Sri Lankan government will open a new vocational training institute, ‘Korean Tech’, in Orugodawatte to provide technical, vocational education and training for Sri Lankan youth with an investment of Rs 2,500 million shortly.Korean Tech, funded by the Korean government is slated to open in January next year and will recruit 2,000 selected candidates per annum for eight different courses which include Automotive Technology, Robotics, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology, Welding Technology, Refrigeration and A/C Technology, Electrical Technology, Mechatronics, Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka (VTA) Chairman, Ravi Jayawardana said.
In addition, Sri Lankan government will lay the foundation stone for another vocational training centre in Polonnaruwa district with the financial assistance of the Netherlands government at a cost of Rs 6 billion.He said further that Sri Lankan apparel and construction industries currently face an acute labour shortage and have close to 400,000 and 200,000 job vacancies in these two industries respectively. “There is less demand for vocational training courses in the field of carpentry, masonry, plumbing and other construction related activities due to lack of recognition for these occupations in the society,” Wijewardana said.Wijewardana also emphasised the need to change the name, commonly used to call the professionals in masonry work, ‘Basunahe’ and come up with a proper name to identify them and to give their profession a due recognition in the society.
In the meantime, Minister of Science, Technology, Research, Skills Development and Vocational Training and Kandyan Heritage, Sarath Amunugama speaking at a press conference to announce the launch of Nipuni Skills Platform held at Sethsiripaya on Thursday (30) said the government has identified Construction, Automobile engineering, Tourism and hotel management, Information technology and health care service as key priority sectors which have immense potential to create job opportunities both home and abroad.
The minister said the main objective of launching the Nipuni platform is to identify National vocational Qualification (NVQ) qualified individuals dispersed throughout the country, store their information and keep tabs on their progress in all in one centralized databases. With the launch of this platform, the Ministry hopes to enhance the link between supply and demand of qualified individuals in the country.Accordingly, the employers will have the opportunity to obtain information on NVQ certified individuals via Nipuni Skills platform, identify individuals who are most suitable for their demands and hire them.
Minister Amunugama said further that he had given instructions to National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), VTA and other technical colleges which come under the purview of his ministry to double the annual student intake for courses conducted in the field of Construction, Automobile engineering, Tourism and hotel management, Information technology and health service sectors.“The government in an ambitious drive to give due recognition for technical education in the country has taken measures to further improve the quality of courses offered by NAITA, VTA and other technical colleges which come under the purview of the Ministry. Furthermore, plans are underway to obtain international accreditations for NVQ level courses, offered by the technical colleges in Sri Lanka.”
In addition, under the directions of Minister, a separate unit has been set up to constantly review and keep the contents of ongoing courses of technical colleges updated and relevant to be on par with the standards of courses offered internationally.
The minister also emphasised that present education system is not updated and relevant enough to cater to the job market requirements and urged the need to popularize and create awareness among Sri Lankan youth on the importance of pursuing a diploma or a well recognized degree course from a technical and vocational education institute in Sri Lanka.According to the Minister, wages of those who have obtained NVQ level certificate in Sri Lanka are much higher than the wage of an employee with a degree from a local university.
“Every year close to 325,000 students sit for Advanced level examination, of which only 30,000 students get the opportunity to enter state universities in Sri Lanka. This shows that present education system has failed to understand or redress the major issues facing the local youth in Sri Lanka”, Minister Amunugama said.
According to the minister, the government’s patronage to further improve the quality and increase the student intake capacity of technical and vocational education and training institutes in Sri Lanka will help address the youth unemployment in Sri Lanka.He also said that the ultimate objective of his Ministry is to help local youth pursue a fair and dignified career rather than sending them abroad for unskilled jobs.