Ministry of Higher Education: A nation rich in human capital

Wednesday, 16 October 2019 01:50 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


This series is based on business leader Dhammika Perera’s recently revealed ‘Economic Growth Strategy and Action Plan to increase GDP Per Capita from $ 4,000 to $ 12,000’. The document outlines goals and action plans for 23 ministries and today’s column focuses on the Ministry of Higher Education


  • Increase the number of graduates from Government universities from 25,200 to 60,000 and graduates from local private universities from 15,000 to 105,228. 
  • Increase the total number of university graduates to 180,000 from the total 360,000 students per annum. 

1. Increase student intake capacity from 30,000 to 60,000 in Government universities. 

2. Improve existing university rankings by further working on development of low scored areas. 

Benchmarking ‘The Times Higher Education World University Rankings’. 

a. Improve teaching and learning environment. 

b. Increase industry income. 

c. Increase number of international students and staff.

d. Increase number of journal paper publications and citations.

3. Provide a job guarantee for all degree courses. Discontinue all Government university degree courses that do not have a demand in the job market.

4. Revise Government university courses to match the industry demand and future employability opportunities.

5. Increase Government medical college capacity from 1,300 to 2,000 medical students and increase intake of dental students. Prohibition of private medical universities.

6. Ensure availability of lectures through an online portal by Government and Semi-Government universities.

7. Provide student loans for those who have enrolled and bursaries for those who perform well.

8. Provide language exam facilities such as IELTS at Government universities for students who want to pursue further higher education abroad. 

9. Upgrade existing books in Government university libraries to an E-library platform. 

a. Purchase international E-books and provide them free of charge to all students via the E-library.

10 Upgrade all labs at Government universities with the latest equipment.

11. Open Government university research facilities for outside parties through an online reservation system.

12. Upgrade all existing Government university hostels with proper sanitation facilities.

13. Follow a standardised hygiene guideline at all Government university canteens. 


Higher education assures the relevance of knowledge, helps identify skill gaps and builds the right skills to improve the economic prosperity of the nation


14. Ban all forms of ragging at Government universities. 1,980 students have left the Government universities due to ragging from 2016 to July 2018.

15. Implement 0% Corporate tax and 0% VAT on higher education. Corporate tax and VAT rates to be guaranteed for the next 25 years to aid building private universities and private international universities, excluding medical colleges. 

16. Provide Government soft loans to build 5 internationally branded universities within a 30km radius from the Bandaranaike International Airport. 

a. Encourage educational tourism with a target of 50,000 international students per year.

17. Encourage establishing of a private university or semi Government university in every district under the district branding initiative.

18. Introduce an education loan of Rs. 1.2 million without interest for every student who has passed Advanced Level to study at private universities with a target of 105,228 students per annum. 

19. Create new STEM related departments and department-to-department partnerships with overseas universities.

20. Establish an incentive scheme for lecturers in addition to their salary, based on the quality of their research and number of journal papers they’ve published, to increase publication rate.

21. Establish partnerships with foreign universities and encourage exchange of students,lecturers, research findings and expertise.

22. Increase enrolment of international students in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at private and public universities.

23. Translate all textbooks into Braille and provide hearing and visual aids free of charge. 

24. Provide online language learning facilities to all citizens in the country to learn Sinhala/English/Tamil in addition to their mother tongue.

25.Provide career guidance at each 


26. Encourage tech/science students to become entrepreneurs through advice and incentives.

27. Assist in linking students with relevant industries based on their educational qualifications for internship programmes.

28. Provide mental health counselling at each university.

29. Launch a web portal with personal grooming and development videos for school and university students.