The pioneering work of the Graduate School of Management (GSM) to offer the first international PhD program in business and management in collaboration with the Open University Malaysia is a unique step towards developing Sri Lanka as a knowledge-hub in Asia, the Minister of Petroleum Industries Mr. Susil Premajayanth said at a colorful launching ceremony held at the Waters Edge on Wednesday. Developing strong, independent private institutions insulated from public pressure, the Minister stressed, would help develop a new tradition of institutional autonomy and academic freedom in the entire higher education sector.
While welcoming the rare event of launching the Open University Malaysia’s twin-degrees of PhD and MBA through GSM in Sri Lanka, the Minister pointed out that a mixed system of public and private universities will afford important benefits to students, faculty and society at large.
Speaking at the event, Senior Vice-President of Open University Malaysia (OUM) Prof. Mansor Fadzil expressed OUM’s deep satisfaction about the wide response received from the business community of Sri Lanka to its offer of higher degrees. The OUM has over 90,000 students in Malaysia and its international centers in seven countries. Ranked as the 10th popular university among the 65 universities in Malaysia and a recognized university of the Commonwealth, OUM strives to promote research and publications through international collaboration. Sri lanka is seen as a partner country that welcomes comparative studies in economy, governance, and social integration.
The Graduate School of Management, organized under the direction of Professor Gunapala Nanayakkara is expected to set high standards for private sector education. Prof. Nanayakkara who is now retiring from the University, is expected to introduce the much needed educational discipline and international standards in the private sector of Sri Lanka. Addressing the event, GSM Chairman of the Board Dr. Ranjith Cabral said that the new doctoral degree program will be unique and historical for three reasons: It will have international teams of research supervisors, an international study component overseas, and intensive exposure to corporate business practice in East Asia. Thus, it will be the first of its kind in this country.
Answering questions from the Media, GSM Managing Director Dhanushka Nanayakkara
pointed out that the MBA and PhD degree at GSM are differentiated from others in terms of their mandatory study component overseas which is covered by the tuition fees; international team of academic faculty; focus on professional skills; personal attention given to individual learning needs; excellent learning facilities provided by GSM at the World Trade Center; and access to a world-class electronic library.There were nearly 80 potential applicants attending the launch and the press conference. Among the speakers were Dr. Ariff S. Juhari, OUM’s Program Director, Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, Provincial Director of Health, Dr. Kithsiri Edirisinghe, Managing Director of IIHS, and Dr. Ron Ahmed, IMD, Bangladesh, who is also a Director of GSM.