Legislation concerning accreditation and quality standards for higher education institutes operating in Sri Lanka is nearing completion and will be opened to the public by early next year, according to University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama.
Titled as a Quality Assurance Accreditation Qualification Framework Act, Prof. Hirimburegama stated that the legislation would encompass all higher education service providers, including the private sector.
“The legislation is reaching completion and will be opened to the public for discussion in the near future. An accreditation council will be established and that will be a totally independent body appointed possibly by the President and empowered to even shut down institutes that do not maintain adequate quality standards.
Quality assurance standards have successfully been implemented in the healthcare and banking sectors and I feel that it will be successful in the education sector as well,” Prof. Hirimburegama said.
She made the comments during the 49th LBOLBR CEO Forum on the theme ‘A multi-stakeholder discussion on reimagining higher education'.
Elaborating on the importance of a systematic accreditation process for higher education institutes, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Nawaratne stated that quality assurance would be vital to attracting international students as part of the government's strategy of creating a knowledge hub within the island.
“If our higher education system doesn't change, we will lose our credentials and we will become obsolete. With the free education system the government provides funding, the UGC provides students and when graduates can't find jobs, the government provides jobs. This is not a socially responsible way to run our education sector.
With private universities, if the quality of education is not sufficient then students simply won't enrol. If we are to attract students to Sri Lanka, standards must be improved and maintained,” Dr. Nawaratne stated.