Several Foreign Universities to establish their Campuses in Sri Lanka
Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education said that Sri Lanka will get about ten Foreign Universities under the initiative being taken by the Ministry to expand tertiary education.
Bangkok based Asian Institute Technology will be among them, and this Institute (AIT) is expected to set up a campus in Hambantota in the Southern Sri Lanka. India's Manipal University is to set up a campus near Negombo, north of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo.
The government is offering land and tax incentives for well recognized international higher education institutes to set up campuses in Sri Lanka as a measure to prevent massive outflow of foreign exchange by the wealthy students proceeding to obtain their studies in foreign universities and to increase the opportunity for local students to gain university educations.
Dr. Navaratne said the government was in advanced talks with about 10 institutes and relevant legislation was in the final stages of being drafted. He said some institutions were getting land and others were going on their own. The officials of the Ministry of Higher Education is to have discussions with Treasury officials about refining public policy on education.
The Chief Executive Mr. Manish Malhotra of the Australian Technical and Management College (ATMC), an institute that works as an education delivery service for University of Ballarat in Australia has said it was also in talks to set up fully-fledged campus in Sri Lanka. He has said that it is their long term goal that after a couple of years they will have a fully fledged campus in Sri Lanka. ATMC has already started a 'study centre' in Colombo to enroll fulltime students for the University of Ballarat in Colombo.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor Rowena Coutts of Ballarat University has said that the University also welcomes the opportunity to have a facility with ATMC in Sri Lanka and the university will also make sure that facilities were equivalent to facilities in Australia.
Meanwhile the Minister of Higher Education Mr. S B Dissanayake, who was a member of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent tour to China has said that China's Beijing State University, London School of Fashion were also in talks with the government to set up campuses in Sri Lanka.
The Minister has said that while the country welcome foreign Universities establishing campuses in Sri Lanka they should ensure that they allocate 20% of their seat allocations to Sri Lankan students.
Academics, politicians and political commentators have welcomed the initiatives being taken by the Minister Dissanayake to revamp the higher education sector of Sri Lanka, including setting up of Foreign Universities in the country, with the objective of making Sri Lanka a knowledge hub of Asia.
Only the dogmatic Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has opposed the move since Universities were their launching pads for agitations for the last several years, and their thuggish followers remaining in the Universities as student leaders without appearing for exams for several years and thereby getting their student term extended were forcibly using the students to participate in their anti government agitations.
Several innocent students have got killed by these agitations and the JVP student union activists have even killed some innocent students for their refusal to concede to their demands.
- Asian Tribune -