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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2613

For the first time, vocational training in Sri Lanka to be affiliated with a prestigious Swedish University

Stockholm, 05 November, (Asiantribune.com): Piyasena Gamage, Minister of Vocational and Technical Training met with Prof. Torsten H. Fransson at the University of Royal Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden and held discussions on Monday, 03rd November, 2008 to expand the existing Technical Diploma Education to a graduate level expanding opportunities for the students who are unable to enter into universities in Sri Lanka. The new University of Vocational Technology in Colombo, Sri Lanka is to commence in the beginning of 2009.

Ambassador Ranjith Jayasooriya also joined with the Piyasena Gamage for the discussions with Prof. Fransson and Prof. Andrew Martin at the University.Piyasena Gamage, Minister of Vocational and Technical Training met with  Prof. Torsten H. Fransson at the University of Royal Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. Also in the picture seated left to Sri Lankan Minister is Ranjit Jayasooriya Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Sweden, Professor Andrew Martain and Sunitha Rao Translator Secretary of Sri Lanka EmbassyPiyasena Gamage, Minister of Vocational and Technical Training met with Prof. Torsten H. Fransson at the University of Royal Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. Also in the picture seated left to Sri Lankan Minister is Ranjit Jayasooriya Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Sweden, Professor Andrew Martain and Sunitha Rao Translator Secretary of Sri Lanka Embassy

For the first time in Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training is planning to expand the Technical (Diploma) Education to a Graduate (Degree) level giving opportunities to students who are unable to enter universities after competitive high school (G.C.E Advance Level) Examination and drop out students before G.C.E.(A.L.) Examination.

The newly established University of Vocational Technology in Colombo expects to admit students who have completed the Diploma Level Technical Studies in the main Technical Collages in nine Provinces in Sri Lanka. The University will start at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009.

Professor Fransson discussed with Director General, Dr. H.L. Obeysekara, Director-General of the Department of Vocational and Technical Training, who was also connected through a Conference Call for the discussion. Dr. Obeysekara explained that the aim of this meeting is to establish cooperation between the KTH (the University Of Royal Institute Of Technology) and the newly established University of Vocational Technology.

Dr. Obeysekara said that the new University needs help with educating the students who already have practical experience. He said that he wished that Prof. Fransson develop a special programme for the teachers at the Colleges of Technology in nine Provinces. There are currently 95 instructors (teachers) at the Colleges of Technology in the nine Provinces. The typical profile of the teachers is that they have a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering.

Prof. Fransson said that the KTH could offer a 2 years Master’s Programme to the teachers of Provincial Technical Collages at the KTH University and such teachers (as KTH students) would then be registered at the Open University in Colombo. Another scenario would be that such students would get a tailored programme of a shorter period than 2 years, but then they would not receive the Master’s Diploma.

Prof. Fransson further said it is very important that such students are able to dedicate their full time to their Master’s studies. The students will be in Sri Lanka and will be contacted by KTH teachers by remote mode (online education through conferences). The students could then come to Stockholm in the summer for laboratory courses. He said that there should also be at least one pedagogical course included in the course.

Regarding the funding of the project, Prof. Fransson said that there will not be a tuition fee as of now, but that this might change depending on if the Government of Sweden changes the rules. However, the pedagogical training is not free of charge. If the students are to be enrolled by next year, 2009, the programme in Sweden starts in the middle of August or beginning of September. Students would have to apply by latest 15th April 2009. Prof. Fransson said that a good idea would be to have some project work so that the students can apply their knowledge directly in their teaching.

Prof. Fransson said that the class should ideally consist of 20 – 30 students and that he would need to see the layout of the general model that Dr. Obeysekara has envisioned. According to Prof. Fransson, there needs to be a pre-screening of the potential students and such students should be highly qualified. Prof. Fransson further said that the KTH requires information on the programmes which are expected to be followed by the teachers.

Further, Prof. Fransson suggested that there should be a Programme Manager and the Hon. Minister was of the view that Dr. Obeysekara would be the suitable person for the Post of Programme Manager.

Both Prof. Fransson and Dr. Obeysekera agreed to exchange on-line material between KTH and the University of Vocational Technology in Colombo. Prof. Fransson further said that it is important to identify the main requirements of the students, i.e. what knowledge the students should acquire. He also said that if the University wants to be successful and internationally competitive, there is a need for PHD students. Prof. Fransson explained about similar programmes existing internationally such as country like Malaysia.

Prof. Andrew said that it is extremely important that the students (teachers of Provincial Technical Collages) will be able to focus entirely on their studies; as such their lecturing time at the Provincial Technical Colleges must be minimized.

It was decided that Prof. Fransson will be in touch with Dr. Obeysekara or the Secretary of the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training regarding further details.

All were pleased with the meeting, and both parties were of the view that the prospects for collaboration are very good.

- Asian Tribune -

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