This is a comprehensive list of higher education institutions in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan law on publicly financed universities, the University Grants Commission controls 16 Sri Lankan universities and other educational institutions, as higher education institutions. List of universities in Sri Lanka
With a literacy rate of 92.5%, Sri Lanka has one of the most literate populations amongst developing nations. Its youth literacy rate stands at 98.8%, computer literacy rate at 35%, and primary school enrollment rate at over 99%. An education system which dictates 9 years of compulsory schooling for every child is in place. universities in Sri Lanka
The free education system established in 1945 is a result of the initiative of C. W. W. Kannangara and A. Ratnayake. It is one of the few countries in the world that provide universal free education from primary to tertiary stage. Kannangara led the establishment of the Madhya Vidyalayas (central schools) in different parts of the country in order to provide education to Sri Lanka’s rural children. In 1942, a special education committee proposed extensive reforms to establish an efficient and quality education system for the people. However, in the 1980s changes to this system separated the administration of schools between the central government and the provincial government. Thus the elite national schools are controlled directly by the ministry of education and the provincial schools by the provincial government. Sri Lanka has approximately 9,675 government schools and 817 private schools and pirivenas.
Sri Lanka has 15 public universities. A lack of responsiveness of the education system to labour market requirements, disparities in access to quality education, lack of an effective linkage between secondary and tertiary education remain major challenges for the education sector. A number of private, degree awarding institutions have emerged in recent times to fill in these gaps, yet the participation at tertiary level education remains at 5.1%. Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke served as chancellor of Moratuwa University from 1979 to 2002. universities in Sri Lanka
History of University Education in Sri Lanka
The origins of the modern university system in Sri Lanka dates back to 1921 when a University college, the Ceylon University College was established at the former premises of Royal College Colombo, and was affiliated with the University of London. The college provided courses of study in art and humanities, science and medicine prepared undergraduates for examination at the University of London. The beginnings of modern higher education in Ceylon commenced in 1870 with the establishment of the Ceylon Medical School, followed by Colombo Law College (1875), School of Agriculture (1884) and the Government Technical College (1893). In 1942 the first university was established in the country was the University of Ceylon which had several campuses island wide, Colombo (established 1942), Peradeniya (established 1949), Vidyodaya (established 1959), Vidyalankara (established 1959) and Katubedda (established 1972). Vidyodaya and Vidayalankara were established under the Vidyodaya and Vidayalankara University Act No 45 of 1958. The University of Ceylon was modelled on the Oxbridge formula, at its inception the university only accommodated 904 students, which later expanded to cover a number of universities and it remained as an elite-oriented university as stated by Sir Ivor Jennings, catering to a small number of students and exclusively residential. It was dissolved in 1972 to establish the University of Sri Lanka. In 1974 the Jaffna campus was added to the University of Sri Lanka.
The change of the government in July 1977 led to dismantling of the single university apparatus with the plan of establishing independent universities. With the promulgation of the Universities Act. No 16 of 1978, state university status was restored to the six separate campuses. The University Grants Commission (UGC) was also created to plan and coordinate the state university education. After that, a number of state universities were created. All these state universities are registered under the University Grants Commission, but a few come under the auspices of ministries other than the Ministry of Higher Education, in which the UGC is a part of. Most of the state universities depend on funds given by the University Grants Commission, as it is their primary and sometimes only source of funding. Therefore, the UGC has a direct control over these universities and administer the undergraduate intake. The UGC is subordinate to the Ministry of Higher Education. universities in Sri Lanka
Legislation for universities
Universities in the Sri Lanka have generally been instituted by Special Presidential Decree, University Orders, Acts of Parliament and the Higher Education Act 1978.
20 of 1942 Ceylon University
Acts of Parliament
Ceylon University (Amendment) Act No.36 1956
Vidyodaya University and Vidyakara University Act No.45 of 1958
Higher Education Act No.20 of 1960
University of Ceylon Act No.01 of 1972
Universities Act No.16 of 1978 (this Act established the University Grant Commission and a University Service Appeals Board provided for the administration of universities with their campuses and outset the six campuses of the single University of Sri Lanka, the set up under the previous Act No.1 of 1972, were converted to six independent universities on 1 January 1979)
Dissolved Sri Lankan Universities
University of Ceylon
The University of Ceylon was the only university in Sri Lanka (earlier Ceylon) from 1942 until 1972. It had several constituent campuses at various locations around Sri Lanka. The University of Ceylon Act No. 1 of 1972, replaced it with the University of Sri Lanka which existed from 1973 to 1978.
University of Sri Lanka
The University of Sri Lanka was a public university in Sri Lanka. Established in 1972 by amalgamating the four existing universities, it was the only university in Sri Lanka from 1972 until 1978. The university was based at six campuses in Colombo, Peradeniya, Sri Jayewardenepura, Kelaniya, Moratuwa and Jaffna. The university was dissolved in 1978 and its six campuses became independent universities.
The University of Colombo (informally Colombo University or UoC) is a public research university located primarily in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is the oldest institution of modern higher education in Sri Lanka. Specialised in the fields of natural, social, and applied sciences as well as mathematics, computer sciences, and law. It is ranked among the top 10 universities in South Asia.The University of Colombo was founded in 1921 as University College Colombo, affiliated to the University of London. Degrees were issued to its students from 1923 onwards. The university traces its roots to 1870 when the Ceylon Medical School was established. UoC has produced notable alumni in the fields of science, law, economics, business, literature, and politics.
The Eastern University, Sri Lanka (abbreviated as EUSL) is a public university in Vantharumoolai, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. It was established on 1 October 1986. The university was preceded by the Batticaloa University College established on 1 August 1981 which was started in the buildings of the Vantharumoolai Madya Maha Vidyalayam.
At present, the Eastern University, Sri Lanka has a main campus at Vantharumoolai, Trincomalee Campus at Trincomalee, and the Swami Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies (SVIAS) at Kalladi, with the facilities of Library Network, Centre for Information and Communication Technology and Sports. Like all public universities in Sri Lanka, it receives the bulk of its funding from the University Grants Commission (UGC), which is a part of the Ministry of Higher Education in Colombo.
The University of Jaffna (Tamil: யாழ்ப்பாணப் பல்கலைக்கழகம், romanized: Yāḻppāṇap Palkalaikkaḻakam; Sinhala: යාපනය විශ්වවිද්යාලය, Yāpanaya Viśvavidyālaya; abbreviated UoJ) is a public university in the city of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. Established in 1974 as the sixth campus of the University of Sri Lanka, it became an independent, autonomous university in 1979. Like all public universities in Sri Lanka, UoJ receives the bulk of its funding from the University Grants Commission (UGC), part of the Ministry of Higher Education in Colombo. The UGC and the central government therefore exert a great deal of control over the university.
UoJ has two campuses — the main campus in Thirunelvely in Jaffna and a second campus in Vavuniya. It also has facilities in Ariviyal Nagar near Kilinochchi, Kaithady and Maruthanarmadam near Chunnakam. It has thirteen faculties (Agriculture, Alied Health Science, Applied Science, Arts, Business Studies, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Hindu Studies, Management Studies & Commerce, Medicine, Science, Technology, and Technological Studies) and thirteen other academic units/centres. The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses that award various degrees.
The University of Kelaniya (Sinhala: කැලණිය විශ්වවිද්යාලය, Tamil: களனி பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a state university in Sri Lanka. Just outside the municipal limits of Colombo, in the city of Kelaniya, the university has two major campuses, seven locations, six faculties and four institutions.
The University of Moratuwa (also referred as Moratuwa University) (Sinhala: මොරටුව විශ්වවිද්යාලයMoraṭuva Viśvavidyālaya, Tamil: மொறட்டுவைப் பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a technological university in Sri Lanka. It is located on the bank of the Bolgoda Lake in Katubedda, Moratuwa. Apart from academics including undergraduate and postgraduate studies, the University of Moratuwa presents social and cultural activities, student services, societies, and sports and recreational activities. The institution was known as Ceylon College of Technology, Katubedda (Katubedda Tech) before gaining university status. Its roots go back to the Institute of Practical Technology founded in 1960 to provide technical education.
“The Open University of Sri Lanka” (OUSL) (Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා විවෘත විශ්ව විද්යාලය, Tamil: இலங்கை திறந்த பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a national university in Sri Lanka. It is unique within the Sri Lankan national university system for being the only university to offer programs of study leading to Certificate, Diploma, Degrees and Postgraduate degrees up to PhD level through the Open and Distance Mode of Learning(ODL). The degrees awarded by the university are treated as equivalent to degrees awarded by any other Sri Lankan University under the preview of the University Grants Commission.
The OUSL Main Campus ( C010 ) is located in Colombo in Nawala, Nugegoda. There are 8 regional centers in addition to main campus at Nawala. They are;
Kandy Regional Center ( K030 ) – Polgolla, Kandy
Matara Regional Center ( M050 ) – Nupe, Matara
Jaffna Regional Center ( J060 ) – Kokuvil, Jaffna
Anuradhapura Regional Center ( K110 ) – Jayanthi Mawatha, Anuradhapura
Batticaloa Regional Center ( K070 ) – 23, New Road, Batticaloa
Badulla Regional Center – No 18/1, Bandaranayake Mw, Badulla
The University of Peradeniya (Sinhala: පේරාදෙණිය විශ්ව විද්යාලය, Tamil: பேராதனைப் பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a state university in Sri Lanka, funded by the University Grants Commission. It is the largest university in Sri Lanka, which was originally established as the University of Ceylon in 1942. The university was officially opened on 20 April 1954 in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The University of Peradeniya hosts nine faculties (including the newly added Management faculty), three postgraduate institutes, 10 centres, 73 departments, and teaches about 12,000 students in the fields of Medicine, Agriculture, Arts, Science, Engineering, Dental Sciences, Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Management and Allied Health Science. It claims to have the largest government endowment by a higher education institution in Sri Lanka, based on its large staff and faculties/departments
Rajarata University of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: රජරට විශ්වවිද්යාලය, Tamil: ரஜரட்ட பல்கலைக்கழகம், abbreviated RUSL) is a public university located in the historic city of Mihintale, near Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. The Rajarata University of Sri Lanka was established as the eleventh University in Sri Lanka and was opened on 31 January 1996 by President Chandrika Kumaratunga.
Over the years, the University has developed to become a centre of excellence in higher education in the North Central Province as well as in Sri Lanka. The academic programs of the RUSL are offered by six faculties namely; Technology, Agriculture, Applied Sciences, Management Studies, Medicine and Allied Sciences and Social Sciences and Humanities. The main administrative complex, the Faculties of Applied Sciences, Technology, Management Studies and Social Sciences and Humanities are located at Mihintale while the Faculty of Agriculture and Faculty of Medicine Allied Sciences are located at Puliyankulama and Saliyapura, respectively
The University of Ruhuna (Sinhala: රුහුණ විශ්වවිද්යාලය, රෝහණ සරසවිය (Ruhuṇa Viśvavidyālaya, Rohana sarasaviya),; Tamil: ருகுண பல்கலைக் கழகம்) is a public university in Matara, Sri Lanka.It is the only university in Southern Sri Lanka (also referred to as the Kingdom of Ruhuna). It was established by a Special Presidential Decree on 1 September 1978 as Ruhuna University College and upgraded to a fully-fledged university on 1 February 1984 by a University order. It is informally known as Ruhuna University or simply Ruhuna.
The University is organised into ten faculties throughout the Southern province of Sri Lanka. Its 72 acres (29 ha) main campus is located in Wellamadama complex in Matara. The faculties of Agriculture and Technology are located in Kamburupitiya (Matara), whilst the faculties of Engineering, Medicine and Allied Health Sciences are located in Galle. Its LKR 4.39 billion financial endowments are used for academic and research purposes of the university. It operates the Ruhuna Library, which is one of the largest academic and research library systems in Sri Lanka. The Ruhuna University Library System is centred in the main library at the Wellamadama main campus and comprises nearly four other libraries holding over 200,000 volumes.
The Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා සබරගමුව විශ්වවිද්යාලය, Tamil: சபரகமுவா பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a public university in Belihuloya, Balangoda, Sri Lanka. It was founded on 20 November 1991 and consists of Eight faculties.
The South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා අග්නිදිග විශ්වවිද්යාලය, Tamil: தென்கிழக்குப் பல்கலைக்கழகம், இலங்கை) (abbreviated SEUSL) is a public university in Oluvil in Sri Lanka. Established in 1995 as a university college, it became a full-fledged university in 1996. The campus is in Oluvil near Oluvil Harbour. It also has faculty in Sammanthurai. The university currently has six faculties (Applied Sciences, Arts & Culture, Islamic Studies & Arabic Language, Management & Commerce, Engineering and Technology). SEUSL offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses that award degrees such as BA, BBA, BCom, BSc and MBA.
The university had 2,237 students and 338 employees in 2010. It is the thirteenth largest university in Sri Lanka in student numbers. In 2009/10 the university admitted 836 undergraduates SEUSL had a recurrent budget of Rs. 277 million and a capital budget of Rs. 121 million in 2010. Its income in 2010 was Rs. 397 million of which 99% was grant from the government in Colombo
The University of Sri Jayewardenepura (also referred to as Jayewardenepura University or USJ ) (Sinhala: ශ්රී ජයවර්ධනපුර විශ්වවිද්යාලය, Tamil: ஸ்ரீ ஜயவர்தனபுர பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a university in Sri Lanka. It is in Gangodawila, Nugegoda, near Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, the capital city. It was formed in 1958 out of the Vidyodaya Pirivena, a Buddhist educational centre which was founded in 1873 by Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera
Uva Wellassa University (abbreviated as UWU) is a Sri Lankan national university. The university was established by government gazette effective 1 June 2005 in Badulla, Sri Lanka as the 14th national university of Sri Lanka. President Chandrika Kumaratunga established the university in 2007. The university was officially opened by Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa on 5 August 2009. It is the first all-entrepreneurial university in Sri Lanka. It is designed to provide essential skills and broad general education for all students while providing the conceptual and methodological background and the training to obtain practical solutions for value addition to the national resources base of Sri Lanka
University of the Visual and Performing Arts (UVPA) (Sinhala: සෞන්දර්ය හා කලා විශ්වවිද්යාලය,Tamil: கட்புல, அரங்கேற்றக் கலைகள் பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a public university located primarily in Colombo, Sri Lanka, specialising in art, design, fashion and the performing arts. It was formerly known as the Government College of Fine Arts, Heywood Institute of Art and the Institute of Aesthetic Studies of the University of Ceylon. It has no known date of foundation, but there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1893. It is the only university in Sri Lanka to exclusively offer special degree programs in visual and performing arts
Wayamba University of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා වයඹ විශ්වවිද්යාලය, Tamil: இலங்கை வயம்ப பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is the thirteenth national university in Sri Lanka. It was established as the Affiliated University College of North Western Province in 1991 and after it was become the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka “Wayamba mandapa” in 1996.It was a full flagged university naming as Wayamba University of Sri Lanka in 1999.The main purpose of the university is offering English-medium degree, diploma and certificate courses (internal and external) in areas such as Agriculture, Applied Science, Management and Technology for students and working professionals. The courses are highly up-to-date and job-oriented.
The Wayamba University of Sri Lanka is headquartered at Kuliyapitiya, Sri Lanka. Its six faculties are in Makandura and Kuliyapitiya. The Faculty of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Business Studies,Finance and Faculty of Technology and Faculty of Medicine were established at Kuliyapitiya. The Faculty of Agriculture and Plantation Management and Faculty of Livestock, Fisheries, and Nutrition are in Makandura.
The Gampaha Wickramarachchi University of Indigenous Medicine (Sinhala:ගම්පහ වික්රමාරච්චි දේශීය වෛද්ය විශ්ව විද්යාලය), is a public university located in Yakkala, Sri Lanka. It was established by Ayurveda Cakrawarti Pandit G.P. Wickramarachchi in 1928 as the Gampaha Sidayurveda Vidyalaya and in 1982 it was incorporated as Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurveda Vidyalaya under the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine. On 4 March 2021, the institute was officialy launched as the 16th University of Sri Lanka by president Gotabaya Rajapaksa
The University of Vavuniya (Sinhala: වවුනියා විශ්ව විද්යාලය, Vavuṉiyā Viśvavidyālaya; Tamil: வவுனியா பல்கலைக்கழகம், romanized: Vavuṉiyā Palkalaikkaḻakam; abbreviated UoV) is a proposed public university in the city of Vavuniya in Sri Lanka. In June 2021, the Government of Sri Lanka announced the creation of a new state university by converting the Vavuniya Campus of the University of Jaffna into the University of Vavuniya. In 1991, the Northern Province Affiliated University College (NPAUC) was established in Vavuniya to offer courses in mathematical sciences, accountancy and finance. A gazette was issued on 26 March 1997 upgrading the NPAUC to the Vavuniya campus of the University of Jaffna
The Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka is a Buddhist university in Homagama, Sri Lanka. It was founded in 1981 and is organized in two faculties.
The objectives that were fundamental to the establishment of the university in the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka Act No. 74 of 1981 as amended by the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka Act No. 37 of 1995:
The training of savants in the Buddhist Doctrine and Discipline for the purpose of the dissemination of Buddhism and nurturing of Buddhist missionary activities in Sri Lanka and abroad.
The promotion of the study of the Pali Language, Buddhist Culture and Buddhist Philosophy in Sri Lanka and abroad, and the enhancement of those studies as befitting the modern world trends.
(a) The training of the student monks and the lay male students to teach Buddhism and Pali Language in the Pirivenas, Schools and in similar institutions.
(b) The provision of facilities to maintain and promote courtesy and civility and mental discipline among the student monks and the lay male students.
(c) Any other matter connected with or ancillary to the above objectives.
The objective of establishing this university is not merely offering degree programmes as it is done in any other national university. This is an institution that has been established, to achieve the aims of disseminating Dhamma in Sri Lanka and throughout the world, to promote the study of Dhamma and Discipline (Vinaya), to provide facilities for monk students and lay students in pirivenas, schools and other such institutions, teaching pali language and it is also expected to assist the monk students.
The subject stream of this university is confined to Buddhist Philosophy, Buddhist Culture, Archaeology, Religious Studies and Comparative Philosophy, Pali, Sanskrit, English and Sinhala. Pali and Buddhist Philosophy or Buddhist Culture is compulsory.
The priority is given to Buddhist monks when selecting students as this is an institution established to uplift, especially, Pali Language studies and Buddhist Studies.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education (Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා උසස් තාක්ෂණ අධ්යපන ආයතනය; Tamil: இலங்கை உயர் தொழில்நுட்ப நிறுவனம்) (also known as SLIATE) is a statutory body in Sri Lanka coming under the purview of the Higher Education Ministry and offering Higher National Diploma courses. At present, it manages and supervises eighteen provincial Advanced Technological Institutes throughout the island. The Institute is traditionally known for its education in the accountancy and engineering. As per the recommendations of the Committee appointed by Prof. Wiswa Waranapala, Deputy Minister of Higher Education in 1994, the Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technical Education (SLIATE) was formed in 1995, under the Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technical Education Act No. 29 of 1995. In 2001 the name of the institution was amended as Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education (SLIATE).
General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) (Sinhala: ජෙනරාල් සර් ජෝන් කොතලාවල ආරක්ෂක විශ්ව විද්යාලය Jenaral Sar Jon Kotalawala Arakshaka Vishva Vidyalaya) located at Kandawala, Ratmalana, Colombo, is a joint services academy where cadets of the three wings Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force are trained before they go for their pre-commission training to their academies. Established in 1980 as the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy, named after General Sir John Kotelawala, 3rd Prime Minister of Ceylon; it was elevated to the status of a university by an amendment bill passed in Parliament on 11 October 2007. In 2018, the parliament of Sri Lanka passed a special provisions act to abolish SAITM Medical faculty and to transfer the students to General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University
The University of Vocational Technology (UoVT) Sinhala: වෘත්තීය තාක්ෂණ විශ්වවිද්යාලය, Tamil: இலங்கை வாழ்க்கைதொழில் தொழிநுட்பவியல் பல்கலைக்கழகம் is established by the parliamentary Act No. 31 of 2008, in 2009 and functions under the purview of the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation . The general objective of the University of Vocational Technology is to provide progressive upward movement to the students in the Engineering Technology Education and Industrial Training System, based on their aptitudes and abilities, to acquire university education.
The University of Vocational Technology hosts four faculties, fourteenth departments, and teaches about 5000 students in the fields of mechatronics, manufacturing, IT(software), IT(Network), IT(Multimedia & Web), food, film and television production, building services technology, construction technology, industrial management and teaching.
Ocean University of Sri Lanka was established in 2014 by an act passed by the Parliament of Sri Lanka. It was earlier called the National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering. The objective of the university is to conduct academic and professional education and vocational training activities in fisheries, marine and nautical engineering to fulfill and develop the needs of the fisheries and allied sector in Sri Lanka.
The Ocean University of Sri Lanka Main Campus is located in Colombo in Crow Island, Mattakuliya, Colombo 15. There are seven regional centers in addition to main campus at Crow Island. They are:
List of Higher Educational Institutes and Degree Awarding Institutes
Several colleges, specialist institutes and private companies are recognised as degree awarding bodies
Aquinas College of Higher Studies
Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka
Institute of Surveying and Mapping
Institute of Technological Studies
National Institute of Business Management
National Institute of Social Development
National School of Business Management Limited (NSBM)
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