After O/Ls – What Next?

Jun 02 2024.

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A good education is vital today. Whilst many students opt to go to university or do other tertiary educational courses, there are others who choose to do courses that are perhaps less formal but still stand them in good stead and provide them with good employment opportunities. As higher education becomes expensive and also a good business, with thousands of institutions offering various courses, it is up to parents and students to do their homework and choose legitimate institutes wisely.

Years ago, one was expected to sit for her/his O/L s followed by A/Ls before embarking on a degree if one so chose to. Now, however, this is no longer a requirement with Foundation Courses and a variety of other courses available to students who wish to leave school after  O/Ls. In addition, a variety of great Online courses can also be found. This is also good news for students who don’t fare well in either exam as it offers hope and gives options that were once not available.

According to recent newspaper reports, the government also plans to commence Vocational Training Programmes for students who have sat the O Levels. Some courses available that offer good career possibilities, include Graphic Designing and Hospitality courses. “I feel the new world will really be for those who are not ‘EDUCATED’ in the manner by which education is conducted today.

Artificial Intelligence is upon us and earlier educational syllabuses are no longer feasible. One never knows when robots are going to successfully handle present careers. Doctors, Architects, Accountants and Engineers will become redundant by the way. I would therefore suggest careers that need the human touch,” said Goolbai Gunasekara, Founder and Principal of Asian International School, Educationist and Author. “At the moment high earners are the Air Conditioner repairers, plumbers, carpenters, gardeners, house repairers and other such like persons. Try booking their services these days! You cannot. They are booked weeks in advance and if they are well trained, there is financially very worthwhile work for them. They can be earning more than a government doctor or even a private one.”

She adds, “So I would suggest technologically based vocational courses for youngsters of the future. Of course, careers in Music are a thought. Expensive of course but human talent is on display and will always attract attention. Careers in the disciplines earlier mentioned….all the high earners of today…… may be of no value when there is Artificial Intelligence doing a better job... A frightening future isn’t it?”

Hairdressers and beauticians too seem to be much in demand these days. For Instance, the Institute of Hairdressers and Beauticians IHB offers education systems to academies and supports the trainers to provide the training as per the IVQ levels IHB follows. IHB training is 80% practical skill training and the students are offered the much-needed salon training experience when applying for foreign employment.

Parents who wish for their children to set a career path in hairdressing, beauty therapy or similar personal care industry, can enrol their children for IHB programmes after O levels. “The investment for the initial Diploma courses can be compared to a commitment to a degree programme at a college or university. Thereafter, the student will be employed and further education on advanced Diploma, Management and Degree level training could be completed by the students while being employed. IHB encourages the students to further enhance their knowledge by following programmes on Digital Marketing, Marketing, Finance, HR, and Cosmetic Science etc, which are included in the IHB Management level programmes,” says Nayana Karunaratne, Chairperson of IHB.

Their Diplomas offered range from Beauty Therapy to Nail Enhancement. The Ladies’ College Institute of Professional Studies offer courses such as the Diploma in Pre-School and Sub Primary Education, the Diploma for Executive Secretaries and Personal Assistants and the Certificate Course in Secretarial Studies among others. Minimum qualifications to do some of these courses are 6 Passes in O/ Ls including Math and English for the Preschool Diploma and the English Placement Test for the others.

PolyCampus which is a joint venture between Polytechnic Pvt Ltd and Edlocate Pvt Ltd also offer a variety of courses such as the  Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE), accredited and awarded by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka (TVEC). This means that it is a nationally recognised NVQ level 5 Diploma. The entry qualification for the NVQ level 5 Diploma is 3 Advanced Level passes OR a Certificate NVQ Level 4 course in Early Childhood Care and Development Teacher. Therefore, students who do not have their A/Ls can first enrol for the NVQ Level 4 Certificate Course at PolyCampus with an entry requirement of Ordinary Level, and then progress to NVQ Level 5.

PolyCampus students with an NVQ Level 5 Diploma, will then have a guaranteed pathway to complete their Bachelor’s in ECE degree at UniSA (South Australia) with a one-year exemption. The course includes Bridging programmes to UniSA. Other courses offered include a PolyCampus Certificate Course in Special Educational Needs, a Diploma in Information Technology and Cyber Security and a Certificate Level course in Information Technology. There are thousands of institutions offering a variety of courses. Parents should do a good background check and look at referrals from former students as well as go through the content of the course offered before deciding on an institution. 

By Kshalini Nonis


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