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A Visit to the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission

4th Decembre 2017

This year St. John’s turned its focus towards obtaining the accreditation for two vocational courses namely, Building Career Skills, an English Enrichment Course and Computer Hardware Technician.

On 29th May 2017, the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission granted its accreditation to St. John’s College Continuing Education to conduct Building Career Skills (first accreditation granted to St. John’s to conduct a course offered by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission) and on 26th July 2017, the Director General of the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission certified that the course on ‘Computer Hardware Technician’ conducted by St. John’s Academy and School of Technology has been accredited after it was found that the course fulfils the requirements of the National Competency Standards.

With the institute registration and course accreditation in hand, the Principal of St. John’s College, the Rev. N.J.Gnanaponrajah, the Director of St. John’s Academy and School of Technology, Mr.S.Gobinath and the coordinators of courses conducted by the two vocational units of the College, Mr. C.A.Pararajasingam and Mr.A.Murugananthan paid a visit to the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission located at 354/2 Elvitigala Mawatha, Narahenpitiya, Colombo 5.

Meeting Mrs. Chandrani Premaratne , Director – Quality Assurance & Assessment Regulation Division

Mrs. W.A.W.Chandrani Premaratne was the first person the team from St. John’s met, on the dot at 9 o’clock. They were later joined by Ms. G.Jayamini Udawattha, Programme Coordination Officer.

Mrs. Chandrani and Ms.Jayamini were very helpful. The former had the following to say:

  • Students taking Building Career Skills along with a trade course will be assessed by an assessor. They will have only VIVA.
  • Students taking trade courses will have only practical exams.
  • Students taking Building Career Skills as the main course will have to face VIVA and also sit for a written exam.
  • Building Career Skills exams have been scheduled for January. The dates have not yet been finalised.
  • Meet Mr Chammika Gunathilaka to get the online registration facilities. This needs to be filled when a new batch commences.
  • Send all the necessary documents including separate Assessment Request Forms in a CD (plus hard copies) for the three batches of students who have followed Building Career Skills course. Ms. G.Jayamini Udawattha, Programme Coordination Officer, should receive the documents. Alternatively, the documents (in excel worksheets) can be emailed to her or to Mr. Prasanga.
  • Students can sit for the Diploma in English and Education exam after Advancing Career Skills (NVQ4).
  • Delivery part of all the courses including accreditation are handled by Mr. Vajira Perera, Director, Registration Accreditation and QMS Division.
  • Mr. B.M.C.N.Balasooriya, Deputy Director- Academic –English, Development of Technical Education in Sri Lanka, Maradana would be of some assistance.
  • All assessment marks obtained by the students should be above 50. The pass marks in the final examinations is 40.
  • Mr. T.Senthuran, Acting Deputy Director, National Vocational Qualification Division will be able to give the necessary guidance for questions related to the course, ‘Introduction to Working in an Office, NVQ 3.’

Meeting Mr. Chammika Gunathilaka - Acting Deputy Director – Information Systems

Apart from briefing about the new NVQ4 programmes for IT, he had the following to say:

  • One needs to go to the TVEC website and click the tab called NVQ Certificate Holders and in the Vision Mission page, login using the User ID and Password. This is where the students registration must be done. After registration comes the Approval part. Once SJC approves the data on the page, no changes will be allowed in the future. This process need not be done for the two batches of students SJC has already trained. SJC needs to follow this process for the new batch it intakes, one month from the date of course commencement.
  • The Assessment Request Form should be filled and sent the moment all assessments are done. If there is a delay, there will be a delay in having the assessments and this will result in a loss of student confidence in the course and in the course providers.
  • Degrees recognized by the University Grants Commission – accepted up to Level 6
  • NAITA (National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority) or VTA (Vocational Training Authority)should be approached for RPL examinations.
  • No need to get centre accreditation again to teach a new course. A ‘Course Inclusion’ approval would suffice. To do this, one needs to go to the ‘New / Renew Institutes Registration and Course Accreditation Online tab in the home page of the tvec website.
  • The TVEC courses are specially for those who are 16 years and older.
  • A student can follow English and trade course in parallel. A student cannot take two trade courses together as there will be a conflict in the ‘On-the-Job training requirements (OJT).’
  • A/L students (Technology stream) who took ICT as a subject can sit for the entrance exam of the University of Technology in Ratmalana and follow NVQ 5 courses. After that, skipping NVQ 6, they can enroll for NVQ 7 / degree course.

The process according to Mr Chammika - After centre registration, courses begin. Accreditation / Course Inclusion can be done online. Next comes online registration. After sending the Assessment Request Form, Online Approval should be done. Finally comes the QMS (Quality Management System)- a process to ensure Centre Quality.

Logos / emblems of St. John’s College Continuing Education and St. John’s Academy and School of Technology were given to Mr Chammika who promised to forward them to one Miss Dilrukshi who would then set about creating the necessary online accounts. Mr Chammika also took sample signatures of the Principal and the Directors of the Academy and Continuing Education for use in certificates in the future. He promised to send the user name and passwords for NVQ certificate printing when the time comes. Mr. Chammika spent almost one hour of his precious time with his visitors.

Meeting Ms. Nadeera Wijeyagunawardena, Training Development Manager and Secretary to the Chairman

Then the team from St. John’s visited Ms. Nadeera. She briefed about how the English NVQ course progressed:

NVQ 1 – Building Career Skills NVQ 2 – Developing Career Skills NVQ 3 – Working in an Office / Introduction to Care and Counselling NVQ 4 – Advancing Career Skills

The Coordinator for St. John’s College Continuing Education, during the course of the conversation, said that they had been left very much in the dark because they had not been invited to attend any workshops in the past. Ms. Nadeera promised to keep St. John’s informed about future workshops.

We had the following questions for Ms. Nadeera. She promised to get back to us after consulting Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, Chairman of the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission:

  • Doesn’t NVQ 3 Level ‘Working in an Office’ Course lead to a NVQ4 Level Course along similar lines? (Since Working in an Office is a course related to how someone handles the equipment in an office whereas the next stage it leads to is purely English teaching.)
  • Can a person with a Bachelor in Arts or a teacher trained in teaching English take classes for Building, Developing & Advancing Career Skills and Working in an Office?
  • Can the students who followed Building Career Skills for less than the stipulated hours (as the course was conducted for three months irrespective of the hours) sit for the exam this time?
  • Are there any exemptions for students who got good grades in O/L and A/L English and English Literature? Or should everyone climb up the ladder from NVQ1 irrespective of the command of the language they possess? Can’t a student who has got very good grades for English (Literature) in A/L enrol for Advancing Career Skills – since A/L is equal to NVQ 4?/
  • What is the pathway of the English Course up to degree level? /li>
  • Is HNDE equal to an NVQ degree?

Ms. Nadeera was kind enough to give a book on Building Career Skills, Developing Career Skills and Advancing Career Skills to each of the four visitors. Though the meeting went on well, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha was greatly missed.

Meeting Mr. Vajira Perera, Director, Registration Accreditation and QMS Division

The next stop was at the office of Mr. Vajira. The participants of the meeting were later joined by Mr. Wijesinghe, Assistant Director, Registration Accreditation and QMS Division.

Mr. Vajira advised the visitors to make use of the online facility as much as possible – to apply for accreditation etc. He had the following to say:

  • The formalities and procedures for Building Career Skills and other English courses are not so rigid as the requirements of the trade courses.
  • Students’ diary and record books are not a must. The students can make note of what they were taught in a notebook. But this should be in line with the timetable.
  • A/L students (Technology stream) can enroll for NVQ 5 level courses. A/L students from other streams can only start at NVQ 4.
  • He stressed on the need to get QMS in the future. He said one must follow all the workshops and comply with a list of requirements to get the QMS. If the Vocational Commission is happy with the Checklist, after two audits, the institute will be recommended for QMS which will be valid for a period of three years. After three years, the Commission will come for a fresh audit.

Mr. Vajira introduced the Assistant Director, Registration Accreditation and QMS Division, Mr. Wijesinghe.
Mr. T.Senthuran, Acting Deputy Director, National Vocational Qualification Division and Mr. R. Mathan, Assistant Director Industrial Liaison Division were extremely helpful during the visit to the Vocational Commission. So were all the other staff!

The two vocational units operating under St. John’s College are now on a firmer footing with the accreditation in hand.

Both the units have a strong vision for the future and plans are in hand to further improve the standards of the vocational training imparted to be on par with university level.


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