Private tertiary education in Sri Lanka has not just become an industry any more, it has been transformed into vultures by certain institutions who are all out to make money and money ONLY. Some of these institutions are backed by large groups of companies, who are known to have 'dubious' activities in their backgrounds. Parents and students need to be wary of the fact that these institutions are out there and they are out to kill your life savings.
Seventy % saving?
Particular organizations are harping on the fact that they enable parents/students to save 70% of their expenditure to earn a quality British degree. How is this possible when you spend approximately Rs. 600,000/- in Sri Lanka just to earn a diploma offered by a local body with almost no quality assurance and then spend Rs. 1,500,000/- per year in UK, just for tuition fees. You would be spending almost Rs. 7,500,000/- to obtain a British degree, taking into account the cost of living expenditure.
Private tertiary education is not just representing a foreign University in Sri Lanka. There is much more to it. Parents and students should consider some of these key factors before committing themselves into a particular programme.
Does the institution take responsibility for your child's education, qualification and quality of life promised in the advertisements? There are some institutions that have long standing associations (over 10 - 12 years) with extremely recognized and prestigious foreign universities. These institutions will not be able to function for so long unless they have been responsible in their actions. There are some who have ventured into the industry in the recent past, who are in it for the short run to make a quick buck. These are the organizations offering 'carrots' to parents and students in the form of 70% savings.
Investing in your child's education is like investing in a fixed deposit. You stand to earn a return on that investment. With lucrative 'carrots' like 70% savings, where are these organizations leading our parents, who are willing to spend their life savings to educate their children? An organization which brought the entire nation to a standstill, who offered such returns on their deposits, comes to mind.
Policy on revising fee schedules
Most of the private tertiary education institutions in Sri Lanka are reluctant to adopt a policy of allowing students to pay the total fees upfront. Nor are they willing to take a policy of NOT revising fees of students once they register for a particular programme. Is it not fair that parents should know exactly how much they would be spending on their child's education from beginning to end?
Institutions are boasting of having 'foreign' lecturers in their panels. But are these foreigners actually University appointees? We wouldn't know. Lecturers in an undergraduate and post-graduate programme should be representing the standards, quality and benchmarks set by the foreign universities.
Whether they are local or foreign they should be adequately qualified, academically and should have extensive industry experience, to be able to maintain quality classroom time. They need to be appointed by the University the institution represents and constantly assessed by the same University.
Some popular institutions even resort to using their own students, soon after they graduate from their own programmes as lectures. These lectures have at most instances, not even seen the light of a real corporate environment. So what will they pass on to your child? It is a huge cost saving to the institution, as these 'lectures' come much cheaper.
The environment that your child is educated in should be conducive for quality education. It should suit Sri Lankan culture and values. After all, as a parent if you did not expect that, you would be sending your child abroad.
Private tertiary education system found its way into society due to the lapses in the state university system, including resources.
Ultimately it became a huge source saving of foreign currency to Sri Lanka. None of these are achievable if organizations with the objective of making money keep mushrooming.
Hence, if the state is not taking adequate measures to regularize these institutions offering 'carrots' to parents and students, we as individuals should take a stand.