Based mainly on a study of newspaper adverts for qualifications and tuition courses in Sri Lanka over a period from 1965 to 2000, this paper describes a decentralisation of control over the supply of qualifications. It is argued that this has occurred not through a deliberate policy mechanism to decentralise qualifications, but rather by default, through the more general liberalisation of the economy since 1978. Interviews and documentary analysis indicate that at the beginning of the period under study, education and qualifications in Sri Lanka were largely under the control of the state. However, by the end of the period of study, control over the provision of various qualifications rests with diverse bodies - foreign and domestic, public and private. This constitutes a de facto decentralisation in education and qualification provisions in Sri Lanka, notwithstanding the absence of education policy-making to this effect.
Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education (2005) 35 (2) 181-191 [DOI: 10.1080/03057920500129825]