Criticism of Higher Education in Sri Lanka

Z score
Due to the limited intake into state universities, admissions are based on the student's rank order on average Z Scores obtained by candidates at the GCE Advanced Level to replicate a district basis representation. The top students from urban and rural districts get the chances of having tertiary education. However, top students who got qualified under the minimum Z Scores requirements for admissions from remote districts may get in with relatively lower marks than those from urban districts. As a result, many students who are not granted admission find other means of higher education.

Graduate unemployment
Sri Lanka has a large number of unemployed graduates numbering 43,000 in 2017. Low economic growth, limited vacancies in public sector as well as unemployable skill set of graduates who have studied aesthetics subjects, while there is a major shortage of technical knowledge. Calls for reform of the university system has been called for to address these issues and the successive attempt to grant government jobs to these graduates mainly in teaching.

ragging has been widespread in Sri Lankan universities. Certain student groups such as the IUSF uses ragging as a means of attracting a following among more backward students. Student groups claim that ragging served as a social equalizer in the universities. But with the emergence of JVP-backed student unions such as IUSF, ragging has served primarily to ensure the continuing domination of JVP political power within the universities, academics suggest with several student death associated to it.

Academic standards
The academic standards of Sri Lankan universities have been questioned as they fare extremely low in international rankings with the University of the Colombo ranked 801 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 8 in South Asia.