By Joanne Kotelawala IDP was set up in 1969, on an initiative by AusAid, with the first office being set up in Indonesia. The main goal of IDP is to guide students who are applying to study in Australia. Located in over 29 countries, IDP offices worldwide strive to offer students advice about studying in Australia, [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Australian Education Fair 2013


By Joanne Kotelawala

IDP was set up in 1969, on an initiative by AusAid, with the first office being set up in Indonesia. The main goal of IDP is to guide students who are applying to study in Australia. Located in over 29 countries, IDP offices worldwide strive to offer students advice about studying in Australia, and guide them through the application and enrolment procedure. Once students arrive in Australia, the Australian based offices and staff guide and advise the students on any matters with regards to their student life in Australia.
IDP was setup in Sri-Lanka in 1994, and has been guiding students ever since. Erath Karunaratne, Country Director of IDP, said “Students stand to benefit a great deal by choosing to study in Australia.

The networking opportunities are greater since Australia is in the fastest growing region in the world and majority of international students that you will engage with will come from this region.” said Karunaratne highlighting the benefits of choosing Australia as a study destination. He also added that “the recent upgrade of Sri-Lanka to assessment level 1 in accordance with assessment criteria, also means that once students graduate they are able to work in Australia for a period of two years. Thus you not only gain an international education, but the student can gain valuable work experience from one of the most developed countries in the world. IDP currently assists students who are seeking to travel to Australia for study purposes, they also provide guidance for the students’ parents and dependants in the event they would like to visit Australia.

“IDP maintains a strong relationship with the Australian High Commission, thus we are able to give our clients the best and the correct advice when it comes to visa application. This is reflected in the fact that since 2010, no student who has gone through IDP has been rejected for their visa. This is an achievement that we are very proud of.” added Karunaratne.

Speaking on the Australian Education Fair and the need for it in Sri Lanka, Karunaratne said “There is a huge demand from London A/L and Local A/L students as there is a shortage of study options for the fields of study they are interested to pursue. There is a change in the trend of study areas.

Earlier it was solely business and information technology but now study paths such as engineering, various sciences, and even design options are increasing at a very rapid rate.”

Furthermore students who select Australia as a study destination now have an additional opportunity made available to them.
“Students are able to work for 2 years upon completion of their bachelor’s degrees, this is also applicable to masters degrees, completion of masters by research receives a 3 year work visa, while Ph.D candidates receive a 4 year work visa. This is a significant achievement as it is important for the students to get the correct international exposure once they complete the course of study. The universities maintain close relationships in Sri Lanka and of course this is immensely beneficial for our students and also for the community as a whole.” said Karunaratne.

Speaking further on the significance of the Australian Education Fair, Karunaratne said “We will have about seven representatives of the Group of Eight universities coming in to Sri Lanka. These universities keep returning to Sri Lanka because our students who were part of these universities have done well and been an asset to the university. This exhibition is a good opportunity for students who are planning to study abroad. The major advantage is that direct university staff will be on location, they are able to even communicate and approve admissions for eligible candidates. Scholarships details and opportunities too can be discussed at the same time.” said Karunaratne.

In preparing such an event, IDP also aimed to see an exchange of knowledge taking place between Australia and Sri Lanka. In keeping with this goal, the foreign delegates visited and held discussions with a few universities in Sri Lanka that also brought about discussions on the possibility of hosting visiting lecturers “This is exactly what we need. The exchange of knowledge can open doors to a number of possibilities and this plays a significant role in the path to development. This is also a less expensive means of gaining access to an international education.” added Mr Karunaratne.

The Australian Education Fair is held twice a year with different groups of universities coming in for each fair, this is done in order to ensure that the numbers of universities are maintained at a manageable level and that students gain the most from the fair spanning two days.

Karunaratne stated, “A special feature of the education fair is that the standard university application charge are waived off for all eligible applicants. So students and their families save a significant sum of money through this alone. Furthermore, we provide all applicants with a free photocopy service at the venue and all original copies will be attested by us as well. So the entire process is really made that much more convenient for the students and entrance is free of charge as well. The fair will be opened by the Second Secretary of the Australian High Commission, David Stead. Applicants who come for the fair on opening date would also have the unique opportunity of speaking to representatives from Australian Immigration, who would also be able to guide you and provide accurate information on the application criteria etc.”

What necessary steps should hopeful applicants follow prior to heading towards the Education Fair? Karunaratne said “Students should call IDP on 0112555123 or 0777-616600 and register for the Fair. Through this procedure students are allocated time slots thus minimising the time spent waiting to speak to a university official. Furthermore, students should do a brief online search so that they narrow down their university choices and speak only to the university that caters to their specific needs”.

So, invest some time in to your future and head over to the education fair to meet with leaders in the field of higher education who are dedicated to support your educational aspirations. The Australian Education Fair will be held on the 16 and 17 of February 2013 at the Colombo Hilton Residencies situated at 200, Union Place, Colombo 02. The Fair will be hosted in the Grand Ballroom from 11am till 5pm

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