The Department of Economics, at the University of Colombo, in collaboration with the Ceylon Association of Ships Agents (CASA), this week inaugurated an economics specialisation stream in ‘Transport Economics and Commercial Shipping.’
The university said the degree programme is geared to fill the demand gap for professionals in the shipping sector. Sri Lanka’s ports and shipping sector is ear marked for rapid growth over the coming years driven by increased government investments in commercial ports.
“This special degree programme is very important because now the war is over and there are several ports being developed. Our ports will have economic value because of our special location.
When ports are developed we must also have competent people to work in these areas,” said the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Professor Kshanika Hirimburegama, speaking at the launch of the degree programme.
The specialised degree is also expected to increase employability of Sri Lankan graduates. “At least 3 or 4 ports will be built in Sri Lanka in the coming years. So students following a special stream like this should be able to get employment in both the private sector and the state sector and even internationally. So this study stream is very important for employability of graduates,” said the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Indralal De Silva.
The specialised degree programme is a pubic private partnership with direct practical inputs from the CASA. CASA officials said it would will bring in corporate inputs in to the programme through lectures, industrial placements and by specifying what is required from the graduates at the point of passing out.
Sri Lanka’s transport and logistics services, in total, are estimated to account for about 15% of national GDP and are estimated to have 1.5 million direct jobs. However, Sri Lanka is very short of graduates in the sector.