Sri Lankans are spending around Rs. 15 to Rs.20 billion annually on foreign education. “This amount is a massive drain on the national foreign currency reserves. As a result we have seen the opportunity to have world class universities establish branches here and save this amount from going out of the country,” a top minister said last week.
Speaking at the Australia New Zealand Business Council meeting in Colombo, Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake said the government will restructure the process of setting up these institutions to attract foreign universities into the country and all these establishments will come under the Ministry of Higher Education.
Sri Lanka will become a centre for quality higher education and the government will provide more facilities and a conducive environment. Adding further, the Minister said: “There is a need to regularize and streamline higher education institutions. Six local universities will be upgraded to world class university level meeting required standards.
We are already in line to make Sri Lanka an international centre for education. The country will be in a position to export knowledge. The present learning centered education will be converted to research oriented education”.
In her speech, Australia’s High Commissioner in Colombo Kathy Klugman said “ the Government is carrying out an ambitious education reform agenda and Australia will support these efforts to provide quality education.
It has allocated AU$ 50 million in aid for development including education. Australia has been giving scholarships to Sri Lankan students since the time of the Colombo Plan, and as a result today many successful and highly placed individuals are graduates from Australian Universities.” (CDS)