Education Act No. 20 of 1990. The Commission engages in policy development, planning, co-ordination and the development of tertiary and vocational education at all levels. It is committed to developing a nationally recognised system for granting of tertiary and vocational education awards; and maintaining academic and training standards in institutes, agencies and all other establishments providing tertiary education and vocational education.
- The University of Vocational Technology (UNIVOTEC) University of Vocational Technology is the university established for the TVET sector by repealing act of National Institute of Technical Education of Sri Lanka(NITESL). The general objective of the Univotec is to provide progressive upward movement to the students in the technical education and vocational training system, based on their aptitudes and abilities, to acquire university education. The specific objectives of the UNIVOTEC are: (1) to provide pedagogical training up to degree level for trainers serving in the technical and vocational education sector and industry; (2) to provide courses of study for middle level technical personnel, with qualifications acceptable for admission to Univotec, up to degree level; (3) to provide courses of study for those with National Vocational Qualifications to upgrade their competencies and acquire a degree level qualifications; and (4) to provide extension courses on continuous professional development.
- The Department of Technical Education and Training (DTET) The Department of Technical Education and Training was established in year 1893 and has expanded to 38 Technical Colleges today. There are 09 Technical colleges upgraded to Colleges of Technology (CoTs) in the nine provinces to conduct emerging technology diplomas in the provinces. Most of the courses conducted in DTET are long term certificate and diploma courses in the technical education streams.
- The Vocational Training Authority (VTA) which was established under Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka Act. No. 12 of 1995 provides skills training to rural youth through a network of 6 National Vocational Training Institutes, 22 District Vocational Training Centres and 218 Rural Vocational Training Centres.
- The National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) was established as the National Apprenticeship Board under the National Apprenticeship Act. No. 49 of 1971 and was renamed under the Tertiary and Vocational Education Act No. 20 of 1990 as the National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority. NAITA conducts island-wide training programmes aimed at small, medium and large scale enterprises.
- The National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) was established in 1968 and later incorporated into the Act of Parliament No.23 of 1976. The Institute provides training courses for public and private institutions on computer usage, consultancy services and productivity improvement.
- The Skills Development Fund Ltd. (SDFL) is a collective enterprise of the government and the private sector. The Fund was established in 1999 to fulfill the human resource development needs of employers. It is a self-funded organisation governed by a Board of Directors.
- The main objective of the Ceylon German Technical Training Institute(CGTTI) is to develop automobile technology and other technical trades. The Institute provides automobile training and aims to be considered a centre of excellence for training in the automotive sector.
- The National Youth Services Council (NYSC) was established by Parliamentary Act No. 69 of 1979. The Council implements annual youth programmes and projects related to developing creativity, artistic, technical and leadership skills; and works to encourage participation in volunteer programmes.
- The National Human Resources Development Council (NHRDC) is in charge of preparing human resource development policies, implementing the human resource development plan, conducting studies, research and surveys and running seminars and workshops related to human resource development.
- The National Youth Award Authority (NYAA) works to improve attitudes among young people. It awards internationally recognised certificates and medals to youth and creates opportunities to improve their international experience. The Authority runs training programmes in schools.
- The National Youth Corps was initiated in 2003 by Parliamentary Act No. 21 of 2002. It encompasses 43 regional training centres that offer courses on personal development, career guidance, national heritage, beauty skills and job-oriented vocational skills.
- Youth Services Ltd. was established under the guidance and financial aid of the National Youth Services Council in order to raise funds to implement youth projects and to design training programs to enhance youth employability.
- The International Centre for Training of Rural Leaders (ICTRL) assists in making training services,offered by governmental and nongovernmental organisations, efficient and effective.
- The Sri Lanka Institute of Printers (SLIOP) was established with the objective of improving quality of the printing industry. It offers training on printing technologies and management; and fosters knowledge on new technologies through international cooperation.
- The National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering (NIFNE), established in 1999 by Parliamentary Act. No.36 is an educational and training institute in fisheries and related areas. The Institute presently offers a number of distance, certificate and diploma courses; and three degree programmes.
- The National Youth Services Cooperative Ltd. (NYSCO) encourages youth entrepreneurs by providing entrepreneurship training, loan schemes and career guidance for self- employment; and advice on obtaining credit from conventional banks.
In Sri Lanka, the private sector is already burdened with heavy taxation which would make the imposition of a training levy difficult. However, marketable skills are most needed by the most underprivileged in society who cannot bear the cost of acquisition of TVET skills.
Therefore, a large proportion of education and training is provided free of charge, together with a daily allowance. Some public training institutions charge fees for high demand courses, such as computing, cosmetology, bakery etc.; and engage in training-related production to generate income. At present the state TVET sector depends heavily on treasury funds and a significant extent on donor/lender funding and interventions for development activities.
To improve management and financing of TVET, the National Policy Framework on Higher Education and Technical & Vocational Education (2009) sets the following goals:
- Ensure that all TVET institutions in the state sector provide relevant statistics on an annual basis to the TVEC;
- Require all registered private sector TVET providers to submit annual financial and statistical reports to the TVEC;
- Encourage state and private sector providers to use basic cost information uploaded to the TVEC in generating financial accounting reports;
- Establish a management information system to facilitate generation of financial management reports by institutions;
- Curricula and courses provided at state-run TVET institutions should be strictly responsive to economic and social demand and be maintained at national and international competitive levels;
- Enhance active participation of industry sector employers in designing courses provided by state-owned TVET institutions;
- The legal provisions of state-run TVET institutions should ensure more financial autonomy;
- Rationalise courses to optimise the use of resources in state TVET institutions;
- Provide state assistance to non-state sector TVET institutions,where necessary; and
- Encourage establishment of formal, long-term public-private partnerships at institutional and training center level.
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4. TVET teachers and trainers
As of January 2012 there are 382 training centres that are governed by the Ministry in charge of TVET (Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development). The academic staff consists of 3 categories namely permanent -1191, contract-721 and visiting-1339 amounting a total of 3251 persons. Special Teacher Training facility, National Institute of Technical Education of Sri Lanka (NITESL) later upgraded to University of Vocational Technology (UNIVOTEC) making Education Technology Faculty dedicated to staff development of the TVET sector. The University of Vocational Technology offers a Bachelor of Education in Technology (B.Ed. Tech) for teachers in the sector and short-term training courses for TVET trainers and assessors.
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5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks
National Qualifications Framework (NQF)
The National Vocational Qualifications Framework of Sri Lanka (NVQSL) is the key in unifying technical and vocational education and training. Its aim is to ensure that existing and new TVET activities are coordinated.
The National Competency Standards (NCS) are prepared in consultation with the industry and curricula, trainer guides, trainee guides and assessment resources are prepared based on the NCS . A competency standard is a document defining competency units pertaining to skills, standards and activities related to acquiring relevant knowledge, competencies and attitudes. Competency units are identified based on industry requirements in a particular occupation.
Assessments are competency-based and the system is benchmarked against qualification systems in developed countries. Competency-based training curricula and related training, learning and assessment materials are included in the framework, together with requirements for registration and accreditation of training providers and their courses.
An operational manual for NVQSL is compiled by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) with the assistance of the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Vocational Training Authority (VTA), Department of Technical Education (DTET), National Youth Services Council (NYSC) and National Institute of Technical Education (NITESL). The manual outlines agreed policies and processes for implementation of all competencies as outline in NVQSL.
NVQSL comprises of seven qualification levels. Each level describes the learning process and requirements as well as occupational responsibility involved.
The following diagram shows generalised description of qualification levels:
National Vocational Qualifications are focused for different categories at each level as follows:
Scheme extracted from National Education Commission (2012). National Vocational Qualifications.
Assessments are conducted by licensed assessors who are hired by accredited training centres where trainees take competency based training courses. Assessors examine trainees’ progress reports, practical and theoretical examination results and other relevant documentation before they admit trainees to NVQ Assessments.
NVQ certificates can also be acquired without completing a competency-based course. The National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) or any other NVQ-accredited public vocational training center can issue NVQ certificates through the Recognition of Prior Learning System (RPL). Candidates are assessed for their competencies before being awarded a NVQ certificate. Assessment includes inspection of supportive documents or, if no documents available, visits at the workplace to conduct practical tests. Tests can also be conducted at training centers if the workplace does not offer adequate conditions. In case of failure to demonstrate required skills and competencies, candidates will be informed about shortcomings and advised on possibilities to upgrade skills to be awarded a NVQ certificate.
The National Policy Framework on Higher Education and Technical & Vocational Education (2009) stipulates the establishment of an accreditation and quality assurance framework for all
TVET institutions (Policy 95).
The Technical and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) is in charge of accrediting TVET institutions and courses.
Assessment for course accreditation is based on National Competency Standards as outlined in the National Vocational Qualifications Framework for Sri Lanka (NVQSL). Training institutions wishing to offer courses leading to award of NVQ qualification should be accredited by TVEC. Given that training courses are accredited based on the National Vocational Qualification Framework of Sri Lanka (NVQSL), National Competency Standard and Competency Based Curricula are prerequisites in applying for accreditation.
Before granting course accreditation, TVEC evaluates the following course components.
- Course/ year plan for including duration of each module:
- Training plan/scheme of for each module including duration of each task or task cluster;
- Lesson plans for every lesson of all modules;
- Weekly timetables;
- Trainers daily records/instructor log book;
- Trainee daily diary/ theory note books and practical exercise books;
- Assessment criteria covering all task of continuous assessment;
- Trainee assessment records books.
- Availability of required training facilities to conduct the course;
- Adequacy and Qualifications of training staff;
- Adequate space and training environment in classrooms and workshops; and
- Management and record keeping.
TVEC grants registration certificates to TVET institutions based on the assessment of adequacy and relevance of infrastructure, training equipment, teacher qualification, curricula and training delivery. TVEC operates a four-grade system ranked according to set standards:
- Grade C: Marginally acceptable for provisional registration. The registration is valid for 2 Years;
- Grade B: Fully acceptable for provisional registration. The registration is valid for 3 Years;
- Grade A: Having obtained Grade B or C and over 50% of the courses are accredited. The registration is valid for 3 Years; and
- Grade A+: Having obtained Grade A and Quality Management System (QMS) is established.
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6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges
Current reforms and major projects
According to the presidential task force report in 1998, two projects were initiated with donor support, mainly from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as briefed below.
Skills Development Project ( 2000-2006)
Main objective of the skills development project was to improve the quality and relevance of skills training programs to build high quality work force and address the mismatch of skills in the labour market of Sri Lanka. The project had four components:
- Improving quality and relevance of skills training programs;
- Institution building and human resource development;
- Resource mobilisation and sustainability; and
- Innovative interventions to strengthen NGO and private sector participation.
Under component 2 the following human resource development areas were covered by the project.
- Institution building and core competencies’ strengthening in the areas of planning, policy making, CBT curriculum development, standards setting, evaluation including Benefit Monitoring and Evaluation (BME), and quality control through staff development to strengthen the institutional capacities of ministry and national VT institutions, national VTCs and district VTCs, and two district pilot TCs, career guidance and counseling, CBT resource centres, and private sector and NGO VTCs;
- Establishment of a BME system by providing adequate equipment and trained staff for its implementation;
- Support research studies, tracer studies and training needs assessment; and
- Training of rural youth including women in IT skills.
The goal of the Project is to improve the provision, access, relevance, and efficiency of the technical education system in support of the Government's economic and social objectives. The Project has supported the Government's economic growth and poverty reduction strategy through improving the country's skill-based competitiveness.
This project was funded by the Asian Development Bank. The TEDP Project has provided consultancies and financial resources to prepare and implement a staff development plan.
In terms of staff development, the TEDP has supported the development of:
- Educational qualifications of teaching and training staff; and
- Technical and industrial skills of technical teachers in existing and new technologies.
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7. Statistical information(*)
Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision
Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on World Bank Database
Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on ILO: Key Indicators of the Labour Market
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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions
- Automobile Engineering Training Institute
- Institute of Engineering Technology
- National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority
- Public TVET institutions
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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations
- National Education Commission (2009). National Policy Framework on Higher Education and TVET – Financing. Colombo: National Education Commission.
- National Education Commission (2012). Accreditation of training courses. Accessed: 20 July 2012.
- National Education Commission (2012). National Vocational Qualifications. Accessed: 20 July 2012.
- National Education Commission (2012). Registration of training institutions. Accessed: 20 July 2012.
- UNESCO-IBE (2011).World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Sri Lanka. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.
- Webpage of the State Ministry of Youth Affairs. Accessed: 20 July 2012.
- Webpage of the University of Vocational Technology. Accessed: 20 July 2012.
- Webpage of the Ceylon German Technical Training Institute.
- Webpage of the Department of Technical Education and Training.
- Webpage of the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority of Sri Lanka.
- Webpage of the National Youth Services Council.
- Webpage of the Skills Development Fund limited.
- Webpage of the Sri Lanka Institute of Printers.
- Webpage of the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission.
- Webpage of the Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka.
- CGTTI - Ceylon German Technical Training Institute
- DTET - Department of Technical Education and Training
- NAITA - National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority
- NHRDS - National Human Resources Development Council
- NIBM - National Institute of Business Management
- NIE - National Institute of Education
- NIFNE - National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering
- NVQ - National Vocational Qualifications
- NYAA - National Youth Award Authority
- NYSCO - National Youth Services Cooperative Ltd.
- ICTRL - International Centre for Training of Rural Leaders
- SDFL - Skills Development Fund Ltd
- SLIOP - Sri Lanka Institute of Printers
- TVEC - Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission
- UNIVOTEC - University of Vocational Technology
- VTA - Vocational Training Authority
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