Vocational training in Sri Lanka

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1. As people of Sri Lanka presently we are passing the period with victorious feeling and tasting the sweetness of liberty and harmony because of the peace. As a nation as well as a country, all human being of this beautiful island suffered from hardest time period. It is not only the war with the LTTE, but also with some other rebels starting from 1971. All the people of country tasted the bitterness of war for few decades. If somebody tries to unfasten and examine the reasons behind why the country faced such an unfortunate time period, there may be thousands of reasons. Some of them are very prominent, but one main reason is shading all of these prominent heading that they could not be able to realize their expectations. Why they could not realize their expectations? The simplest answer is "Money". Reason why I am trying to point it out, each and every one has an ambition when they start their life. Simply a comfortable life. At present global scenario the deciding factor is money. Money decides levels of people, ambitions which can be made realistic. When the group of people missed their expectations and ambitions those group is isolated from the community. Because they don't have any order over the community. They do not have identity. Then they try to re-establish their image by hook or crook. The war makers used their unrest to accomplish their organizational goals. What is the most threaten and liable to expose to this category. School drop-outs are the main group since they are equipped with the worming young bloods.

2. As a country we should stop it today itself not even tomorrow. If we are unable to do it again our country will lose thousands of lives millions of rupees and uncountable worth of freedom? What is the answer that can make as a government and authorizing power. The government should clearly identify the group of people which is exposing the unrestrained situation. They should guide to the way what they can realize their ambitions.

3. The vocational training is the effective and sustainable answer for it. Country should have strategic level plan to enhance the vocational training. Still country is not enriched with the wealth of skilled labour force, not only Sri Lanka but all over the world skilled labour has good market value. As a country if we are able to address that, government will be able earn lot of foreign revenues other than sending as unskilled labours.

Statement OF PROBLEM

4. The statement of problem can be divided into two major parts:

a. Social

Due to the large number of school drop outs may cause serious social problems. They express high trends to join with underworld gangs and other kind of armed gang such as rebels and robbers and certain ill legal activities.

b. Economic

The young age is equipped with more courage and morale. As a country if not utilized younger generation in correct way, it will lose most energetic valuable labour force. As a developing country it is very difficult to bear up large amount of dependants.



1. General Objective. Analyze the best course of action and make suggestion to improve vocational training sector.

2. Specific Objective. The specific objectives of the paper are as follows.

a. present condition of vocational training and what are the areas have to improve?

b. why school dropouts are specially targeted?

c. what is employment scarcity and vocational training.


3. Improving the vocational training in Sri Lanka will encourage school drop-out to foresee various job opportunities.


4. The data collection has planned through the ministry of youth affaires and skills development and the Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka and based on the documentary sources including publications, browsing the Internet and non government organizations.


5. The time available to conduct this research will be only less than 2 1/2 months. The length of the paper will be limited to about 5000 words, and it will not be possible to collect data from all the reliable sources. Further some of the data from North, East and some areas from North Central provinces are outdated.


12. This research paper is structured as follows;

a. CHAPTER I. This is the introductory part of the research paper and problem statement.

b. CHAPTER II. This Chapter covers following key areas.



Data collection method.


c. CHAPTER III. This Chapter consist of methodology of the research.

d. CHAPTER IV. This Chapter consist what is employment scarcity and

vocational training.

e. CHAPTER V. From this chapter it will discuss why school dropouts are specially targeted? and discuss what are the reasons behind and why this group is especially important.

f. CHAPTER VI . This Chapter will discuss the present condition of vocational

training and what are the areas have to be improve?

g. CHAPTER VII. This Capter provides analysis of primary and secondary


h. CHAPTER VIII. This Capter consist with conclusion.

j. CHAPTER IX . This Capter consist with recommandations.



1. This study will be based on documentary sources such as government organizations, publications, Newspapers and Internet. It is intended to gather primary and secondary data information as follows

Primary Source The data collection will be based on government organizations and interviews.

Secondary Source The data collection will be based on publications, Newspaper articles and browsing the Internet.



1. Employment scarcity is defined as unavailability of employment opportunities. It is calculated as rate of unemployment. What are the reasons for the job scarcity? If it is examined in closer view number of reasons are behind it. But it can identify few of prominent reasons. Firstly the economical reason. As a developing country, government cannot offer job opportunities for each and every living being in the country. Even it cannot offer for the developed country. Another factor is cultural and social attitude of the people. The society is recognize some jobs belongs to lower level and some are to higher level. As an example most of the people do not like to work as farmers. Everybody try to get higher positions and government appointments. The people do not like to join as labours because they believe it is not suited to their family status. Some jobs are labelled to the relevant casts. It is been transferred from family to family. New generation does not like to continue it as it is. Some jobs are labelled with the names such as "Malu Karaya" then people refuse to do that particular job. Some educated people such as graduates are looking for job opportunities from the government. They don't like to join to private sectors.



2. To overcome this type of situation is not an easy task since it has been practised from the previous generations. But as a government they have to find remedies for this situation failing which society will lose the sustainability. The conceptual thinking cannot changed overnight. It will take more and more time. But the government can occupy people to another opportunity, through the vocational training that will help to maintain social sustainability. The definition of vocational training is [1] "Train group or individuals for the specific career or trade, excluding professions. Vocational training may focus on practical applications of skills and not much related with the academic skills". The problem which arises in Sri Lanka is whether vocational training programs meet the required standard and is it included ethical and philosophical training which helps to maintain social sustainability.


3. When Sri Lanka considered, the unemployment rate as last quarter [2] of year 2010 is 4.9% it is excluded North and East provinces. Even excluded both provinces 353163 people are remained as unemployed strength [3] . The statistic department assume including North and East province it will easily pass the 600,000. Government of Sri Lanka should have a strategic level plan to take a contribution of younger generation to the economy. The vocational training is the best stream for it, since Sri Lanka has colonial educational system. When the British governing the country they introduced educational system to cater their requirements and it was limited to government service. Even after 1948 none of the governments tried to change the educational system. But from time to time some amendments were made. But none of them were addressed the root cause. After introduction of free education system rate of school attendee was increased rapidly. More and more people send their children to schools, but at that time the product was sufficient to the island requirements and it fulfilled the requirement of government service.

4. The major problem was raised after introducing of free trade system to Sri Lanka. Most of wealthy people started their own business and companies. Then labour market for the relevant fields were increased rapidly. But skill labour supply is still has not reached the required standards. Still the problem exists and none of them were addressed the problem.

5. The prevailing education system is filter students at the two major stages. It is Ordinary level and Advance level. Though government spend millions of money due to lack of productivity of prevailing educational system, the ultimate product is very less. Only few students are getting opportunity to enter the University for higher education. If less number of students get the chance for higher studies what would happen for the rest grater amount. That is the root causes government should address. As sustainable remedy government can introduce vocational training and it should be spread to broader area. It should focus on all type of school dropouts. As an example it should start from Non-schooling stage to students who are completed advance level without selecting to the university. If government success on this aspect, as a government it can utilize its labour force 100%. It will bring benefits for the whole community from various aspects, especially socially and economically. In economic aspect government has less number of dependents and more skilled labour force that will generate millions of foreign income to the country. In social aspects less amount of problematic situations such as robberies.


Unemployment Rate After GCE A/L

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6. When we look at the economical statistics of Sri Lanka service sector provide bigger contribution to the economy. Since we are developing country it has to develop industrial sector as a main part. Otherwise it cannot reach to the sustainable development. Another factor can be find, it is underemployment. The underemployment is not utilizing working labour force 100%. This is happen due to bad political situation in the country. Government provide employment opportunities to public without doing proper evaluation, whether this job is required or not.




1. This chapter will discuss the group aimed for the vocational training such as,

a. Primary-Early dropouts

b. Secondary - Mid drop outs

c. Tertiary-Late dropouts

2. Two major factors are playing behind why they are targeted. First one is energetic value what they have. Secondly their rebellion thinking pattern. Who are the school dropouts? There are common mistakes that all over the community make when they describe the "school dropouts". School dropouts are not only people who are not completed their primary education. Non-school attainders, students who are leaving the school without completing secondary or tertiary education also count as school dropouts. The deciding factor is time period when are they leaving the education.


3. As a developing country Sri Lanka has a good record on literacy rate. The school enrolment of Sri Lanka is very higher, it is about 97.5 percent from total number of children who has completed school enrolment age. It is in numerically more than 400.000 per year. Even though country has higher number of school enrolment, annually 18% students are leavening school before completing the ordinary level education. It is in numerically around 72.000. It is very high comparatively with the Sri Lanka economic stability. Another side of this is more than 70% of prisoners who are at the prisons belongs to this group of school dropouts. In the year 2009, 272,640 students sat for the GCE O/L examination, out of which only 143,000 were qualified for higher education. However 129,640 candidates, as a percentage 47% candidates failed to qualify for the A/L.

TABLE 08 0




















Progression to University from GCE (A/L) - 1980 to 2008

Percentage Eligible for University Admissions 

Admission as a Percentage of Eligible


4. Why this group is essential? Firstly this is the group, most efficient and energetic labour force of the country. As briefly mentioned in introduction part, younger age is having a natural trend to find new arenas. Naturally youngsters are very curious and rebellion thinkers. Always they think they must have a respectable place at the community.

5. Child labour is another face of the school drop outs at the society. The child labours can divide for the few sub types.

Those are:

a. Child domestic labour.

b. Children working in hazardous industries.

c. Children working in export industries.

d. Child trafficking.

e. Child bonded labour in agriculture and certain parts of the industrial and informal sectors.

f. Child prostitution.

6. UNICEF and the ILO was carried out a research in Sri Lanka with the help of Department of Census & Statistics and found a very sad story about child labours who had left the school before completing their education. They revealed 0.926Million children are working as a child labours and they are between the ages of 05 to 14. They found nearly 40,000 child prostitutes in the country while 5,000 to 30,000 Sri Lankan boys are used by Western paedophile sex tourists. Nearly 10,000 to 12,000 children from rural areas are trafficked and prostituted by organized crime groups, according to the statistics. These are only reported and calculated data and real situation may be worst than this.



1. When examined the present situation of vocational training in Sri Lanka two major parties are playing at the vocational training sector. The two major parties are:

a. Government involvement [4] .

b. Non- governmental organizations.

2. Since years back number of steps has been taken to up lift the standards of vocational training by the government as well as non-government sectors. But major role is playing by the government. Followings are the institutes established by the government to cope up the assigned task. The government cannot drive away job scarcity by addressing along the job market at Sri Lanka. It has to foresee the foreign market also. With the globalization the word is very closer to each other. Most of countries has formulated some procedures and impel some standards for the qualification. In Sri Lanka has also some standards that has been gazetted by the government. It is known as National Vocational Qualifications of Sri Lanka (NVQSL). By implementing NVQSL the governing authority is expecting resolve the mismatch between labour market and courses conducting at vocational training centres. Further they expect easy control for the government and it is differentiate from the courses. Vocational training has divided to 7 levels of qualification. The level starts from level 01 to level 07. Level 01 to level 03 awarded by a national level certificate. Level 04 and 05 awarded by a full national craftsmanship. Level 06 and 07 is national diploma and it is recognize as a management level. The heights level is level 07 it is equal to bachelor degree.

3. The Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training (MVTT). This is the national governing body for the vocational training within the island. MVTT is the responsible authority for development and implementation of national policies which are related to the skill development, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) all over the country. The main objectives of the MVTT are to facilitate for the vocational training centres to product a highly qualified and market oriented and vocational, technical education and skill levels development training. MVTT is the regulatory body for all aspects of implementation of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Sri Lanka. MVTT has outlined the key policies and operational features of the National Vocational Qualifications Systems in Sri Lanka (NVQSL).

4. The NVQSL provides the opportunity for sustainable, strategic solutions for national training needs and it will easily be able to achieve international recognition for qualifications, skills and knowledge of Sri Lankan workers in an increasing competitive global environment.

To accomplish this several agencies are functioning under MVTT. To accomplish their objectives, 06 separate vocational training centres are functioning island wide.

5. Those are The Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC), The National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), The National Institute of Technical Education - Sri Lanka (NITE_SL) it is presently changed to University of Technology (UNIVOTEC), The Department of Technical Education and Training (DETE) The Vocational Training Authority (VTA) and The National Youth Service Council (NYSC).

a. The Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC). The TVES was established on 1991. When it was established, it was dedicated to the following tasks. The primary responsibility was formulation of policies, planning, and quality assurance of registered vocational training centres. Further it is responsible for coordination and development of tertiary and vocational education centres all over the country. The Tertiary and Vocational education Commission is the authorized body of conduct assessments and registration of vocational training centres. Further every type of courses has to accreditation and certified by the TVEC. It is monitoring quality of courses and standards of registered and accredited vocational training centres.

b. The National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA). The NAITA is responsible for apprenticeship training island wide. Further it is responsible for followings activities to implement of NVQSL

1) National Competency Standards

2) Competency Based Assessment Resources

3) Validation of Curriculum

4) Implementation of Competency Based Training (CBT)

5) Conducting competency based assessments (including RPL)

6) Industry placement of trainees

c. The National Institute for Technical Education - Sri Lanka (NITE-SL) This institute was converted to the University of Technology (UNIVOTEC) in March 1999 by the government of Sri Lanka. This institute is facilitating level 07 degree programs and training instructors who are teaching at vocational training centres. Further it is responsible for the following activities in order to implementation of NVQSL.

1) Development of CBT Curricula

2) Staff Development

3) Development of Learning Resources

4) Implementing and Coordinating Learning Resource Development Centre (LRDC)

d. The Department Of Technical Education and Training (DTET). This is one of the prominent technical education and training centre in Sri Lanka. This is responsible to manage 09 technical education centres which offer NVQ level 5 and 06 diplomas. Further it is responsible for the following activities in order to implementation of NVQSL.

1) Implementation of Competency Based Training (CBT)

2) Conducting Competency Based Assessment

3) Implementation of career guidance and counselling activities

4) Implementation of Self Employment Promotion Initiatives

5) Implementation of entrepreneurship programs

e. The Vocational Training Authority (VTA). This is responsible to manage vocational training institutes which are offer level NVQ level 01 to 05. To implement that, VTA is control following training institutes. National Vocational Training Institutes, District Vocational Training Centres, Special Vocational Training Centres, and Rural Vocational Training Centres. Further it is responsible for the following activities in order to implementation of NVQSL.

1) Implementation of Competency Based Training (CBT)

2) Conducting Competency Based Assessment

3) Implementation of career guidance and counselling activities

4) Implementation of Self Employment Promotion Initiatives

5) Implementation of entrepreneurship programs

f. The National Youth Service Council (NYSC). This is founded to organize and develop of youth and it is responsible for the following activities in order to implementation of NVQSL.

1) Implementation of Competency Based Training (CBT)

2) Conducting Competency Based Assessment 

3) Implementation on of career guidance and counselling activities 

4) Implementation of Self Employment Promotion Initiatives 

 5) Implementation of entrepreneurship programs

6. Above mentioned institutes are spread all over the island and maintain sufficient number of vocational training centres under supervision of National Vocational Qualification System.





1. Bigger part of the country is covered by the North- Central and North & East provinces. During the last few decades government was not able to provide vocational training facilities to grater potion of the both provinces. It is very big emerging challenge for the government. At presently government is planning to get help from Asian Development Bank and discussions are on progress to obtain a grant in order to establish vocational training facilities. Not only that government already let Non Government organizations to start vocational training centre in those areas to cater rising requirement of this areas.

2. In the Sri Lanka vocational educational system and facilities is not evenly distributed all over the country. Still government of Sri Lanka has not identified the required areas where vocational training centres should be established. Highest percentage of unemployment is reported from southern province. Though the rate of unemployment is 4.9 in the country in the southern province it is higher than 10% according to the census and statistic departments report of last quarter 2010. Twice Sri Lankan community experienced the bitterness of youth unrest, mainly aroused from southern part of the island but unfortunately route cause is existing.

For the southern part of the country government still don't have special plan to develop and establish new vocational establishments. The "Tharunyata Hetak" movement is already started establish some vocational training centres specially at Hambanthota district with the support of the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission and Ministry of youth affairs it is not enough to cater the rising requirement.


3. When going through the reports issued by the department of census and statistic it can reveal total labour force is 7578174 as at last quarter of 2010 and 364924 labour force is belongs to defence sector including three forcers. As a percentage it is 14.52 from the total labour force of the island it is greater part from the government servants also. Furthermore recruitment of armed forces will be curtailed down. It also will directly effect to the total unemployment rate and strength.


4. There are some unrevealed areas from the government side. That is still there is no any proper plan to grasp early school dropouts from the school itself. During the data collection I was able to visit Technical Collage Galle. 2000 students are studying there. Out of 2000 only 85 was joint before the O/L. The total number of child labour is 0.96 million between 05 - 15 years of age. Most of the students are join after their A/L OR O/Ls. This statics clearly show the gap between two situation and how much to improve. This is the major problem which government should identify and address immediately, because 70% of prisoners are belongs to this segment of the society. From this statement everybody can understand the gravity of the prevailing situation, because the social in balance may lead to youth unrest or more severe social problem.

5. As the government it can start from the school. Teachers have to play major roll behind that because catching and identifying the early school leavers is one of primary responsibility of the teachers as they are closely working with the children. The mental condition and the perception of the parents, children and the society have to change completely because some egos are running behind the people mind that children who are not keen to educate in ordinary school system are going to vocational training centres. Parents need to bring up their children as a well educated and prominent figure in the society. However school should able to convince to the parents as well as children regarding this situation and if they would continue this way the end results will not be good. Ultimately massage should pass among the parents, children and society and they should feel attending to vocational training is not an inability but it also different learning method like attending ordinary school. Otherwise, whether facilities are developed parents will not send their children to vocational training centres. As a next step infrastructure has to be developed. School have to equip with the required equipments and facilities.

6. It is reveal by the study that 04 major reasons are behind the children leaving school before complete their education. Those are as follows.

Economic background of the parents.

Social background

Family background

Parents educational background

7. To overcome this nature situations following can adopt. Even though society having this kind of situations, government can take some prevention methods to stop premature leaving of school. At present government is providing free printed books and uniforms but 23% people are under the poverty line. The poverty line is defined as total monthly income is less than 973.00 Rs. As the first action it should convinced to the parents and they should encourage to send their children to school. As a secondary action psychological change should made through the society. They should convince attending vocational training instead attending school is socially accepted. Some children leave school due to the family background and social standard. Especially in the plantation industry at central province it is very common. They are not willing to continue their education. Parents also push them to leave the school and joint to the earning process.

8. During the research I was carried out a survey based on two leading construction companies. The survey was based on the questioner. I was randomly selected 20 person each 10 from one company who were undergone through the vocational training. Few important points were reveal base on questioner. Out of 21 people 17 were joint to the vocational training after unsuccessful attempt of the GCE O/L and GCE A/Ls. Only 04 of them were joining before GCE O/Ls.


9. Quality of the sylabus which are taching at the vocational training centers also have to improve. Majority of them were not satisfied the scope of subject what were included to the sylabus. Out of 21 people 18 were mentioned that sylabus should improve. Out of 20 people 04 of them were mentioned that both theory and practical should be improve. 14 were mentioned practical has to improve and 11 were mentioned theory should improve.


10. I was forwarded this to the some officials at Tretiary and Vocational Education Commission, but they refused the alligation made by the students. Their alligation was up to national level 05 sylabus is more concern to the practical aspect because it is competence based on training which is awarded craftman certificate. Starting from the level 5 and 6 it is diploma level and level 7 is digree equalent qualification. Hence more practical periods are not required. Most of the students are satisfied with the standard of the training what the undergone. Same time thay are accepted that the certificate they received at the end of the course program is have a good respect 06 out of 21 people.

11. I intervieved Mr RNCH Bandara principle Chamal Rajapakshe Technical Collage Weerawila. During the intrview he was pointedout 02 major probloms which they are facing when managing technical collage. First one is lack of qualified instructors. Teachers at the vocational training centers are getting low salary comparatively other tachers. Most of the time students are working as a instructors until they find a job. But major problom is this students dont have enough knowledge to teach to others. Then day by day standard will go down. Further they are not getting enough funds to maintain the training facilities.

12. Apart from all above resons one of an other reson was heighlighted. It is importence of improve English language skills of the students. It will act as a added qualification to them when they hunting a job. Some of the vocational centers are already started english classes for the students as a mandatary subject of the sylabus. But still there is no any system to test that. This marks are not include to students final marks. Due to that resons students are very reluctent to study English.



1. The purpose of this research was to investigate prevailing unemployment situation of the country and how can vocational training use as a remedy for it. The research hypothesis was "Improving the vocational training in Sri Lanka will encourage school drop-out to foresee various job opportunities".

2. During research it was focus to number of sensitive areas in order to find the reality behind that, but some of the reasons were stand like giants and those were prominent. Government have a great amount of responsibility to maintain social balance. When it is unbalanced some unrest situation may create. At present world political scenario lot of situations are emerging. Sri Lanka also has few bad experiences in the past.

3. Resources allocation with in the country is very unequal. Some schools at remote areas even don't have basic requirements to their schools such as buildings. But same time some schools at urban area is having very luxuries facilities. In availability of facilities also lead to increase the number of school dropouts. Relevant authorities should implement a system to grasp early school dropouts. Parents financial background and social background also cause a reason to increase number of school dropouts.

4. Throughout the research paper it is highlighted that best cause of action to bring school dropouts to correct path of their life as well as social benefit is develop the vocational training. Then country can turn them in to skilled labour force of island. Research hypothesis is proved beyond the reasonable doubt due to facts mention at the research paper. Therefore some remedies will suggest during the recommendation chapter.



1. The vocational training is not new subject for the Sri Lanka because it has a long history. In related to the above mentioned facts it can suggested following recommendations to implement catch school dropouts to vocational training stream and recommend following key areas is to develop to facilitate effective and fruitfulness vocational training.

2. The underemployment is one of vital area to demolish from the government sector, if country need achieve development targets. Not only that but also it is required to develop industrial sector of the economy. Otherwise it is very difficult to obtain sustainable development. To improve industrial sector skilled labour is the most important factor. Without any doubt vocational training is the answer for that.

3. The system should implement to catch school dropouts from the school before them go to the society. The initial vocational training system should start from the schools. For that some of required infrastructures should develop.

4. Available vocational training centres should filled with the qualified instructors. Otherwise money spending by the government will not worth enough. New system should introduce train instructors and should increase their salary to keep them inside the organization.

5. Adequate funds should allocate to carry out required maintain activities and maintain training aids.

6. Syllabus should improve to cater future requirements and emerging skilled labour requirement of the world. The strategic analysis should carryout to prepare a plan to cater future skilled labour requirements. More practical lesions should include to the syllabus.

7. Southern, north and eastern province should have priorities when developing vocational training infrastructures. Traditional craftsmanship should develop in order to attract foreign market.