Reputed Indian degrees would cost less in Sri Lanka
Students would be able to follow courses offered by a reputed Indian University in Sri Lanka shortly at a cost much lesser than travelling to India if one was to follow similar courses there.

This facility has been made possible following the initiative of Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in New Delhi, Mangala Moonesinghe who invited the university to introduce these courses in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Moonesinghe told The Sunday Times this facility will be of immense help to students who are not in a position to travel to India because of the exorbitant cost involved in travelling, board and lodging and course fees taking into account the escalating exchange rates.

Students who aspire to obtain degrees or higher qualifications offered by the Indian University in India could do so in Sri Lanka and travelling from home with expenses being at the bare minimum.

Mr. Moonesinghe said his invitation was somewhat timely as the Indian university was in the process of exploring the possibility of expanding its services to other SAARC countries after gaining the position as one of the recognised educational establishments.

'In Delhi we currently have 400 Sri Lankan students and with more Lankan students in other parts of India', Mr. Moonesinghe said. He said the business school run by the Education Lanka Institute of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) was rated among the top ten recognised schools.

ICFAI has taken the initiative to establish ICFAI Education Lanka (IEL), a non-profit educational institution in Colombo. The ICFAI this week inaugurated its curricula of courses at a ceremony presided over by Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Undergraduate and Graduate level degree programmes in the fields of Commerce, Business Management and Science and Technology will begin from November at the College premises in Kohuwela.

As an equal opportunity educational institution the fees range between 40,000 and 50,000 a year when compared with some Rs. 220,000 a student would have to pay in Delhi.

The main aim of the IEL is to provide a job-oriented curriculum to ensure steady employment for graduates of the institute. Imparting skills and in depth knowledge in areas like science and Technology, Paramedical Sciences and IT etc., will gradually be introduced to the programme as well.

ICFAI Media Communication Manager R.S. Prasad told The Sunday Times that one of the main benefits would be that courses would cater to the requirements of the local students.

He said the institute goes to the extent of finding placements to the students who complete their courses. IEL's local representative Peter Woodman said initially the institute would have an intake of 500 students with plans to expand it depending on the demand.

He said prospective applicants for any basic degree programme need to be A/L qualified at least, however, work experience too would be taken into consideration.

If found satisfactory at the end of the first year of operations, it is proposed that a College of Science and Technology be established on obtaining a suitable location. This College would offer various Engineering and Technology courses such as Electronics and Communication Engineering, Bio-technology and Computer Science and Engineering.

ICFAI also has plans to promote an up market Business School and a Teacher Training Institute. The training courses commence on November 8 with foundation courses in soft skill development and allied subjects.

The ICFAI University represents the multi state network of Universities sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India. It confers degrees at Bachelor, Master and Doctoral levels in the areas of Finance, Banking, Insurance, Accounting, Law, Management, IT, Arts, Commerce, Education and Science and Technology. Presently, these educational programmes are some of the most reputed and recognised programmes in India.

ICFAI publishes many books and journals and currently has a subscriber base of more than 25,000. They intend to make many of these books available to the academic community in Sri Lanka through suitable tie-ups. This could eventually result in the creation of a locally based, knowledge resource centre as well.

Depending on the success of this institute in Colombo, the IEL expects to branch out island-wide especially to Kandy, Galle, Trincomalee and Anuradhapura.

An important feature is that the IEL would be under the umbrella of the ICFAI and this institute is just the first step towards the making of a more integrated higher educational infrastructure.

The overall objective is to set up a comprehensive University with multi-disciplinary educational programmes in higher education.

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