Govt in bid to woo foreign students

By Chandani Kirinde

Along with the major overhaul in the country’s higher education sector with the entry of private universities by April next year, Government plans to attract about 10,000 foreign students into local universities, and another 50,000 into Sri Lanka through the proposed private universities.

In 2010, there were 307 foreign students studying in Sri Lanka. It is expected to increase this number to 12,000 by 2015, and to 50,000 by 2020, according to projections by the Department of National Planning, in its development policy framework for Sri Lanka.

Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayaka said that the first foreign universities will begin operating by April next year. Among the 15 foreign higher education institutions that have shown interest in opening branches in Sri Lanka are Monash University of Australia and Manipal University of India.
The Government says that private universities will absorb local students leaving the country for higher education abroad and protect foreign exchange savings and earnings.

“Degree granting institutions and private universities will operate side by side in collaboration with State universities under the surveillance of State laws,” the Report said. The formulation of necessary laws to regulate the private sector higher educations sector is now under way.

The Government also has set its sights on transforming three local universities viz, Universities of Colombo, Moratuwa and Peradeniya to be among the top 250 such institutes in the world. They are presently ranked 2185, 2198 and 3005 respectively.

The improvements to these institutions will be through performance oriented policy reforms, improving the quality of the academic programmes, teaching and administrative staff and upgrading learning resources.

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