Should Sri Lanka need Private Universities? – Example from UK system

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Many media in Sri Lanka and government ministers seem to support the idea that Sr Lanka needs private degree awarding institutes, as only few can be allowed to enter National Universities. However, some Sri Lankan University Student Associations, oppose the idea of Private Universities, and Medical students have voiced their concerns on the Private Medical Faculty (SATIM) established in Malabe, which award degree from a Russian University for a fee of about 6-7 million rupees.

Though many people argue that Private Universities are common in every country, it is not the case. For example in England, Universities are currently allowed to charge home students £3,225 fees per year. This is initially paid to the university by the government, and then paid back through the tax system by students once their income reaches £15,000. In addition, students are eligible for loans towards their maintenance costs, which they pay back in the same way as their fees.

Therefore, similar to Sri Lanka, the role of private universities in England has so far been limited – with tight regulation over the rights to award degrees. Recently Universities Minister David Willetts in UK has suggested that he would bring forward legislation to enable private universities. However, University Lecturers’ Union Head, Ms Sally Hunt says in her letter to Mr Willetts that she is deeply concerned about any moves to mirror such growth in the for-profit sector in England.

It is true some countries like USA and India have private universities, but those are traditional universities with well established  academic and research capabilities.

Students who are not eligible into a National University because of  low z-score, should also have a right to obtain a University degree in Sri Lanka. But we have to assess whether establishing vast number of private Universities (Colleges) in the country, as in India is a solution to this problem.  Better solution would be that Sri Lankan government should concentrate more on developing open university system, online learning, and semi government institutes such as SLIIT, NIBM (although these institutes also charge extremely high tuition fees), external degrees and technical degrees which charge reasonable amount from students.

You may also read similar post on this web site “Do we need Private Universities in Sri Lanka?
Related Posts:
Educational Institutes in Sri Lanka
Private Universities and Degree courses in Sri Lanka
Private IT degrees in Sri Lanka – Cost and study options
Cost of University degree courses in Sri Lanka
Universities and courses in National Universities
Technical and Vocational Degrees 







  1. Nazhad Farook February 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm -  Reply

    On balance, this is probably a mortal threat to free education, since the efforts of hardworking students in Local universities are nullified by the entrance of (quite a small percentage, I may add) certain students who are mostly backed by their parents’ money. But on the other hand, everyone has a right to receive a good education and in the case of others, to renew their chances of getting a job. Private Universities at large, are still too young to risk an accurate judgement.

  2. Nishara Nuwanthi October 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm -  Reply

    Some concerns with mushrooming private universities:
    – Academic standars – course content, course design
    – Lectureing staff -will these people emply academics with proper qualifications eg. with PhDs
    – Cost of the program (could be 1-4 million per year? Can a normal parent afford it.
    – Other facilties to produce a balance graduate – library, sports, adequate land area?

    Can they mainating these standards with a very low cost?

  3. tharuka October 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm -  Reply

    Education is right for everybody. It can not be resticted even government. However, there is no proper regulation to establish private universities. Sri Lanka need private universities with foreign colleberation and it is not just 3rd grate univeristies in INdia. If low grate Indian univeristies and some insitution establish branches in Sri Lanka, it would decay the Quality of Sri Lankan eduction. Sri Lanka need quality private university with Sri Lankan identity. Then, Sri Lanka can be next Education hub in south asia.

  4. hiruwan October 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm -  Reply

    This is a loosing debate.Sooner or later there will be private universities in Sri Lanka just like all the other countries.
    In UK the education is partly funded but they will increase the amount the student has to pay by double as they don’t have money.
    The simple concept where top universities follow such as Oxford and Harvard is the principle developed by King Henry the viii th.
    That is all universities have a quota system where rich pay a lot of money and get in poor get in by way of funding and scholarships but will have to be brilliant.
    If your poor and not smart then you will not get in to a university.
    This is a simple fact. The average child who has bit of both should be able to go as well

  5. Hiran October 5, 2010 at 9:49 pm -  Reply

    New generation of students are called Millennials. They view higher education as an expensive but economically necessary consumer good, not a privilege earned by hard work and outstanding performance. They (or their parents) “purchase” it for the instrumental purpose of opening well-paying occupational doors on graduation, so they feel entitled to their degree for the cost of the credits.

  6. Deepthi September 23, 2010 at 10:45 am -  Reply

    In countries like India, Malaysia, and China national and private
    medical universities co-exist side by side without any problem.
    The minimum requirements they ask is a C GRADE in 3 Science
    subjects. There is no threat to the national universities whatsoever.
    I cannot understand why there is so much ado about nothing, when it comes to Sri Lanka.

    Our local uni students must understand that it is not just their
    excellent grades in the ALs which got them a place to study free
    of cost at the national universities in Sri Lanka. It is the tax payer
    who is funding their education. So why not let the tax payer’s child
    get a medical education at a PMC in Sri lanka with his own cost.

  7. T.Perera September 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm -  Reply

    i think private universities in SL is a brilliant idea especially for those students who do the london syllabus since the SL universities mostly take only students who do the local syllabus.

  8. chaminda Ariyaratne September 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm -  Reply

    “every human has the right for education” i think private universities in Sri Lanka is a brilliant idea !

  9. chaminda Ariyaratne September 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm -  Reply

    very good article & very usefull site & facts in it !

  10. Janomi September 17, 2010 at 9:20 pm -  Reply

    I do not agree for the private universites.
    Its break cleaver poor childs heart.If government develop our universitys which they spend idiotly we cannot lost our qulification.

  11. hirunika September 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm -  Reply

    Nice article.

  12. Susila Karundasa September 17, 2010 at 7:41 am -  Reply

    OK. Nice article,
    As you aregue do UK government fully fund their universitiies?

    • Hiran September 17, 2010 at 7:45 am -  Reply

      According to BBC website, in the UK, income from fees – including fees paid directly by students such as postgraduates and overseas students – makes up about 29% of universities’ total funding, which was £25.4bn in 2008/09.
      Another 35% comes from government funding bodies, while the rest comes from other sources such as research grants, endowments and investments.
      Sri Lankan National Universities also charge postgraduates and external degree students, which they can earn money.

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