View Menu »
or sl2college login:
Remember Me
Forgot your password?
Forgot your username?
No Facebook or SL2C Account?
close
Endorsed By

Resources List

Higher Education Opportunities in Sri Lanka for students who did not fare well in the A/L examinations

By Tilan M Wijesooriya


The structure of Sri Lankan education is divided into primary, junior secondary, senior secondary, collegiate and tertiary. Amongst the five divisions of the Sri Lankan Education system, the collegiate level is the mostly discussed education sphere, due to its extreme competition which tends to become a traumatic experience for most students.

A/L results

2011 A/L results were recently released, albeit with controversy. Few students obtained high grades, many low grades, and some failed. The same drama continues with the passage of time. Nevertheless, low grades and failures should not be an iron curtain that prevents the light of achieving higher education goals. Some individuals who were once in this situation have gone on to earn a PhD and even become a professor in a reputed university. All one needs is the ability to be creative and intelligent enough to find alternative ways to reach goals. Being creative, enthusiastic, perseverant and wise will enable students to transform all their dreams into a fascinating reality.

Pursuant to the latest data, available at the Department of Examination, 230,254 candidates sat for all three subjects of the A/L examination in 2010. Even in 2011, around 294,861 students applied for the A/L examination, marking the highest number of A/L applicants ever recorded in the history of Sri Lankan education. According to the 2010 data, 61.90 percent of candidates who sat for all three subjects were eligible for university entrance. This figure is indeed comparatively good, but the tragic scenario is that merely 15.25 percent of students eligible for university entrance were admitted to state universities.

The plight of A/L candidates who fail the A/L examination, i.e. around 40 percent of A/L students, has frequently been a poignant experience. The government does not have a proper mechanism of career guidance for these students and it is needless to mention that such students face great difficulties in seeking higher education opportunities and thereby having lucrative professions.

Failing or not faring well in the A/L examination should not be a dilemma and a depressive scenario for students. With a proper plan, students can embrace future academic and professional achievements in the path to create a successful future. Despite low grades and failures at the A/L examination, students can bring their educational dreams to full fruition by persevering and creatively finding alternative ways to reach the goals.

Multifarious higher education opportunities in Sri Lanka

In the educational context of Sri Lanka, for those who have failed the A/L examination or did not fare well during the first or multiple attempts, there are innumerable higher education opportunities virtually in every field of knowledge, i.e. Computer Science, Business Studies, Accountancy, Marketing, Management, Industrial Studies, Engineering, Languages, Art & Design, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. In fact, given the different alternate routes and opportunities available for students, even without the A/L qualification, it is possible to earn a first degree, laying a firm foundation to reach a PhD.

The following facts are based on the information available on the official websites of the respective education institutes.

I. Business Studies & Related Subjects
II. Computer Science & Related Subjects
III. Engineering & Related Subjects
IV. Natural Sciences
V. Social Sciences
VI. Languages
VII. Art & Design


I. Business Studies & Related Subjects


In these fields of knowledge, the following higher education opportunities can be found for students who do not possess the A/L qualification.

1. Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL)

If a student has six O/L passes, he or she would be able to read for Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management. If the student does not have even the O/L qualification, he or she can follow the Certificate Programme in Social Science. Upon completion of either of these two courses, students are eligible to follow the Diploma in Management and/or Bachelor’s Degree in Management studies. Once they have the Bachelor’s Degree and three years relevant work experience, they are indeed qualified to study for Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resource Management (HRM) or Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration or Public Administration (CEMBA/CEMPA).

The other option is that, at OUSL, students can study for Certificate in Industrial Studies in Apparel Technology, if they are over 18 years of age. After completion of this certificate course, they can follow Diploma in Industrial Studies in Apparel Production & Management. Once candidates complete this Diploma, they are eligible to read for Bachelor of Industrial Studies in Apparel Production & Management. Upon completion of this Bachelors Degree, they will be able to read for the Postgraduate Diploma in Technology in Apparel Production and Management.

2. University of Ballarat Sri Lanka Study Centre (UBSLSC)

The University of Ballarat, one of the oldest higher education institutes in Australia, recently opened a study centre in Kohuwala for Sri Lankan students. It offers higher education opportunities for students who do not have A/L qualifications.

At UBSLSC, students who have O/L qualifications can enter to the One Year Foundation Program for Business & IT. After completing this Foundation Course, students are eligible to study for either Bachelor of Business or Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting). Once they obtain the Bachelors Degree, it is possible for them to read for the Master of Business Administration (MBA). In terms of the degree programmes, after completing two years, students have the option to transfer to Australia or to complete the degree in Sri Lanka at UBSLSC.

3. National Institute of Business Management (NIBM)

At NIBM, students are able to follow the Pre-degree Foundation Course, if they have O/L with five credits including a Credit pass for English. After completion of this course, they are eligible to study for BSc (Hons) in Management or BSc (Hons) in Human Resources Management (HRM) (Both are conducted in collaboration with the University College Dublin, the National University of Ireland, Dublin).

4. American National College/ANC Education/ANC University College

The ANC offers four Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree programmes in collaboration with “16 strategic university partners in America, Australia, the UK, Canada, and Malaysia.” For the degree programmes offered by the American universities, A/L is not a compulsory entry requirement. In fact, even the students who only possess O/L qualifications can directly enter to a BBA programme offered by an American university.

However, in terms of the BBA programmes offered by universities in other countries, students who do not have A/L qualifications should follow a relevant University Foundation Course to enter to a BBA programme. Pursuant to ANC, the Monash University Foundation Year is accepted by Australian, UK, New Zealand, and Malaysian universities, as an entry requirement. Upon completion of the Foundation Course, they are eligible to read for the following BBA programmes.

1. BBA in Marketing
2. BBA in International Business
3. BBA in Finance
4. BBA in Management

Students have the option to complete the BBA in Sri Lanka at ANC or to transfer to a relevant country, i.e. America, Australia, the UK, Canada, or Malaysia, after completing two or three academic years of the BBA programme at ANC.

5. Australian College of Business & Technology (ACBT)

If a student has 5 passes at the GCE (O/L) including ‘A’ passes for English and Mathematics, he or she can follow the ACBT University Foundation Programme. After the completion of this foundation course, students can read for Diploma in Business after which they are eligible to study for the Bachelor in Business (Navitas hosts universities in Australia and the UK).

6. Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology Sri Lanka (APIIT)

At the APIIT Business School, students who have 5 Passes inclusive of 2 Credit Passes for English and Mathematics at the G C E (O/L) Examination can follow the APPIIT Foundation Course in Business & IT. Upon completion of this Foundation Course, students are eligible to follow an internal British Degree Programme in Management.

1. B.A. (Hons) Business Management
2. B.A (Hons) Marketing Management
3. B.A (Hons) Human Resource Management

After a BA (Hons), students can study for a MBA, i.e. MBA General / HRM/ Finance.

On the other hand, students who have at least A/L 2 passes and O/L 5 passes including ‘C’s for English and mathematics can directly enter a BA programme at APIIT. They are exempted from the Foundation Course. Students also have the opportunity of transferring to the relevant university in the UK, after completing the first two academic years in Sri Lanka at APIIT.

7. British School of Commerce (BSC Colombo)

At the BSC Colombo, students who have O/L qualifications can follow the Degree Foundation Course after which they can directly enter a BA or BSc programme, i.e. BA (Hons) Business and Management studies or BSc (Hons) Accounting. In addition to the bachelors’ degrees, BSC Colombo offers MSc programmes as well and thus students who complete bachelors’ degrees can study for an MBA or MSc programme such as Master of Business Administration (MBA), MSc in International Tourism Management, and MSc in International Hospitality Management. The MBA degree is awarded by the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC).

8. Thames College Sri Lanka (TCSL)

The ABE-UK (Association of Business Executives-UK) programme at Thames College, Nugegoda, offers the Diploma in Business Management (BM) for students who are qualified in GCE (O/L). Upon completion of this Diploma, students can read for the Higher Diploma in BM after which they are able to follow the Graduate Diploma in BM. Once they complete it, students have the option to enter to the final year of a Bachelors Degree in BM.

In addition to that, the CTH-UK (Confederation of Tourism & Hospitality-UK) programme at Thames College offers Diplomas in Hotel Management and Tourism Management for O/L qualified students. After completing a Diploma, candidates can follow a Higher Diploma either in Hotel Management or Tourism Management which directly links students to a Bachelors Degree in Hotel Management or Tourism Management.

9. American College of Higher Education (ACHE)

At the ACHE, students who possess O/L qualifications, i.e. 5 Credits at the GCE (O/L) including English and Mathematics, can enter a Bachelors Degree Programme such as BSc in Management of Human Resources and BSc in General Business. (Degree Programs, 2010)

10. CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) Sri Lanka

The entry into CIMA is quite flexible. In fact, students who are over 16 years of age can start to follow CIMA. This means that even without A/L qualifications and only with O/L qualifications, students are eligible to study for CIMA. Thus, CIMA is a very good higher education opportunity for students who do not possess A/L qualifications. It is important to mention that the CIMA student body encompasses a vast range from school children to graduates and even to employees. Since there are many CIMA tuition providers in Sri Lanka, students can rather easily study for CIMA which is one of the most recognized professional qualifications in the world.

11. CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) Sri Lanka

CIM is a good professional qualification which can be obtained by those who do not have A/L qualifications. Students are indeed eligible to read for CIM, if they have O/L qualifications. Since many CIM tuition providers can be found in Sri Lanka, they can follow CIM without much difficulty.

12. Royal Institute of Colombo (RIC)

Only with O/L qualifications, students can join the Access Route Programme which “is an alternative qualification for those who do not meet the entrance requirements of the University of London to register for a BSc degree.” Upon completion of this programme at RIC, students can study for BSc in mathematics and Economics.

In addition to the Access Route Programme, students can follow either Diploma in Economics or Diploma in Social Sciences for which the entry requirements are four O/L ‘C’ passes including Mathematics and English, having sat for A/L examination, and Passing the Aptitude Test or the Foundation Course conducted by the RIC. This means that students who have failed the A/L examination can study for either Diploma in Economics or Diploma in Social Sciences, which leads to a BSc degree programme.

Apart from the BSc in Mathematics and Economics, students who do not possess A/L qualifications can read for the following BSc programmes in Economics related subject areas, upon completion of either the Access Route Programme or Diploma in Economics or Social Sciences.

1. BSc Accounting and Finance
2. BSc Accounting with Law
3. BSc Banking and Finance
4. BSc Business
5. BSc Development and Economics
6. BSc Economics
7. BSc Economics and Finance
8. BSc Economics and Management
9. BSc International Relations
10. BSc Management
11. BSc Management with Law

13. Mercury Institute of Management (MIM)

At MIM, students who have O/L qualifications can follow the ACCA programme (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). In fact even without the O/L qualification, if a student is over 16 years of age, he or she can join the CAT programme (Certified Accounting Technician) after which students can enter ACCA. On completion of ACCA Part 2 – Skills Module, students are able to read for BSc in Applied Accounting. Candidates are eligible to study for either the CFA programme (Chartered Financial Analyst) or MBA, once they obtain the BSc, awarded by the Oxford Brooks University.

14. Singapore Informatics Academy (SIA)

At the SIA, students who have O/L qualifications can follow the International Foundation Programme (IFP). Upon completion of the IFP, students can read for a Diploma Course.

1. International Diploma in Business Administration
2. Diploma in Hospitality Management
3. Diploma in Events Management
4. Diploma in Retail Management
5. Diploma in Tourism & Travel Management

After completing a Diploma, students are able to follow the International Advanced Diploma in Business Administration (IADBA). On completion of the IADBA, they can enter a Bachelors Degree Programme.

1. Bachelor of Arts [Hons] in Business Administration - University of Hertfordshire UK
2. Bachelor of Science [Hons] in Business Administration (Marketing) - Validated by University of Wales via Informatics Global Campus
3. Bachelor of Hospitality Management (Hons) - Berjaya University College of Hospitality
4. Bachelor of Events Management (Hons) - Berjaya University College of Hospitality
5. Bachelor of Retail Management (Hons) - Berjaya University College of Hospitality
6. Bachelor of Tourism Management (Hons) - Berjaya University College of Hospitality

15. Jayasekera Management Centre (JMC)

At the JMC, students can follow programmes such as AATSL (Association of Accounting Technicians Sri Lanka), ICASL (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka), and CMASL (Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka) for which A/L is not a compulsory entry requirement.



II. Computer Science & Related Subjects


The following higher education opportunities can be found in the field of Computer Science for students who do not have A/L qualifications.

1. University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC)

If a student possesses 6 passes in the GCE (O/L) with 3 credits, at the UCSC, he or she can follow the Foundation Course in Information Technology (FIT), which is “an alternate qualification for those who do not posses A/L qualifications to enrol in the Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) programme.”

In addition to the BIT programme, the following courses in Computer Science can be followed at UCSC. A/L qualification is not a prerequisite for these courses either.

1. Java Application Development
2. Advanced Java Application Development using J2EE
3. Intensive Course on Visual Basic .NET
4. Computer Aided Drafting Using AutoCAD 2008
5. Intensive Training Course on Office Applications
6. Upgrading and Maintenance of Personal Computer Environment
7. Unix/Linux Fundamentals, Network & Systems Administration

2. Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL)

To follow the two-year Foundation Programme in Engineering Technology at OUSL, students need only a ‘C’ pass in O/L mathematics. After the completion of this programme, students are able to read for Diploma in Technology in Computer Engineering. On completion of this Diploma, they are eligible to follow Bachelor of Software Engineering or Bachelor of Technology in Computer Engineering.

3. Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT)

The SLIIT conducts, in collaboration with the Edexcel UK and Curtin University of Technology Australia, the Foundation Certificate in Information Technology (FCIT) as a “unique pre-university pathway course” for students who do not possess the GCE (A/L) qualification. The minimum entry requirement for the FCIT is GCE (O/L) 6 passes including ‘C’s for Mathematics and English. Upon completion of the FCIT, students can enter to the Diploma in Information Technology (IT) programme. After completing the Diploma, candidates are eligible to follow a degree programme in IT, conducted by the SLIIT.

1. BSc Special (Hons) in Information Technology
2. BSc in Information Technology (Curtin University of Technology, Australia)
3. BSc in Information Technology (Sheffield Hallam University, UK)

After a Bsc in IT, candidates can study for an MSc in IT or related subject.

1. MSc in Information Technology
2. MSc in Information Systems
3. MSc in Information Management
4. MSc in Information Management

In addition, the following Professional Programmes in Computer Science can be followed at the SLIIT. A/L qualification is not a required qualification for these courses.

1. Certificate Programme in IT Applications
2. Java Programming
3. Advanced Linux Administration
4. Configuring and Troubleshooting Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Domain Services Programme
5. Sun Solaris Administration Programme
6. Web Development Programme (After the completion of this course, students can follow the PHP - MySQL Web Development Program)
7. Knowledge Worker Certificate (KWC)
8. Certified Information System Auditor Review Programme

4. Centre for Open and Distance Learning (CODL), University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

The CODL offers a BIT (Bachelor of Information Technology) Programme. Students who possess the GCE (O/L) qualification including a Credit for Mathematics can face an Aptitude Test. The students who obtain required marks at the Aptitude Test can enter to the BIT Programme.

The BIT Programme has three levels and students have the option of exit on completion of each level.
Level 1 – Certificate in Information Technology
Level 2 – Diploma in Information Technology
Level 3 – Bachelor in Information Technology (BIT)

5. Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT)

At the IIT, students who possess O/L 5 Credits including English and Mathematics can follow the Foundation Programme which is a “full-time intensive programme for students who fall short of the ‘A’ level requirements to enter the degree programmes.” Upon completion of this Foundation Programme, candidates can read for a one of the following Bachelor’s degrees, awarded by the University of Westminster, UK.

1. BEng (Hons) Software Engineering
2. BSc (Hons) Software Engineering
3. BSc (Hons) Information Systems with Business Management

Once students obtain a Bachelors degree, they are eligible to study for MSc in Advanced Software Engineering which is awarded by the University of Westminster, UK.

Students who possess O/L qualifications can also enter to the E-learning Programme which “offers a Diploma in Computing via e-learning.”

6. ESOFT Computer Studies

At the ESOFT, students who have O/L qualifications can study for BCS (British Computer Society) Higher Education Qualification (HEQ) which is a “Professional ICT Qualification that is equivalent to a UK Honours Degree.” The BCS HEQ has also been approved by the University Grant Commission of Sri Lanka. On completion of the first two years of BCS, if students prefer, they can enter to BSc (Hons) in Computer, awarded by the Buckinghamshire New University, UK, after which they can follow MSc in Information Systems for Strategic Management from Buckinghamshire New University, UK.

In addition, students who do not possess A/L qualifications can follow several certificate and diploma courses in the field of Computer Science at the ESOFT.

7. Singapore Informatics Academy (SIA)

If a student has O/L qualification, he or she can follow the International Foundation Programme (IFP) conducted by the SIA. Upon completion of the IFP, students can read for the International Diploma in Information Technology and Communication (IDITC). After completing the IDITC, they are able to follow an Advanced Diploma Programme.

1. International Advanced Diploma in Business System Development
2. International Advanced Diploma in Network & Computer Security
3. International Advanced Diploma in Network Engineering

After an International Advanced Diploma, students are eligible to study for a BSc Programme.

1. BSc (Hons) in Computing - University of Portsmouth via Informatics Global Campus
2. BSc (Hons) in Technology Management and Computing - University of Portsmouth via Informatics Global Campus

Once students obtain a BSc, they can read for a Post Graduate Diploma Programme.

1. Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Business IT (SBIT) - NCC Education
2. Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Business Information Systems (SBIS) - University of Hertfordshire

8. Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology Sri Lanka (APIIT)

At the APIIT School of Computing, students who have 5 Passes inclusive of 2 Credit Passes for English and Mathematics at the G C E (O/L) Examination can follow the APIIT Foundation Course in Business & IT. Upon completion of this Foundation Course, students are eligible to follow an internal British Degree Programme in Computing and Applied IT.

1. BSc (Hons) / BEng (Hons) Computing Science
2. BSc (Hons) / BEng (Hons) Software Engineering
3. BSc (Hons) / BEng (Hons) Computer Networks and Security
4. BSc (Hons) Business Information Technology
5. BSc (Hons) Business Computing
6. BSc (Hons) Database Management & Administration

After a BSc (Hons) or BEng (Hons), students can study for an MSc in Computing.

1. MSc Software Engineering
2. MSc Computer Science
3. MSc Technology Management

On the other hand, students who have at least A/L 2 passes and O/L 5 passes including ‘C’s for English and mathematics can directly enter to a BSc programme at APIIT. They are in fact exempted from the Foundation Course. Students also have the opportunity of transferring to the relevant university in the UK, after completing the first two academic years in Sri Lanka at APIIT.

9. University of Ballarat Sri Lanka Study Centre (UBSLSC)

At UBSLSC, students who have O/L qualifications can enter to the One Year Foundation Program for Business & IT. After completing this Foundation Course, students are eligible to study for either Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) - Software Engineering or Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) - Business Systems. Once they obtain the Bachelors Degree, it is possible for them to read for Master of Information Technology (MIT) or Master of Information Systems (MIS).

1. BIT (Software Engineering)
2. BIT (Business Systems)

In terms of the degree programmes, after completing two years, students have the option to transfer to Australia or to complete the degree in Sri Lanka at UBSLSC.

10. Matrix Institute of Information Technology (MIIT)

At the MIIT, students who possess O/L qualifications can read for ACS (Australian Computer Society) Diploma in Information Technology (IT). They also can study for BCS (British Computer Society) Higher Education Qualification (HEQ) which is offered by the BCS Chartered Institute for IT in UK (CIIT) that is “an approved qualification by the University Grant Commission of Sri Lanka.” In addition, they can follow the MCTP (Matrix Corporate Training Programme) in IT and Computing.

11. American National College/ANC Education/ANC University College

At the ANC, students who have O/L qualifications can follow the Foundation Course after which they are eligible to enter the BS in Information Science and Technology (IST).

12. Australian College of Business & Technology (ACBT)

Students who have 5 passes at the GCE (O/L) including ‘A’ passes for English and Mathematics can follow the ACBT University Foundation Programme. After the completion of this foundation course, students can read for Diploma in Computing after which they are eligible to study for Bachelor of Computer Science.

13. IDM Computer Studies

Students only need O/L qualifications to follow a Higher National Diploma (HND) course in Computer Science, conducted by the IDM.

1. HND in Computer and Network Technology
2. HND in Computing
3. HND in Software Development
4. HND in Multimedia Integration
5. HND in Business Information Technology

After the completion of an HND, students are eligible to read for a BSc programme in Computer Science.

1. BSc in Business IT (University of Greenwich, UK)
2. Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) (University of Colombo)
3. BSc (Hons) Computing (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
4. BSc (Hons) Computing Digital Media Development (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
5. BSc (Hons) Computer Networks (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
6. BSc (Hons) Management of IT (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
7. BSc (Hons) Computing Software Development (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
8. BSc (Hons) Computer Systems Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, UK)

Once candidates obtain a BSc, they can study for the Masters Degree in ITM / SITM (University of Wolverhampton, UK)

Further, at the IDM, students who have GCE O/L qualifications can directly enter BCS HEQ (British Computer Society Higher Education Qualification), which is equivalent to an Honours Degree.

14. Institute of Java & Technological Studies (IJTS)

The following Training Programmes are offered by the IJTS. In fact GEC (A/L) qualification is not a prerequisite for these programmes.

1. Professional Certificate in Java Programming (PCJT) Training Program
2. Professional Certificate in Web Application Development (PCWAD)
3. Advance Java Developer (AJD) Training Program
4. Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP) Examination Training program
5. Sun Certified Web Component Developer (SCWCD) Examination Training program
6. Sun Certified Business Component Developer (SCBCD) Examination Training Program
7. Sun Certified Mobile Application Developer (SCMAD) Examination Training Program
8. Sun Certified Enterprise Architect (SCEA) Training Program

15. Department of Computer Science, University of Ruhuna (DCSUR)

The Department of Computer Science and the Computer Unit of the University of Ruhuna, jointly conduct the Certificate Course in Computer Technology as an external course (CCCT) and Awareness Course in Computer Technology (ACCT). In addition to the A/L qualified students, employed persons also can join the CCCT or ACCT, if they have 6 O/L passes including Mathematics and English.

Furthermore, the Department of Computer Science, in collaboration with the relevant institutes, offers Scholarship Programmes in Computing for school children and teachers in Tsunami affected areas in the Southern province and for disabled or diseases persons of veteran families.

16. National Institute of Business Management (NIBM)

Students who possess five ‘C’ passes in O/L including Mathematics and English can read for the following Diploma Courses in Computer Science at NIBM.

1. Diploma in Computer System Design (DCSD) (with the completion of this Diploma, students are eligible to follow the Higher Diploma in Computer Based Information Systems)
2. Diploma in Software Development
3. Diploma in Computer Networking

17. American College of Higher Education (ACHE)

At the ACHE, students who possess O/L qualifications, i.e. 5 Credits at the GCE (O/L) including English and Mathematics, can directly enter the Four Year BSc in Information Technology.



III. Engineering & Related Subjects


The following higher education opportunities can be found in the field of Engineering for students who do not possess the GCE (A/L) qualification.

1. Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL)

At the OUSL, students who possess the GCE (O/L) qualification including a Credit for Mathematics can follow the Foundation Programme in Engineering Technology (FPET). On completion of the FPET, students can read for a one of the following Diplomas in Technology (DT), conducted by the OUSL.

1. DT in Civil Engineering
2. DT in Electrical Engineering
3. DT in Electronic & Communication Engineering
4. DT in Mechatronics Engineering
5. DT in Mechanical Engineering
6. DT in Textile Engineering

After a DT, students are eligible to study for a Bachelor of Technology (BT), offered by the OUSL.

1. BT in Civil Engineering
2. BT in Electrical Engineering
3. BT in Electronic & Communication Engineering
4. BT in Mechatronics Engineering
5. BT in Mechanical Engineering
6. BT in Textile Engineering

On completion of a BT, students can enter a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Engineering.

1. PGD in Industrial Engineering
2. PGD in Construction Management

Once students obtain a PGD, they can read for a Master of Technology (MT).

1. MT in Industrial Engineering
2. MT in Construction Management

2. Department of Technical Education and Training (DTET) Sri Lanka

The DTET of the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Education is the government body that provides Sri Lankan youth with technological and technical education. Under the DTET, there are 9 Colleges of Technology and 29 Technical Colleges. These Colleges conduct approximately 86 vocational training programmes among which Engineering courses are predominant. The minimum entry qualification of these programmes is 6 GCE (O/L) passes. The following National Certificate programmes are only a small fraction of Engineering courses, offered by the DTET.

1. National Certificate for Industrial Technicians(Civil Engineering) (Full Time)
2. National Certificate for industrial Technicians(Electrical & Electronic Engineering) (Full Time)
3. National Certificate in Technology - Mechanical Engineering (Part Time)
4. National Certificate in Technology - Civil Engineering (Part Time)
5. National Certificate in Technology - Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Part Time)
6. National Certificate in Engineering Craft Practice - Building Construction Technology(Full Time)
7. National Certificate in Engineering Craft Practice - Building Craftsman(Full Time)
8. National Certificate in Engineering Craft Practice - Industrial Electrician (Full Time)
9. National Certificate in Engineering Craft Practice- Electronic (Full Time)
10. Advanced Diploma in Mechatronics Technology (Full Time)
11. Advanced Diploma in Construction Technology (Full Time)

In fact, these Training Programmes basically have seven levels. Completion of level 1 to 4 means the completion of National Certificate. After completing level 5 and 6, students gain a National Diploma. In fact the level 7 is equivalent to a Bachelors degree.

3. British College of Applied Studies (BCAS)

At the BCAS, students who have the GCE (O/L) qualification can follow International Engineering Foundation (IEF) which qualifies students to “embark on Engineering Degree Studies without A/L qualification in Maths stream.” On completion of the IEF, students are eligible to study for a BSc Engineering Degree, awarded by the University of Wolverhampton or another SCAS partner institute in the UK. (International Engineering Foundation, 2008)

1. BSc (Hons) in Quantity Surveying
2. BSc (Hons) in Telecommunication Engineering

4. Singapore Informatics Academy (SIA)

The SIA conducts the International Foundation Programme (IEF) for students who do not have the GCE (A/L) qualification. The minimum admission requirements for the IEF are, at least 16 years of age and GCE (O/L) qualification or high School Certificate or other equivalent qualifications deemed suitable by the Informatics Academy. On completion of the IEF, students can follow the International Diploma in Engineering & Technology (IDET) after which they are eligible to read for an Advanced Diploma in Engineering.

1. International Advanced Diploma in Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering (IADEECE)
2. International Advanced Diploma in Electronic & Embedded Technology (IADEET)

After completing an Advanced Diploma, students can study for the BSc (Hons) in Electrical and Electronics Engineering - University of Northumbria, UK/Singapore.

5. American National College/ANC Education/ANC University College

Students on pending A/L results can apply for an Engineering Degree, awarded by a UK university. In fact students who only possess the GCE (O/L) qualification can follow the Monash University Foundation Year Programme or another relevant Foundation programme that leads students to an Engineering degree. Thus, at the ANC Education, on completion of a relevant Foundation Course, students can enter to a Degree Programme in the following Engineering areas.

1. Aerospace 5. Electric and Electronic
2. Avionics Systems 6. Mechatronics and Robotics
3. Automotive 7. Mechanical
4. Civil and Structural 8. Telecommunications

6. Australian College of Business & Technology (ACBT)

At the ACBT, students who possess O/L qualifications can enter the Certificate Programme in Engineering. After completing the Certificate Programme, students can study for an Engineering Degree either in Sri Lanka or abroad.



IV. Natural Sciences


In the field of Natural Sciences, students who do not possess the GCE (A/L) qualification can find the following higher education opportunities.

1. Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL)

Even without the O/L qualification, students can follow the Foundation Programme in Natural Science, if they are over 18 years of age. After the completion of this programme, students are eligible to read for a BSc programme in Science.

1. BSc in Biology / Physics
2. Bsc in Nursing
3. BSc (Joint Major) Degree Programme
4. Bachelor of Education in Natural Science

In addition to BSc programmes, students who do not have A/L qualifications can read for the following Science Courses after completing the Foundation Programme at the OUSL.

1. Diploma in Science
2. Diploma in Microbiology
3. Advanced Certificate in Laboratory Technology
4. Certificate in Wildlife Conservation & Management
5. Certificate in Laboratory Technology
6. Certificate in Environmental Sciences
7. Certificate in Computer Networks and Security
8. Continuing Medical Education Courses
9. Stand Alone Courses in Science

2. American National College/ANC Education/ANC University College

One of the best available options for students who do not have A/L qualifications to become a Medical Doctor is to enter the BS in Psychology with Pre-Medicine offered by the University of Missouri. In fact, “upon completion of the Pre-Medicine program, students can get guaranteed admission at the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Medicine. Also students can apply to other Medical schools in Missouri.”

In addition, at the ANC Education, students who possess O/L qualifications can directly enter to a Four Year BA or BS Programme in Psychology, awarded by the University of Missouri.

It is important to mention that for the degree programmes offered by American universities, A/L is not a compulsory entry requirement. In fact even the students who only possess O/L qualifications can directly enter a Four Year Bachelors programme offered by an American university.

3. Institute of Chemistry Ceylon / College of Chemical Sciences (CCS)

Students who have 6 passes at the GCE (O/L) including Credits for Science, Mathematics, and English can enrol for the Diploma in Laboratory Technology in Chemistry (DLTC). On completion of the DLTC, students are eligible to study for the Graduateship Programme in Chemistry. In fact this is a good opportunity for students who do not have A/L qualifications to obtain a degree in Chemistry.



V. Social Sciences


Students who do not have A/L qualifications can find the following higher Education opportunities in the felid of Social science.

1. Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL)

If students are over 18 years of age, they can follow the Certificate Programme in Social Science regardless of A/L and O/L qualifications. On completion of this Certificate Programme, they are eligible to study for BA in Social Sciences and Bachelor of Law. After the BA in Social Science or LLB, candidates can enrol for the MA in Development Studies & Public Policy.

2. Royal Institute of Colombo (RIC)

Students who have O/L qualifications can join the Access Route Programme which “is an alternative qualification for those who do not meet the entrance requirements of the University of London to register for a BSc degree.” Upon completion of this programme at RIC, students can study for the BSc Sociology and BSc International Relations offered by the University of London.

In addition to the Access Route Programme, students can follow the Diploma in Social Sciences for which the entry requirements are four O/L ‘C’ passes including Mathematics and English, having sat for A/L examination, and Passing the Aptitude Test or the Foundation Course conducted by the RIC. This means that students who have failed A/L examination can study for the Diploma in Social Sciences after which they can enrol for the BSc Sociology or BSc International Relations.

Students who possess O/L qualifications also can enter the Diploma in Law (DL) depending on marks at the Aptitude Test. On completion of the DL, students can enrol for the LLB Degree Programme awarded by the University of London.

3. Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS)

At the BCIS, students who have O/L qualifications can follow the Certificate in International Relations (CIR). On completion of the CIR, they can read for the Diploma in International Relations (DIR) after which they can study for the Higher Diploma in International Relations (HDIR).

4. Journalism Unit University of Colombo (JUUC)

The Journalism Unit at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Colombo offers the Diploma Programme in Journalism. In addition to the A/L qualified students, persons who have work experience in the field of Media can enrol for the Course, even if they do not have A/L qualifications.



VI. Languages


The field of Language is a good area of knowledge that students can study regardless of their A/L qualifications. The following education opportunities can be found in this field for students who do not possess A/Ls.

1. Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL)

Students have only to obtain the relevant marks at the Entrance Test in order to follow the Certificate in Basic English after which they are able to read for the Certificate in Professional English, irrespective of their O/L and A/L results. Those who completed the Professional English course are eligible to study for the Advanced Certificate in English.

The other option is that if students already have a very good knowledge in English, they can directly face the Entrance Test of the Diploma in English course, although they do not possess A/L qualifications. Once they completed the Diploma in English course, they are indeed eligible to study for the BA in English & English Language Teaching.

In addition to the English Courses, students who do not possess A/L qualifications can enrol for the following Language Courses.

1. Beginner’s Course in Korean
2. Beginner’s Course in Tamil
3. Sinhala for Beginners

2. Alliance Française de Colombo (AFC)

Irrespective of students’ A/L results, they can study for a French Language Course at Alliance Française de Colombo which offers courses ranging from beginners level to higher diploma level. Once you get a Higher Diploma in French, you can apply for a BA in French from a university in France.

3. Russian Cultural Centre (RCC)

Under the Embassy of the Russian Federation, the Russian Cultural Centre offers many courses in Russian Language and Literature. The A/L qualification is not an entry requirement for these courses. Upon completion of an advanced level course in the Russian Language, students can study for a BA in Russian Language and Literature in a university in Russia.

4. Goethe - Institut Sri Lanka (GISL)

The Goethe-Institut, which is “the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach”, conducts various German courses ranging from beginners’ level to intensive courses in Sri Lanka. Even without A/L or O/L qualifications, students can follow a beginners’ level German Course after which they can enter a much higher level course and ultimately they may apply for a BA in German in a university in Germany.

5. British Council Sri Lanka (BCSL)

The British Council, which is “the UK's leading international organization for educational and cultural relations”, offers many courses in English Language and Literature. After the completion of an advanced level English course, students may be eligible to read for a BA in English Language and Literature in a university in the UK.

6. Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS)

The BCIS offers language courses ranging from beginners’ level to intermediate level. For these courses, the GCE (A/L) qualification is not a prerequisite. With regard to the following languages, the BCIS conducts several courses.

1. Russian 2. German 3. Spanish 4. French 5. Italian 6. Arabic 7. Chinese
8. Hindi 9. Tamil 10. Sinhala 11. English

7. Graduate Institute of Science & Management (GISM)

The Faculty of Language and Humanities of the GISM, through its Language Centre, conducts many Language Courses ranging from Certificate Level via Advanced Certificate to Diploma Level. The minimum entry requirement for these courses is the GCE (O/L) qualification. Students can enrol for courses pertaining to the following languages.

1. Arabic 2. English 3. French 4. German 5. Hindi 6. Japanese
7. Korean 8. Mandarin 9. Pali 10. Sanskrit 11. Sinhala 12. Tamil

8. American College of Higher Education (ACHE)

The ACHE, in addition to the English Courses, offers a Certificate Course in French consists of two levels. The GCE (A/L) is not an entry requirement for these courses.




VII. Art & Design


Art and Design is an excellent area of study for which students can read irrespective of their O/L and A/L qualifications. Thus, in this field of study, there are good opportunities for students who do not possess A/L qualifications.

1. Academy of Design (AOD)

At the AOD, students who possess the GCE (O/L) qualification can enter to the One Year Foundation Programme in Design (FD). Upon completion of the FD, students are eligible to study for a one of the following BA Programmes in Design, awarded by the University of Northumbria, UK.

1. BA (Hons) Graphic Design - University of Northumbria, UK
2. BA (Hons) Fashion Design - University of Northumbria, UK
3. BA (Hons) Interior Design - University of Northumbria, UK

In addition, students who have O/L qualifications and related work experience can enter to the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Jewellery Design awarded by BTEC – UK (Business & Technology Education Council, Edexcel Foundation UK) and Higher Certificate (HC) in Photography, awarded by the Bradford College, UK.

1. HND in Jewellery Design - BTEC, UK
2. HC in Photography - Bradford College, UK

2. Lanka Institute of Fashion Technology (LIFT)

At the LIFT, students who have the GCE (O/L) qualification can read for the following Advanced Diplomas (AD) in the field of Design.

1. AD in Fashion Design
2. AD in Fashion Footwear & Accessory Design
3. AD in Textile for Fashion

Upon completion of an AD, students are eligible to study for a BA programme in Design awarded by the University of Northampton, UK.

1. BA (Hons) in Fashion Design - University of Northampton, UK
2. BA (Hons) in Fashion Footwear & Accessory Design - University of Northampton, UK
3. BA (Hons) in Textile for Fashion - University of Northampton, UK

3. National Institute of Business Management (NIBM)

If students have O/L qualifications and related work experience and/or Diploma level qualifications, they are eligible to study for the BA in Interior Design, awarded by the Limkokwing University, Malaysia.

4. Russian Cultural Centre (RCC)

At the Russian Cultural Centre, students can follow various Art Courses such as Drama & Theatre, Classical ballet, Classical music, and Art. On completion of one of these courses, students may be eligible to read for a relevant BA degree in Aesthetics at a university in Russia.

5. British Council Sri Lanka (BCSL)

The BCSL, in collaboration with its affiliated academies such as Royal Academy of Dance, offers several Study Programmes in Drama, Dancing, Music, Film, and Literature. In fact, GCE (A/L) is not a prerequisite for these programmes.

6. School of Media Art & Management (SMAM) Sri Lanka

At the SMAM, students who have O/L qualifications and 6 month related work experience can enrol for the following Diploma Programmes in Media Art.

1. Diploma in Media, Marketing & Management
2. Diploma in Film & Television Studies
3. Diploma in Television Camera Work
4. Diploma in Journalism for Electronic Media
5. Diploma in Creativity for Advertising

In addition, students who possess O/L qualifications can read for the following Certificate Courses.

1. Certificate in Announcing & Presenting of Programmes
2. Certificate in Film & Television Producing
3. Certificate in Dubbing for Radio & TV Commercials

7. Graphic Art, Web Design, 3D Animation and Multimedia

For students who are interested in Graphic Design, Web Design, 3D Animation and Multimedia, the following institutes offer courses ranging from certificate level to higher diploma level in those subjects for which the GCE (A/L) qualification is not a prerequisite.

1. Academy of Digital Science (ADS)
2. Raffles Institute of Higher Education (RIHE)
3. Academy of Multimedia Design & Technology (AMDT)
4. Lalith Atulathmudali Vocational Training Centre (LAVTC)
5. INGRIN Institute of Printing & Graphics (IIPG)
6. Sri Lanka Association of Printers (SLAP)
7. Skills Development Centre (SDC)
8. IDM Computer Studies
9. University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC)
10. Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT)
11. National Institute of Business Management (NIBM)
12. Wijeya Graphics (WG)


Getting a degree is not a mirage anymore albeit failing in A/Ls

Considering all the factors presented in this article, it is undeniable that there are numerous higher education opportunities in the Sri Lankan education context for students who have failed or obtained low grades in the A/L examination. In fact, what has been presented in the series of articles is only a very small fraction of the innumerable opportunities available virtually in every field of knowledge, i.e. Computer Science, Business Studies, Accountancy, Marketing, Management, Industrial Studies, Engineering, Languages, Art & Design, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences.

Hence, it is clear that albeit failed in A/Ls, students can earn a Bachelors degree if they are creative, enthusiastic, perseverant, wise and intelligent enough to find alternative study paths. Once students obtain a first degree, obtaining a PhD is not a mirage but a great reality indeed.
It is also indeed futile to constantly repent or lament over one’s past failures, since it is the present activities and events that matter the most in creating his/her successful future. In other words, putting in hard work today and having a proper plan and vision to achieve educational goals will definitely beget a triumphant tomorrow.

However, it should be emphasized that professional and academic qualifications alone will not create a perfect or an ideal human being. After getting many degrees, one may have prestigious titles before his/her name but if the individual is a selfish person, his/her intellectuality might bring nothing, but havoc to the world for the sake of profit and fame. Thus, together with professional and academic qualifications, one should have a virtuous, benevolent and philanthropic heart.

At the end of this series of articles, it is worth to cite Emma Goldman, a proponent of egalitarian political ideology.

“No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” Emma Goldman

These words of Emma Goldman profoundly portray that the process of education should breed neither an insensitive rigid intelligentsia nor evil intellectual, but a true human whose heart is filled with benevolence, love, and philanthropy. In fact, education is not merely learning mathematics, natural sciences and social sciences or gathering facts from books and teaching it to others, but the real education flows from heart via brain to hands. In other words, all three dimensions of a great individual, i.e. knowledge, skills, and virtue, should be developed by education. Such an education creates well-rounded perfect personalities and thereby an ideal society.

About the Author: Tilan Wijesooriya is a recent graduate who holds a BA special degree in Economics from the University of Colombo. He is presently working as a research intern at LIRNEasia, a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific. SL2College would like to thank Tilan for conducting a comprehensive study on higher education options available in Sri Lanka and writing this article. SL2College wishes him the very best in his future endeavours.

Date of publication in Sunday Observer: January 29 ; February 05, 12, 19, 2012 (in 4 parts)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SL2College.

This and other related articles are available on www.sl2college.org, under the resources section. Please post your queries on the forum at www.sl2college.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .