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Sri Lanka Vocational Training System and Requirements

Ministry of Vocational & Technical Training

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) Framework

In 2005, the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training (MVTT) introduced the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) framework which was an important milestone for the education, economic and social development of Sri Lanka. 

The NVQ system seeks to resolve the perceived mismatch between training offered and the requirements of the labour market, the duplication of training provided by institutions and the lack of consistent training standards and delivery.  Under the NVQ framework, all institutions providing vocational training courses must be registered with TVEC and acquire accreditation of individual training courses in order to conduct nationally recognized VT training and provide NVQ certificates ( Gazette Notification Regarding Registration and Accreditation).

The NVQ framework consists of seven (7) levels of instruction.  NVQ levels 1 to 4 are for craftsmen designation and successful candidates are issued with National certificates.  NVQ levels 5 and 6 are Diploma level, whereas Level 7 is for degree equivalent qualification.

NVQ are National Skills Standards/ National Competency Standards (NSS) offered through Competency Based Training (CBT) and assessments in accredited training courses or through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessments for those who have already acquired competencies through informal learning or industry practice.  NSS specify the skills, knowledge and attitudes applied to a particular occupation; as well as standards of performance of a competent worker and the various contexts or ranges in which work may take place. It is a document that specifies the industry requirements.  National CBT Curricula for NSS consist of three main documents: a Curriculum outline, a Trainer’s guide and Trainee guides for teaching and learning purposes. Click here for NSS available in Tamil/ Sinhala/ English.

Accredited training courses are provided by many institutions island wide.  All training providers (public and private) must obtain institutional registration and course accreditation from the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC). Click here for list of registered training providers and list of accredited training courses

REGISTRATION with the TVEC is the first step in the NVQ process.  Training institutions must satisfy specific criteria: infrastructure, basic services, tools and equipment, quality of instruction and staff, based on curriculum and syllabus, and quality of management and monitoring systems.  After registration, training institutions can apply to TVEC for ACCREDITATION of their VT courses, which requires registered institutes to meet and maintain minimum standards relating to course content and quality, core competencies and course duration, training facilities, trainer qualifications, trainees assessment systems and support from industry and other stakeholders.  Accreditation is considered as a quality assurance measure.  It is considered to be one of the primary methods for maintaining and improving standards of education and training.  Accreditation of a course is done through assessment of the course in relation to respective National Skills Standard (NSS) and is done by a panel of assessors comprised of a trade expert and a representative of the TVEC. Click here for  information about TVEC registration and accreditation and to download applications

When students complete a TVEC accredited courses they are able to sit for an NVQ exam conducted by Approved Assessors, and if successful receive a nationally recognized NVQ certificate.

Quality assurance of teaching and learning comprises institutional registration, secondly accreditation of courses, and thirdly establishment of a generic Quality Management System (QMS) within the training institution.  By establishing and maintaining a QMS, institutes ensure that they have the capacity to establish and maintain an environment fit for delivery of education and training to national standards. 

Government Ministries and Agencies involved in Vocational Training

The Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training (MVTT) is the national government body responsible for development and implementation of national policies related to skills development and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector across the country.  The overall objective of the MVTT is to provide gainful employment for youth through high quality and market oriented vocational and technical education and skills development training.  Several agencies fall under MVTT:  TVEC, NAITA, UNIVOTEC (formerly NITE-SL), DTET and VTA.

The Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) was established in 1991 as the apex body in the technical and vocational education and training sector.  The primary responsibility of TVEC is policy formulation, planning, quality assurance, coordination and development of tertiary and vocational education across the country.  TVEC completes assessments for registration of vocational training institutions and for accreditation of vocational training courses; which is required by all institutions offering vocational training courses to government recognized standards.  TVEC is responsible to monitor the maintenance of quality and standards at registered and accredited institutions.

The National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) is responsible for apprenticeship training nationwide. NAITA is the lead organization for the following activities in the implementation of NVQSL.

  • National Competency Standards
  • Competency Based Assessment Resources
  • Validation of Curriculum
  • Implementation of Competency Based Training (CBT)
  • Conducting competency based assessments (including RPL)
  • Industry placement of trainees

The National Institute for Technical Education - Sri Lanka (NITE-SL) was converted to the University of Technology (UNIVOTEC) in March 2009.  UNIVOTEC will be conducting NVQ Level 7 degree courses and training instructors who will be teaching in Colleges of Technology (CoTs).  UNIVOTEC is the lead organization for the following activities in the implementation of NVQSL.

  • Development of CBT Curricula
  • Staff Development
  • Development of Learning Resources
  • Implementing and Coordinating Learning Resource Development Center (LRDC)

The Department of Technical Education and Training (DTET) is one of the key organizations providing technical education and training.  DTET is responsible for managing all technical colleges across the country including the 9 Colleges of Technology that will offer NVQ Levels 5 and 6. DTET is the lead organization for the following activities in the implementation of NVQSL.

  • Implementation of Competency Based Training (CBT)
  • Conducting Competency Based Assessment
  • Implementation of career guidance and counseling activities
  • Implementation of Self Employment Promotion Initiatives
  • Implementation of entrepreneurship programs

The Vocational Training Authority (VTA) offers skills training through a network of training centers across the country (National Vocational Training Institutes, District Vocational Training Centers, Special Vocational Training Centers, and Rural Vocational Training Centers). VTA is the lead organization for the following activities in the implementation of NVQSL.

  • Implementation of Competency Based Training (CBT)
  • Conducting Competency Based Assessment
  • Implementation of career guidance and counseling activities
  • Implementation of Self Employment Promotion Initiatives
  • Implementation of entrepreneurship programs

National Youth Services Council (NYSC) the lead organization for youth development is responsible for following activities in the implementation of NVQSL.

   Implementation of Competency Based Training (CBT)
   Conducting Competency Based Assessment
   Implementation of career guidance and counseling activities
   Implementation of Self Employment Promotion Initiatives
   Implementation of entrepreneurship programs

A number of other Government Ministries, Departments and Institutes are involved in Vocational Training.

Private Sector Involvement in Vocational Training

In addition to government vocational training providers, there are many accredited private sector and non-governmental vocational training providers across the country.  The Accredited Training Providers' (Private Sector) Association has recently been established for private sector training providers with a membership of private sector vocational training providers who are eligible to conduct National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) courses.  Contact atpasl@yahoo.com for more information on services and becoming a member.

This webpage is sponsored by World University Service of Canada (WUSC) - Sri Lanka