Development of a Mechanism That Leads to a Psychological Paradigm Shift in Students’ Demand and Enrolment for Various Academic Disciplines in the Tertiary Education in Sri Lanka: Qualitative Analysis
Creating a psychological paradigm shift in students’ demand and enrolment for various academic disciplines in the tertiary education in Sri Lanka is important since it is vital for not only for students but also for other stakeholders explicitly employers, community, and government as this paradigm shift provides creative and adoptable graduate. However, those who enter to government universities after a very competitive selection process in Sri Lanka are compelled to be unemployed mainly due to mismatch of employers’ perspectives in the modern world against the skills and competence they developed in the tertiary education. It is therefore timely, to develop a mechanism that leads to a psychological paradigm shift in students’ demand and enrolment for various academic disciplines in the tertiary education in Sri Lanka. Objectives of the study are to explore the student demand side aspects for various academic disciplines and to explore the student supply side expectations for various academic disciplines in Sri Lanka. This qualitative study applied purposeful sampling technique and employers, executives and academics in state and non-state higher education institutes participated in the study and data collection techniques were interviews and other secondary documents. Study revealed that new graduates have issues with the practical skills, attitude problems and soft skills. Many employers, neither possess a mechanism to match graduates’ skills and background to their job and responsibilities nor participation in curriculum revision in institutes. Consequently, a few employers involve with curriculum revision, and this might lead to mismatch of curriculum with demands of existing labour market demands. Only some parents have a clear understanding of their child about selecting the best pathway that suits their strengths and weaknesses. Study concluded that for the improvement of the tertiary education, students’ needs to gain and focus more on practical aspects of education, purposeful learning experience and experiential learning. Moreover, not only knowledge but also attitudes and skills of the graduates should be developed.
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