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© UNICEF/SL/05/Nadaraja/0167

Sri Lanka’s investment since the 1940s in universal access to education from primary school through university has resulted in high rates of enrolment (97.2 percent) and literacy (92 percent). But while access to basic education is good, a number of elements hamper the quality of education received.

  • High drop-out rates and low achievement is common
  • Only small percentages of students have reached mastery levels in numeracy (38%) and their first language (37%)
  • Low standards of teaching - only about 62% of teachers are trained.
  • Extreme regional disparities – 65,000 children in the North and East are out of school
  • Teacher shortages around the country, but most acute in conflict-affected areas of the North and East, with an estimated shortfall of about 5,000 teachers.

© UNICEF / Naoko Imoto

UNICEF’s Learning Years programme aims to assist Sri Lanka’s education system in achieving universal access to basic education for all children and to improving the quality of education in disadvantaged communities, primarily through its Child Friendly Schools (CFS) initiative.



For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection