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How To Become An International School Teacher in Sri Lanka?

If you’re interested in becoming an international school teacher in Sri Lanka, you may be wondering where to start and what steps to take. In this article, we will guide you through the pathways, requirements, hiring process, and challenges that you may encounter along the way. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of teaching in Sri Lanka!

iPGCE or iQTS – Pathways and Benefits in Sri Lanka

Before delving into the details, let’s understand the different pathways available for aspiring international school teachers in Sri Lanka. Two popular options are the iPGCE (International Postgraduate Certificate in Education) and the iQTS (International Qualified Teacher Status).

The iPGCE program provides you with a solid theoretical foundation in teaching methodology, while the iQTS program combines theory with practical teaching experience. Both pathways offer great benefits, such as increased employability and professional development opportunities.

With these qualifications, you’ll have a competitive edge in the international teaching job market and gain a deeper understanding of the Sri Lankan education system.

Choosing between the iPGCE and iQTS can be a pivotal decision for your teaching career in Sri Lanka. The iPGCE, with its focus on theoretical knowledge, is ideal for educators looking to enhance their understanding of pedagogy and educational research. On the other hand, the iQTS, with its emphasis on practical teaching experience, equips teachers with the hands-on skills necessary to excel in the classroom.

Moreover, pursuing either qualification can open doors to exciting opportunities beyond Sri Lanka. International schools worldwide value candidates with iPGCE or iQTS certifications, recognising the rigorous training and expertise these programmes provide.

Why become a teacher in Sri Lanka?

Becoming a teacher in Sri Lanka opens up a world of enriching experiences and rewarding career opportunities. Here are a few reasons why you should consider this path:

Sri Lanka, known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” is a land of rich cultural heritage and diversity. By becoming a teacher in this beautiful country, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a vibrant culture that dates back thousands of years. From colourful festivals to ancient traditions, Sri Lanka offers a unique blend of experiences that will broaden your horizons and deepen your understanding of the world.

Furthermore, teaching in Sri Lanka allows you to make a tangible difference in the lives of students. By providing quality education and guidance, you will not only be shaping the future of individuals but also contributing to the development of the nation as a whole. The impact of a dedicated teacher can resonate far beyond the classroom, creating a ripple effect that influences generations to come.

  • Experience a vibrant culture and immerse yourself in the traditions and customs of Sri Lanka.
  • Make a difference in the lives of students by providing quality education and shaping their future.
  • Discover the natural beauty of Sri Lanka, from pristine beaches to lush tea plantations.
  • Expand your professional network by collaborating with educators from diverse backgrounds.
  • Develop your teaching skills and gain valuable international experience.

What qualifications do I need to teach in Sri Lanka?

If you aspire to teach in Sri Lanka, you’ll need to meet specific qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree in education or a related field.
  • Teaching certification or a recognized teaching qualification.
  • Relevant teaching experience, preferably in an international school setting.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Additionally, being adaptable, culturally sensitive, and passionate about education will make you stand out as a candidate.

Teaching in Sri Lanka offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich and diverse cultural environment. The education system in Sri Lanka is a blend of traditional and modern teaching methods, providing teachers with a platform to explore innovative ways of imparting knowledge to students.

Furthermore, Sri Lanka’s education sector is undergoing significant reforms to enhance the quality of teaching and learning. As a teacher in Sri Lanka, you may have the chance to contribute to these reforms and make a positive impact on the future of education in the country. Embracing the local customs and traditions while bringing your own teaching expertise can create a dynamic and fulfilling teaching experience in Sri Lanka.

What’s the hiring process for becoming an international teacher in Sri Lanka?

The hiring process for international teachers in Sri Lanka typically involves the following steps:

  1. Research and select international schools that align with your teaching preferences and professional goals.
  2. Submit an application, including your CV, cover letter, and relevant documents.
  3. Attend interviews, which may be conducted in person or online.
  4. Provide references from previous employers or supervisors.
  5. Complete any necessary paperwork, including visa and work permit applications.

Remember to highlight your qualifications, teaching experience, and enthusiasm for working in Sri Lanka during the application and interview process.

When researching international schools in Sri Lanka, it is essential to consider the school’s curriculum, teaching methodologies, and student demographics. Different schools may follow various educational systems such as the British, American, or International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, so it’s crucial to choose a school that aligns with your teaching philosophy.

Furthermore, gaining an understanding of the local culture and customs can greatly enhance your teaching experience in Sri Lanka. Embracing the rich cultural heritage of the country, including its festivals, traditions, and languages, can help you connect better with your students and colleagues. Additionally, familiarising yourself with the educational landscape of Sri Lanka, such as the national education system and any recent reforms, can demonstrate your commitment to becoming a valuable member of the teaching community in the country.

Living as an international teacher in Sri Lanka

Living in Sri Lanka as an international teacher offers a rich and immersive experience. Here are some things to consider:

  • Accommodation: Many international schools provide housing, allowing you to settle in quickly. Alternatively, you can explore renting a local home or apartment.
  • Cost of living: Sri Lanka offers a relatively affordable cost of living compared to other international destinations. Be mindful of budgeting and take advantage of the local markets for fresh produce.
  • Transportation: Public transportation options like buses and trains are readily available and affordable. Tuk-tuks, a popular mode of transport, can take you around the city.
  • Cultural immersion: Embrace the Sri Lankan culture by learning the local customs, trying traditional cuisine, and participating in festivals.

One of the most enticing aspects of living in Sri Lanka as an international teacher is the country’s stunning natural beauty. From the lush tea plantations in the central highlands to the pristine beaches that line the coast, there is no shortage of breathtaking landscapes to explore during your time off. You can take weekend trips to places like Ella, known for its picturesque train journeys and hiking trails, or head to the ancient city of Anuradhapura to marvel at its historical ruins.

Furthermore, Sri Lanka’s rich history and diverse cultural heritage provide a fascinating backdrop for your teaching experience. You can visit ancient temples such as the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, which houses a sacred relic of the Buddha, or explore the colonial architecture in cities like Galle. By immersing yourself in the country’s past and present, you will gain a deeper understanding of Sri Lanka’s unique identity and traditions, enriching your overall experience as an international teacher.

Cultural Insights for International Teachers in Sri Lanka

As an international teacher in Sri Lanka, understanding the local culture will enhance your teaching experience. Consider the following cultural insights:

When delving into the rich tapestry of Sri Lankan culture, it’s essential to appreciate the significance placed on communal harmony. The concept of unity and togetherness is deeply ingrained in the social fabric of the country, influencing various aspects of daily life, including education. Embracing this communal spirit can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for both you and your students.

  • Respect for elders: Sri Lankan culture places great importance on showing respect towards elders. Demonstrate this in your interactions with students, parents, and colleagues.
  • Religious diversity: Sri Lanka is home to multiple religions, with Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity being the main faiths. Be mindful of religious holidays and customs when planning activities.
  • Punctuality: Sri Lankans value punctuality, so strive to be on time for classes and meetings.

By embracing these cultural nuances, you will foster stronger relationships with your students and colleagues.

Furthermore, immersing yourself in Sri Lanka’s vibrant cultural heritage can significantly enrich your teaching approach. From traditional dance forms like Kandyan dance to the intricate art of traditional mask-making, incorporating elements of the country’s cultural heritage into your lessons can captivate students’ interest and deepen their understanding of the local traditions. By weaving these cultural gems into your teaching, you not only impart knowledge but also instil a sense of pride and appreciation for Sri Lanka’s rich cultural legacy.

Cost of Living in Sri Lanka

As mentioned earlier, the cost of living in Sri Lanka is relatively affordable compared to many other international destinations. Here’s an overview of some common expenses:

  • Accommodation: Renting a furnished apartment or house can cost between £300-£600 per month, depending on the location.
  • Transportation: Public transportation is affordable, with bus fares ranging from £0.10 to £0.20 per journey. Tuk-tuks are a popular mode of transport and can cost around £0.30 per kilometer.
  • Groceries: A monthly grocery bill for a single person would average around £100, depending on personal preferences.
  • Dining out: Local restaurants offer delicious meals at prices ranging from £2 to £5 per person.

Remember to account for additional expenses such as utilities, healthcare, and entertainment when creating your budget.

Popular International Schools in Sri Lanka

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, let’s explore some popular international schools in Sri Lanka:

  • Colombo International School
  • The British School in Colombo
  • Asian International School
  • Elizabeth Moir School
  • Gateway College Colombo

These schools offer high-quality education, excellent facilities, and a supportive learning environment for both students and teachers.

Challenges for International Teachers and How to Overcome Them in Sri Lanka

While teaching in Sri Lanka can be a rewarding experience, there are challenges that you may face. Here are some common challenges and tips to overcome them:

  • Cultural adjustment: Embrace cultural differences and take the time to understand and respect Sri Lankan traditions.
  • Language barrier: Learn basic Sinhala or Tamil phrases to facilitate communication and connect with students.
  • Classroom management: Establish clear expectations and rules from the start to create an organized and engaging learning environment.
  • Adapting to the curriculum: Familiarize yourself with the Sri Lankan curriculum and collaborate with local teachers to exchange ideas and teaching strategies.

By embracing these challenges as opportunities for growth, you’ll thrive as an international teacher in Sri Lanka.


Now that you have a roadmap to becoming an international school teacher in Sri Lanka, it’s time to take the first step. Explore the pathways, acquire the necessary qualifications and experience, and navigate the hiring process with confidence. As you embark on this exciting journey, remember to embrace the rich culture, overcome challenges, and make a lasting impact on the lives of your students. Teaching in Sri Lanka offers a unique blend of professional development and personal fulfillment that you won’t find elsewhere. So, seize this opportunity and embark on a truly transformative teaching experience in the beautiful land of Sri Lanka!

Take the Next Step with IPGCE

Ready to transform your teaching career and embrace the opportunities that await in Sri Lanka? Join the UK’s #1 Teacher Training Course, the International Postgraduate Certificate in Education (iPGCE), and overcome the barriers that hold many aspiring international educators back. With the iPGCE, you’ll enhance your qualifications, connect with a global professional community, and gain a deep understanding of international curricula. This flexible online program is your key to unlocking a 50% increase in interview callbacks, a 45% boost in promotion rates, and a significant salary increase. Don’t let inadequate credentials or isolation limit your potential. Join the IPGCE program today and set yourself on a path to success in the international teaching arena.

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