Local vs foreign education

careers, Courses, Universities 7 729

The free university education in Sri Lanka is offered by 15 public universities, which enroll only 15% of those eligible to enter universities due to he lack of capacity. This results in parents and students are seeking overseas educational opportunities. It is estimated that around 7000 students go abroad for higher education while about 50,000 students are enrolled in private Higher Educational Institutions and professional institutions in a given year.

According to COLIN N. PEIRIS and JAYANTHA L. RATNASEKERA of Quality Assurance and Accreditation Council of University Grants Commission, parents and students have been taken for a ride by the business companies that claim or foreign accreditation and international recognition, charging large sums of money without providing quality education.

Students (parents) spend lots of money for overseas education, in countries such as UK. USA, India and many other countries. After spending lots of money do they hope to return to Sri Lanka? Is foreign education is different (better) to local university education? Do local employers prefer foreign graduates over those of local universities?

Those who are following courses at Foreign universities, can send their comments on how you can compare education you received in Sri Lanka (school, university) and the courses you are doing now. Or those who are studying in Sri Lankan universities can send their comments on this issue.

Please share your learning habits with others.

Janak Gunatilleke, educated in Royal College, Colombo and did medical degree in University of Leicester writes:

After completing my local A/Ls, I left for the UK to obtain my medical degree. I was lucky that my parents could afford the very high expenses needed. The medical degree itself is very different compared to the UK. From the very beginning the emphasis is on a problem-based approach to learning. This is in contrast to the more factual learning that takes place in the pre-clinical years in Sri Lanka. The overall knowledge gained is greater in Sri Lanka, however most of this forgotten as we start working and the actual knowledge needed to work as a doctor is gained by experience and through senior colleagues. One of the definite advantages of medical school in Sri Lanka is the vast array of clinical presentations and patients that students have access to.

However, at the end of the day, I think the greatest difference is the actual experience you gain from living in a foreign country; living away from your parents, learning responsibility, managing a budget, doing a part time job, meeting students from all over the world and learning about their cultures, and most of all, learning to balance your studies with extra-curricular activities such as sports, various societies and hobbies. If you are lucky, you will get the opportunity to travel and see Europe and beyond. UK degrees are world-recognised and well respected. Additionally, UK universities have a career service where information and support is provided to find the best career and job for you.

The British Council in Colombo is a goods starting point if you want to study in the UK. Unfortunately, scholarships and funding for international students are not common.

Scholarship programs to study abroad
Choosing a medical degree abroad
English tests needed to study abroad

An UK degree is not better than a Sri Lankan degree, but the experience is very different.



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  1. feyaza March 29, 2015 at 11:55 am -  Reply

    hey sir. I wanna know some chem books – english mdm. To buy or download.

  2. Dhilenka Samaraweera June 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm -  Reply

    As a student who obtained a BSc.(Hons) in Biomedical Science degree (UK) in Singapore, I would like to share my opinions and views. I went for the degree after completing local A/L’s. At that time, Biomedical Science degree was not available as a course in Sri Lanka and as I was highly interested in it, I decided to go for it. I believe many students go abroad to study mainly due to limited vacancies at the local Universities and sometimes, as in my case, as foreign universities offer courses which are not available in Sri Lanka.
    After completion of my degree, I returned to Sri Lanka in hopes of finding a job where I can make use of my knowledge and skills gained from my degree. I wonder now if I made a mistake in returning as yet, I have not been able to find a job where I can actually make use of what I’ve learnt. There is a lack of opportunities here for those who are trying to bring in something new for the growth of our country; in short, there is a lack of jobs in Sri Lanka. This could result in students not returning after obtaining foreign degrees. And I can say definitely that local employers have no predilection for foreign graduates over local graduates. I believe it is not about which education is better: knowledge is knowledge, no matter from where you acquire it from, but it would be futile if not made use of. Therefore, Sri Lanka should focus on bringing in more opportunities.

    • Hiran June 22, 2011 at 10:15 pm -  Reply

      Dhilenka: I think there may be opportunities in future for these fields. In the meantime, we need new business start ups on these types of emerging new fields.

  3. G.WEERAWARDANA June 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm -  Reply

    if you can send me a scholarship on law or marketing side, that is a good help for me.

  4. Jayasiri March 12, 2009 at 3:43 am -  Reply

    Yes our education is great! Look how many discoveries we find in Medicine at the faculty of medicine, Colombo University! Oh we have our won Sri Lanian journal of Medicine that is full of new theories of medicine, new treatments found on cancer etc.. Any education is good if it can add new contributions in terms of knowledge to the society.

  5. Education Blog December 25, 2008 at 2:24 pm -  Reply

    Students are used to thinking that foreign education is better from the one they can get in their countries.But of course it’s not so.In any case let’s admit that foreign education. has a great deal of benefits.

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