Sri Lanka students stranded overseas

By Prof. Dayantha Wijeyesekera.

The closure of overseas higher education institutes where Sri Lankan students entered with much difficulty, bearing heavy financial burdens, is a matter of serious concern.

Those who proceed overseas for higher education may be doing so in three different ways:

  • making contact with the overseas universities or other higher education institutes directly or through friends and relatives.
  • through various student recruitment agencies (similar to employment agencies) and,
  • through private training providers in Sri Lanka.

In the first category any defaults would be due to risks taken by the candidates; going through agencies and resulting in being stranded would amount to breach of agreements (if any) of recruitment. However, those who have pursued courses of study in Sri Lanka with the hope of completing their studies overseas as indicated by the Sri Lankan education institute, for which financial commitments have been made, should have been cautious in the first instance that such tertiary education institutes are registered with the Tertiary and Vocational Educational Commission (TVEC).

All tertiary education training providers other than those exempted due to their being local degree awarding institutes, authorised by the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Higher Education, have to be registered with the TVEC under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development by the provisions under section 14 in the TVE Act No 20 of 1990 (as amended) .

It has surfaced that some of the education institutes responsible for conducting courses and thereafter sending students overseas have not registered with the TVEC, and as such, their existence as tertiary education institutes in Sri Lanka cannot be considered as legal. These students, their parents or guardians should ensure that before enrolment as students, such institutes are legally established as a tertiary education institute and registered under the TVEC, other than those exempted as mentioned earlier. The necessity and the importance of being enrolled in TVEC registered institutes is that such institutes are expected to conform to the regulations specified by the TVEC or risk their registrations being cancelled.

Hope this caution would be observed by those currently following or hoping to follow such tertiary level courses of study at Public and Private Training Institutes which are not registered with TVEC. Moreover, it would be mandatory that such Training Providers should conform to the requirements under section 14 of the Parliamentary TVE Act No. 20 of 1990 (as amended).

The writer is the Chairman, Tertiary and Vocational Educational Commission.

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