He said that each year out of the 160,000 students who pass GCE A/L only around 30,000 make it to government universities and the state must offer education loans up to Rs. 1.1 million to be settled in 10 to 15 years.
The government each year has to spend around Rs 120 billion for this for a decade and there after due rolling effect from students pay back, this loan scheme would be self sufficient. “Since Maldives don’t have universities they offer Rs. 40 million to each student seeking foreign university education”.
Speaking at the ‘Restructuring the Tertiary and Vocational Education Sector in Sri Lanka’ seminar on Tuesday he said that to make this more productive Sri Lanka should promote the setting up five globally branded universities in close to the Colombo Airport.
He said that when Sri Lanka was opening universities over 5 decades ago, Malaysia was still building schools. “But today their university system attracts over 200,000 foreign students making it a big FOREX earner to Malaysia.”
Perera who is in FORBES ASIA’s list of the best 200 listed Asia-Pacific companies said that much more attention should be focused on the education sector. “Since independence, no education minister has set up a ‘Rural Employment Generation Plan’ which is urgently needed to groom the future HR workforce in Sri Lanka.”
Presenting some figures he said that each year around 365,000 are added to the Sri Lanka population out of which around 5,800 are disabled and 1,800 born with heart and other diseases conditions.
Though there are fully equipped and 24 hour running air conditioned Operating Theaters in government hospitals they only operate 8 hours per day due a lack of overtime paying system for doctors and staff.
He also said that due to poverty around 32,000 students drop out before O/L examination.
While giving the thumbs up for nursery and up to grade 4 education system he said that he was surprised as to why science is not taught in either English in grade six. “Science ‘terms’ are taught in English for O/L but then the student who followed these terms from Grade 6 onwards in Sinhala or Tamil has to translate them to English in Grade 10”.