Sri Lanka has recorded steady economic growth of 5.2% per annum for the last decade. Per capita gross national income was $3840 in 2017, well on track to become an upper middle income country. To achieve higher incomes and better standards of living, the government envisions transforming to a knowledge-based economy by 2025. Investment in human capital is prioritized for economic diversification and enhanced productivity. Sri Lanka ranked 73rd in the Human Development Index, outperforming other lower middle-income countries, and this is attributed to good access to education.


Limited Access

Higher education opportunities are limited. The gross enrollment rate is 18.9%, which is far lower than that of the upper middle-income country average of 50.7%. Increasing demand for higher education is evident from steep competition for public university admission, the large number of external degree program students, and increasing numbers of students seeking private higher education.


Quality Concerns

Research and practical learning in science, technology, and engineering are limited because of lack of laboratory facilities, researchers, and capital investment. Lack of qualified academic staff constrains quality of teaching, learning and research. There were 5,440 academic staff in 2016, but less than 50% have a doctor of philosophy degree.