A Brief Summary of the Education System in Sri Lanka

Written By: Cudy

17th April 2023

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The Sri Lankan school system has three parts: the Primary, Secondary and the Higher education.

Primary Education consists of Kindergarten (usually for 3-4 years), Junior Primary (usually for 4-5 years) and Senior Primary (usually for 5-6 years). It is free and compulsory and offered to all citizens in the age group 5 to 13.

The medium of education is Sinhala/Tamil. However, English language is a includes a subject. It has made optional at primary level by 2006 amendment to the national policy on education issued by Ministry of Education.

At primary level, school days has three sessions: in morning session classes start at 7:45 and end at 12:30; in afternoon session classes start at 2pm and end at 6pm; and in evening session from 7pm to 9pm.

At least half an hour of break after every two hours of class for both primary schools and secondary schools. Tuition is free at all levels.

Secondary Education starts from grade 7 (or age 13-14) as a continuation of primary education. Secondary Education lasts for 4 or 5 years, depending on the choice of streams, level or course by the student.

There are six main streams: Arts, Commerce (Economics), Science (Biology), Technical Education Development (TED) - to provide skills required for technical occupations;

Technical Education Vocational education course - to give hands-on experience in trades such as carpentry, weaving and welding;

Agriculture - to provide vocational skills to prepare students for rural life; and Technical Education Artificer Course (or TED-A) - to give technical skills in various vocations such as motor mechanics, electrician, and tool and dye maker.

What is the language of instruction?

In Sri Lanka, the language of instruction in schools is mainly Sinhala (73.2%) and Tamil (25%).

How good is the education system in Sri Lanka?

It is considered being one of the best school systems in South Asia. The literacy rate in Sri Lanka is 90%. It has a very high standard of English, and many students from China and India come to study English in Sri Lanka.

How many people are in a classroom?

A typical class in Sri Lanka has about 30-40 students. There are some private schools with smaller classes. Also, they should wear the school uniforms the students at all schools.

How much do Sri Lankan schools cost?

School fees are different for each school depending on the level of education. However, they start at USD 1,000 for primary and secondary. Higher education fees are much higher.

Schools also have associated costs such as school books, uniforms and extra-curricular activities, which can be expensive in Sri Lanka.

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