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

Qualitative analysis

  • Veronica Kurukulaarachchi Faculty of Humanities & Education, CINEC Campus, Malabe, Sri Lanka
  • Lakshmi Ranwala Faculty of Management & Social Science, CINEC Campus, Malabe, Sri Lanka
  • K.A.P. Siddhisena Department of Demography, Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Sampath Siriwardena Faculty of Management & Social Science, CINEC Campus, Malabe, Sri Lanka
  • Lalih Edirisinghe Faculty of Management & Social Science, CINEC Campus, Malabe, Sri Lanka
Keywords: tertiary education, demand and supply side, paradigm shift, qualitative study


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.

Author Biography

Lalih Edirisinghe, Faculty of Management & Social Science, CINEC Campus, Malabe, Sri Lanka

Professor Edirisinghe commenced his career in 1981 as a Cadet in Merchant Navy. He counts 40 years work experience in the corporate sector including Ceylon shipping Corporation and Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, National Water Supplies and Drainage Board, and in the private sector, Associated Newspapers of Sri Lanka (Lake House), and three leading shipping lines namely, UASC, MOL and SCI. He is an Expert Consultant appointed by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). He is the author of first ever textbooks on Logistics and Shipping  written in Sinhala introducing many theoretical models and developed new theories and concepts in transport.

 Professor Edirisinghe has published nearly hundred research papers in local and international journals, conferences, and industry publications. He won four vital awards namely, Best Research in Ports & Shipping 2016 by Sri Lanka Society for Transport & Logistics (SLSTL); National Merit award for Scientific Research in 2018, by the National Research Council, Sri Lanka; Best Research paper 2019 in Japan by World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, and Best Research Paper 2021 by Garden City University, India.


He holds a PhD, in Transportation planning and Logistics Management from the Dalian Maritime University, China affiliated to World Maritime University, Sweden. He is a Chartered Logistician and Chartered Marketer and a certified Competent Leader (CL) and Competent Communicator (CC) of  the Toastmaster International. Professor Edirisinghe is a past Vice President and office bearer of the Sri Lanka Society of Transport and Logistics, University of Moratuwa, past secretary of Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Sri Lanka chapter. He served as the project Chair of the first ever National Logistics Awards 2018 organized by Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Sri Lanka and currently serves as the Chairman of the Panel of Judges in the National Logistics Awards 2022 organised by the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders Association.

 Prof. a past student and a Prefect Teacher of Ananda College, Colombo and at present, he is the Dean of Faculty of Management and Social Sciences and the Head of Higher Education Society Linkage Cell (A World Bank project)  of CINEC Campus. CINEC and Professor Lalith Edirisinghe were instrumental in establishing Logistics as a part of school curriculum in Sri Lanka and declaring a National Day in Sri Lanka for Logistics in consultation with the Ministry of Transport. His current research under the World Bank AHEAD project is “Development of  a  Mechanism  that  Leads  to  a  Psychological  Paradigm  Shift  in  Student’s Demand  and  Enrolment  for  Various  Academic  Disciplines  in  the  Tertiary  Education  in  Sri Lanka”


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