The Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC), Sri Lanka is an apex body in the technical and vocational education and training sector. The Government of Sri Lanka established TVEC in 1991 with an aim to establish and maintain an efficient and effective technical education and vocational training system which is relevant to socio- economic goals and changing market needs. TVEC provides access to the highest possible standards of tertiary and vocational education and training to all the citizens of the country.
To know more about the tertiary and vocational education system in Sri Lanka and possibilities for of Indo-Sri Lanka collaboration in the TVET sector, Team NSN was privileged to connect with Mr. Janaka Jayalath, Acting Director General, Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC), Sri Lanka.
In this Skill Story, Mr. Janaka Jayalath, who has been associated with the TVET sector for the last 20 years, tells us about the initiatives by TVEC to create awareness about TVET in the country. Here are excerpts from the conversation.
To watch the complete interview please, visit our YouTube channel:
Q: Please share your views on the interesting combination of Tertiary and Vocational education in Sri Lanka and how does the system work?
A: In Sri Lanka, our educational system has four segments, this includes –
- General education
- Technical vocational education
- Higher or Tertiary education
- Professional qualification
Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) is an apex body in the technical and vocational education and training sector whose primary responsibilities are policy formulation, planning, quality assurance, coordination and development of tertiary and vocational education in the country.
We have 1700 active training centres including public and private sectors across the country. We have collaborated with different countries to strengthen skill development in the country.
The National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) was introduced in 2014 which is the current National Policy in Sri Lanka for vocational education. The NVQ system offers several levels of professional certification. Under the NVQ, it is possible for participants to study beyond the fifth NVQ level and pursue a career requiring post-secondary education. The certification associated with each NVQ level is:
- NVQ Level 3: GCE Ordinary Level (Respective Field)
- NVQ Level 4: GCE Advanced Level (Respective Field)
- NVQ Level 5: Diploma Level
- NVQ Level 6: Higher Diploma
- NVQ Level 7: Degree Level
With an aim to continue skill development even during the pandemic, we have launched various programs. The programs are reaching the students through online platforms and videos. We also leverage the Learning Management Systems (LMS) to reskill and upskill our students. Our government has recently launched a program which will make 13 years of school education compulsory for every child in Sri Lanka. Under the initiative all students will get an opportunity to receive professional education through the subjects introduced via this educational program.
Q: How do you maintain the demand driven system where the industry demands are getting addressed through skilling as there’s always a perceived skill gap? How do the private and public sector come together in Sri Lanka to make it successful and effective?
A: Recently presidential task forces have been appointed by the government and they are working on how to move forward with the recent labour market changes. For which many tools are being used to get an idea regarding the recent market trends, the occupations that are in-demand and other important aspects related to the TVET sector. The tools are Labour Market Information System, Skills Development Report and Vocational Education Training (VET) plans.
We have 23 sectors that are developed as per the VET plans. We also have provincial VET plans for our nine provinces which aims to develop the skills and employment within the particular province. These tools give an insight into the skilling landscape of the country and helps us in bringing the necessary changes in the system.
Q: Is there a way the industries could incentivize the dual models of training or apprenticeships or anything that makes youth employable?
A: We are closely working with the industry and consult the industries while developing the curriculum in TVET. We have also set up ICT Industry Skills Councils for different industries such as manufacturing, health, tourism and others. We will be forming up to 12 councils for different industries. Before the curriculum, we develop the national company standards and industry documents where industry members share the competency requirements by the industry. We also have an apprenticeship-based training system, where students go to the industry and come to college for theory classes on weekends. We provide Enterprise Based Training (EBT) and On-the-Job Training (OJT).
Q: How manual or skill-based work can be made aspirational among the youth?
A: We need branding and image-building of TVET through awareness creation. We need the recognition of particular skills-based education along with employment in the particular industry. The World Youth Skills Day was proposed by Sri Lanka with an aim to create the required awareness about vocational education and training. We have many initiatives which are being carried out through different mediums such as radio, TV and other social media platforms.
The main objective of all these programs is to gain recognition for the skill-based education in the country. We also encourage our students to participate in skill competitions. We also felicitate the best training centres in the country to encourage them to keep up the good work.
Q: Please tell us about some innovative practices by the Sri Lankan system to improve the TVET sector in the country?
A: Recently, we have launched the Skills Passport, which is a smart card containing the qualification as well as the experience.
Skills Passport is a project between the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Colombo Office. Through a dedicated online portal the card links up multiple stakeholders including employees, employers, qualification body and labour market intermediaries by collating the passport holder’s skills, expertise and experience.
We have recently launched a Disability Tool Kit which encourages disabled people to join TVET. We have done alterations to the tests according to their needs.
I am the centre co-ordinator for UNESCO-UNEVOC which is co-ordinating nine countries including Sri Lanka and India. We are working with international agencies to uplift our TVET system and quality assurance activities. We have partnered with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and many other international organizations.
Also read: “Skilling is all about learning the fundamentals correctly”- Mr. Jeffery S. Davidson, Executive Director, Saylor Academy https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/skilling-is-all-about-learning-the-fundamentals-correctly/