Online Learning in Sri Lanka’s Higher Education Institutions during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sri Lanka made a remarkable, quick shift to online tertiary education after all educational institutions were forced to closein March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to online surveys of university administration, faculty, and students in June 2020, nearly all faculty tried online education,and close to 90% of students participated in online education despite a lack of experience and training. This level of access to online education is comparable to developed countries like Japan, and impressive digital transformation took place with little difference by gender, and by state or nonstate higher education institution. However, data varied by discipline, university, and household income. While the dataset does not show a large difference between urban and rural areas, access to online education is likely to differ considering uneven internet access. With the gradual university reopening in July 2020, the initial lessons learned will facilitate another transition from online education to blended learning.

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