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Sunday, 19 August 2012

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Skilled workforce, UNIVOTECís aim


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The main objective of setting up the University of Vocational Technology (UNIVOTEC) at Ratmalana in 2008 was to meet the demand for a skilled educated work force, said UNIVOTEC Vice Chancellor Prof. Kapila G. A. Gunasekera.


Vice Chancellor Kapila G.A. Gunasekera

He said that the University of Vocational Technology offers a lateral entry for those with middle level technological qualifications either to proceed with further studies to obtain a degree in Technology or in Education Technology.

Excerpts of the interview the Sunday Observer had with Vice Chancellor Prof. Kapila Gunasekera.

Q: How does the UNIVOTEC University differ from other Universities in Sri Lanka?

A: In most countries including Sri Lanka tertiary education is accessible through three different systems the conventional or traditional systems, the open and distance learning, commonly known as Distance Education and Competence based learning.

While the first two systems are well-established in Sri Lanka through the 15 conventional universities, degree awarding institutes and other higher education institutions together with the Open Universityís Open and Distance learning programmes the advent of the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) framework was opened the path to Vocational Technology Degrees from the UNIVOTEC.

Q: Could you brief on Univotecís vision and what it offers?

A: Its vision is to be the leading university providing technical and vocational Education for all with the facilities to achieve professional excellence.

It also offers lateral entry for those with middle level technological qualifications either to pursue further studies to obtain a degree in technology or a degree in education technology.

Q: What are the entry qualifications for UNIVOTEC?

A: The nine colleges of technology functioning under the Department of Technical Education and Training provide the eligibility requirements for the Vocational University.

The National Vocational Qualifications Framework of Sri Lanka (NVQSL) is the key element in the government initiative of unifying Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) in Sri Lanka.

The NVQSL framework provides avenues for upward mobility from craft to technician and for the technician to pursue higher education levels.

Q: What are the ongoing degree programs?

A: The University conduct six Bachelor of Technology degrees, namely B. Tech in Mechatronics Technology, B. Tech in Building Services Technology, B. Tech in Manufacturing Technology, B. Tech in ICT Network Technology B. Tech in ICT Software Technology and B. Tech in Information & Communication Technology, Multimedia and Web technology. The other two degree programs are Bachelor of Education Technology (BED TEC) and Bachelor of Education Technology English language Teaching Degrees.

Q: Could you justify the need for the University of Technology and University of Vocational Technology?

A: Developing countries such as Sri Lanka need both types, one essentially for research design and development and the other for practical applications production and field work.

Sri Lanka was fulfilled the long left need in establishing UNIVOTEC non-traditional university much needed to meet the development challenges.

Q: Sri Lanka needs a skilled workforce for new fields such as the booming tourism sector, where there are over 100,000 hands for the hospitality trade. Have you looked into these new avenues?

A: Diploma and certificate programs will be conducted for the school leavers who sat for the GCE O/level and GCE A/level examinations and the students who failed admission to State Universities.

The graduate have great potential in them to conduct research in technical education. Their skills could be harnessed to fulfil the needs of the country or seek greener pasture.

Q:  A short film and documentary festival and a competition for youth were organised recently. What was the outcome of this event?

A: The short films and documentaries produced by the youth have exposed their talent talents.

The award ceremony and festival will be held on Friday (August 24) at Tarangani Hall under the patronage of Youth and Skilled Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma.

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