Paradigm shift is a significant modification of the core assumptions and methods of experimentation in a scientific discipline. The field of education, at all levels, has undergone tremendous change recently, precipitated by extraordinary demand for high quality and meaningful sustainable education at all levels across the globe. The national education system is segregated into five main categories: primary, junior secondary, senior secondary, collegiate (higher education) and tertiary. In Sri Lanka, basic and higher education levels are compulsory for students; however tertiary education is an optional level. Recent data show that just 20% of students who pass the GCE Advanced Level Test can be admitted into the government university system, leaving the remaining students with few options for higher education. The framework or for determining students' university choice based on their qualifications, talents, demand and supply characteristics, or their willingness to select an appropriate degree program is somewhat non-existent in Sri Lanka's existing educational system. To determine the steps that can be taken for a paradigm shift in higher education, this study aims to highlight the need for one in Sri Lankan post-secondary education while also proposing a relevant conceptual framework. The Marketing Mix Model for Higher Education, Hossler, Kotler and Fox, and the Integrated Complex Decision Model was the framework used to identify the demand pull and supply push factors affecting the university choice in Sri Lanka. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used. The study sample was drawn using stratified sampling technique and clustered into several sub- clusters such as state university, private university, technological campus and vocational Institute. Both descriptive and essential inferential statistics tools were used for the data analysis. This study identified the measures that can be used for a paradigm shift in the tertiary education.
Key words: Paradigm shift, conceptual framework, tertiary education.
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