The Young Researchers
‘a degree for sale’, a reflection of the popular Sri Lankan ideology of
perceiving privatehigher educational institutes as
The present research comes under the sub-
theme of ‘Education and Empowerment’ of
the conference and while seeking to give voice to the youth perspectives, it examineschallenges, preoccupations, aspirations and opportunities put forward to the Sri Lankanyouth by private higher education.
The methodology of the present research features a series of semi-structured interviewswith 60 randomly-selected young Sri Lankans between 16-30, of which 37 were femaleand 23 were male. Most of the respondents were from urban and semi-urban areas ofthe western province although other provinces were also represented. The frameworkfor the interview was compiled in English and the interview was originally meant to beconducted in English. However, since some respondents had problems in their Englishlanguage proficiency, I had to conduct some interviews in Sinhalese as well. Theresearch sample seeks to represent a cross-section of the Sri Lankan youth includingschool students, undergraduates/graduates and post-graduate students fromstate/private higher education institutes in Sri Lanka, professionals without universityqualifications, unemployed school leavers and graduates, prospective entrants to SriLankan universities, and prospective clients of private higher educational institutes. Inaddition, as a secondary research option, reference will be made to a selection ofpublished statistics and articles from popular and academic sources. As far as researchlimitations are concerned, it was strongly felt that, that the rural youth was notadequately represented, and due to my limited proficiency in Tamil, I was not able tointerview any monolingual Tamil speakers. As a researcher who believes inmethodological pluralism, I will present and analyse my data both quantative-ly and
qualitatively in an attempt to remain the ‘best’ of both approaches. However, there is a
natural bias for qualitative analysis especially because my sample is relatively small.