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Here is a brief overview of education system in Sri Lanka.
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Higher Education in Sri Lanka

The Government in Sri Lanka gave utmost priority to the education system after independence. As a result in a span of 5 decades the literacy percentage of the population has gone up to over 90% and is the highest in South East Asia.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) was established under the Universities Act. No. 16 of 1978, and is the Apex body of the University System in Sri Lanka. The functions of the UGC are to allocate funds to the universities and institutes, serve as the central admission agency for undergraduate studies in universities, planning and monitoring of academic activities of the university system in order to maintain academic standards and implement national policies in respect of university education in Sri Lanka.
There are 12 National Universities and 2 Institutes under the UGC and 3 Universities under the Ministry of Education and the UGC selects students for admission to undergraduate courses in these 12 universities and 2 institutes.
Vocational and Technical Education
The Ministry of Vocational and Technical Education is entrusted with formulation of policies on Tertiary and Vocational Education Training (TVET). Those who are not admitted to the Universities, and those who have studied up to the GCE A/L and O/L exam, can either enter vocational technical training centers or be employed in private companies or in government departments as apprentices or trainees. They can also pursue higher education as external students of traditional universities or at the Open University of Sri Lanka. The Open University of Sri Lanka was established in the early 1980’s with the idea of conferring degrees and diplomas to the working population who can do part-time studies by paying tuition fees.
International Schools
International Schools were established with the approval of the (Foreign Investment Advisory Committee) FIAC/Board of Investment (BOI) beginning from the 1980s. They are officially regarded as business ventures and are registered with the Registrar of Companies under the Companies Act No. 17 of 1982. These schools invariably impart education in the English medium and mainly follow the British curriculum in preparing students for the London O/L and A/L, General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE ) examinations.
The London Examinations IGCSE is a new qualification that embraces the best practice of O level and GCSE. It also provides students with an international perspective to their studies, and IGCSEs is the most up-to-date qualifications.
IGCSEs examinations are 100% externally assessed. This allows schools to offer a GCSE qualification, even if teachers are not coursework specialists. Most IGCSEs contain a coursework option so that centers with the experience and expertise can offer coursework.
Universities under University Grants Commission
  • University of Colombo       
  • University of Peradeniya   
  • University of Rajarata
  • University of Jaffna
  • South Eastern University  
  • Uva Wellassa University
  • University of Ruhuna        
  • University of Moratuwa      
  • Sabaragamuwa University
  • University of Kelaniya        
  • University of Sri Jayewardanepura         
  • Visual and Performing Art University
  • Eastern University  
  • Wayamba University 
Other Government Universities
Ministry of Defense - The General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU)

Ministry of Education - Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka, Buddhasravaka Bhiksu University

Last Updated on: 17-05-2010

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