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 Supplement - EDUCATION  

 The future is another country

JUST a few decades ago, students at universities outside their home countries formed a tiny elite. Some gained scholarships with famous names like Rhodes or Fulbright; others were sent by governments, grooming them for top jobs in academia or public service. A few were born to cosmopolitan parents who searched for the best schooling money could buy.

That picture has changed. The 20th century saw a surge in higher education; in the early 21st century, the idea of going abroad to study has become thinkable for ordinary students. In 2006, the most recent year for which figures are available, nearly 3m were enrolled in higher education institutions outside their own countries, a rise of more than 50% since 2000.

One reason is the growth of the global corporation; ambitious youngsters sense that a spell studying abroad will impress multinational employers. But for school-leavers in the developing world, the poor teaching and lack of places at home are stronger factors.

China, the biggest “sending” country, with around 200,000 students currently in higher education abroad, has university places for less than a fifth of its 100m college-age youngsters. In June 2008 around 10m sat the gao kao, the state university entrance exam. There were places for two-thirds of them. That is despite huge growth; the number of places has risen almost fivefold in as many years.

The general level of China’s higher education remains low. In 1966 Mao Zedong closed the universities and scattered their teachers; when they re-opened they were short of cash, and a preference for rote learning still leaves many graduates ill-prepared. A 2006 study by McKinsey, a consultancy, found that of the country’s 1.6m young engineers only 10% were capable of working for multinational firms.

In the 1990s, China began pouring money into research at around 100 of its 1,800-odd higher-education institutions, hoping to create an elite tier of universities. But the country has yet to register on the global education scale: a ranking by Shanghai Jiao Tong University puts no Chinese institution in the world’s top 200 universities; Britain’s Times Higher Education magazine puts Peking University 50th and only six Chinese institutions in the top 200. For Chinese youngsters who can raise the cash, study abroad looks attractive.

Students travel to help themselves, but universities and host countries gain too. Around a fifth of university students in Australia were born abroad, and international education is the country’s third-biggest export after coal and iron ore. Foreign students who work in their spare time plug gaps in Australia’s labour markets.

But some ideas risk succeeding too well. Since 2001 foreign students in Australia have been able to apply for residence; so the marketers of that country’s campuses have been touting an enticing deal — take a vocational course in a field where Australia needs expertise; work while studying; then settle for good.

According to Fiona Buffinton, head of Australian Education International, a government agency, about a third of the country’s foreign students are motivated mainly by the hope of gaining residence, and a third primarily by the education on offer, while also nursing hopes of staying on. Only a third plan to go home after their studies. She fears that if Australia does too well at attracting students seeking a back door to immigration, its position in the global education market — and its attractiveness to really serious students — will suffer.

Such worries are a reminder that in a global business, reputation is easily lost. In Britain, too, students from distant lands help to balance the universities’ books: fees for students from the European Union are capped at uneconomic rates. But a study by the Oxford-based Higher Education Policy Institute sounded a warning: Britain’s “quickie” masters degrees (doable in a year, and nice earners for colleges) are coming to be seen as substandard. Meanwhile, a survey of Chinese students in Britain found that many felt their institutions valued them only for their fees.

Ideally, “sending” countries can benefit as much as those who take students. Taiwan urges its students to leave, although with 164 universities for a nation of 23m, there is no clear need. “We push them out, especially (doctoral) students,” says Ovid Tzeng, a government minister. “Otherwise everyone works on the same problems.”

A wise view — though the benefits of exporting brains can be slow to materialise. Once again, China’s history is instructive. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping decided to send 3,000 scientists to foreign universities each year for training. Even if 5% did not return, he said, the policy would be a success. In fact, only a quarter of the students who left China as a result ever returned.

So by 1990 China had a brain drain, and this prompted a row within the government, notes David Zweig, a Hong Kong-based scholar. Some wanted to make students return; others saw little point, since China lacked facilities to make use of the students’ training. Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party chief, said it would be more far-sighted to “store brain power overseas.” His ideas prevailed: a new policy urged Chinese people living overseas to “serve their nation from abroad” as consultants, investors or scholars.

The dream of bringing well-trained Chinese minds home is having some success. Some of the cash earmarked for elite universities is being used to lure scholars back to the motherland.JUST a few decades ago, students at universities outside their home countries formed a tiny elite. Some gained scholarships with famous names like Rhodes or Fulbright; others were sent by governments, grooming them for top jobs in academia or public service. A few were born to cosmopolitan parents who searched for the best schooling money could buy.

That picture has changed. The 20th century saw a surge in higher education; in the early 21st century, the idea of going abroad to study has become thinkable for ordinary students. In 2006, the most recent year for which figures are available, nearly 3m were enrolled in higher education institutions outside their own countries, a rise of more than 50% since 2000.

One reason is the growth of the global corporation; ambitious youngsters sense that a spell studying abroad will impress multinational employers. But for school-leavers in the developing world, the poor teaching and lack of places at home are stronger factors.

China, the biggest “sending” country, with around 200,000 students currently in higher education abroad, has university places for less than a fifth of its 100m college-age youngsters. In June 2008 around 10m sat the gao kao, the state university entrance exam. There were places for two-thirds of them. That is despite huge growth; the number of places has risen almost fivefold in as many years.

The general level of China’s higher education remains low. In 1966 Mao Zedong closed the universities and scattered their teachers; when they re-opened they were short of cash, and a preference for rote learning still leaves many graduates ill-prepared. A 2006 study by McKinsey, a consultancy, found that of the country’s 1.6m young engineers only 10% were capable of working for multinational firms.

In the 1990s, China began pouring money into research at around 100 of its 1,800-odd higher-education institutions, hoping to create an elite tier of universities. But the country has yet to register on the global education scale: a ranking by Shanghai Jiao Tong University puts no Chinese institution in the world’s top 200 universities; Britain’s Times Higher Education magazine puts Peking University 50th and only six Chinese institutions in the top 200. For Chinese youngsters who can raise the cash, study abroad looks attractive.

Students travel to help themselves, but universities and host countries gain too. Around a fifth of university students in Australia were born abroad, and international education is the country’s third-biggest export after coal and iron ore. Foreign students who work in their spare time plug gaps in Australia’s labour markets.

But some ideas risk succeeding too well. Since 2001 foreign students in Australia have been able to apply for residence; so the marketers of that country’s campuses have been touting an enticing deal — take a vocational course in a field where Australia needs expertise; work while studying; then settle for good.

According to Fiona Buffinton, head of Australian Education International, a government agency, about a third of the country’s foreign students are motivated mainly by the hope of gaining residence, and a third primarily by the education on offer, while also nursing hopes of staying on. Only a third plan to go home after their studies. She fears that if Australia does too well at attracting students seeking a back door to immigration, its position in the global education market — and its attractiveness to really serious students — will suffer.

Such worries are a reminder that in a global business, reputation is easily lost. In Britain, too, students from distant lands help to balance the universities’ books: fees for students from the European Union are capped at uneconomic rates. But a study by the Oxford-based Higher Education Policy Institute sounded a warning: Britain’s “quickie” masters degrees (doable in a year, and nice earners for colleges) are coming to be seen as substandard. Meanwhile, a survey of Chinese students in Britain found that many felt their institutions valued them only for their fees.

Ideally, “sending” countries can benefit as much as those who take students. Taiwan urges its students to leave, although with 164 universities for a nation of 23m, there is no clear need. “We push them out, especially (doctoral) students,” says Ovid Tzeng, a government minister. “Otherwise everyone works on the same problems.”

A wise view — though the benefits of exporting brains can be slow to materialise. Once again, China’s history is instructive. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping decided to send 3,000 scientists to foreign universities each year for training. Even if 5% did not return, he said, the policy would be a success. In fact, only a quarter of the students who left China as a result ever returned.

So by 1990 China had a brain drain, and this prompted a row within the government, notes David Zweig, a Hong Kong-based scholar. Some wanted to make students return; others saw little point, since China lacked facilities to make use of the students’ training. Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party chief, said it would be more far-sighted to “store brain power overseas.” His ideas prevailed: a new policy urged Chinese people living overseas to “serve their nation from abroad” as consultants, investors or scholars.

The dream of bringing well-trained Chinese minds home is having some success. Some of the cash earmarked for elite universities is being used to lure scholars back to the motherland.

Both the Academy of Sciences and private donors such as Li Ka-shing, a Hong Kong-based billionaire, are dishing out money to make conditions attractive for returning Chinese scholars.

This sort of global contest for grey matter certainly makes for a bracing environment. By contrast, when universities mostly recruit locally, well-known campuses can coast along, knowing they have a brand that can hardly be challenged. In a global market, cross-border partnerships can alter the scene, and create entirely new brand names, in very unexpected ways.

Here too, China offers interesting case studies. Under a law passed in 2003, foreign universities were permitted to set up campuses, or whole universities, inside China, if they partnered with a local body. In the short period before the government called a halt to take stock, two British universities moved in.

Nottingham University opened a campus in Zhejiang province, in 2005; the British institution recruits students and faculty, sets course content, conducts exams and confers degrees. A year later Liverpool University, in partnership with Xi’an Jiaotong, one of China’s best colleges, opened a new university 100km (60 miles) from Shanghai. The first few cohorts will get degrees from Liverpool; the new university will soon award its own degrees. Neither British university put up any capital; what is at risk in such ventures is mostly reputation. Both universities, respected in England, but not world-famous, have decided that risk is worth taking in the hope of boosting their global profile.

Meanwhile, some campuses that already flourish in the global market want to go further. Spain’s IE business school ranks among the world’s top ten. It now plans to go into undergraduate education—and, in the words of Santiago Iniguez, rector of IE’s new offshoot—to “re-invent the university”. All courses will have close ties with the hard school of real life. Would-be psychologists will see how organisations work; art students will learn how to run auctions; architects how to deliver on time and on budget. The ethos will be thoroughly global, with teaching in English and up to 80% of students from outside Spain.

Masao Homma, vice-chancellor of Ritsumeikan University in Japan, thinks an influx of foreign students could help his country’s campuses: in a homogeneous land—which in his view is growing even more introvert—such exchanges could expose Japan’s young to the wider world. Academics, too, could be changed by the new arrivals. Japan’s tenured faculty members are hardly challenged by home students; foreign ones could do the trick. In Britain, Homma notes, a quarter of all students are over 25, while in his country the figure is only 2.7%. Japan’s timid young students rarely ask questions; outsiders might.

Like many of his counterparts in rich and not-so-rich countries,  Homma looks forward to a world where educational shoppers take a hard look at what is on offer in the global supermarket before settling for a home-made product. — Courtesy The Economist


Icasl reaches milestone of 800 training partners

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL) has reached a significant milestone, having attracted 800 Approved Training Organisations in its drive to become the premier accountancy education body in the country.

The 800 Approved Training Organisations represent both Audit and Non–Audit (commercial) sectors, including all top practicing firms and reputed companies islandwide. 

The growing number of training organisations is testimony of the confidence and trust they have in ICASL. “We are proud to say this is a remarkable achievement for our institution,” a spokesperson of ICASL said.

ICASL maintains a good working partnership with these Institutions. Many of these institutions have not only accommodated the ICASL  students as trainees, but also have provided permanent employment opportunities to a large number of students depending on their ability and qualifications. The students also have the opportunity to develop practical skills and the qualities required to be a future business leader and possibly to secure a permanent position with the organisation during their training assignment.

ICASL appreciates that learning in the working environment is the best way to understand what is being taught in the study programme and hence, gaining practical experience is an integral part to become a Chartered Accountant. During the course of the programme students are required to complete three to four years of practical on the job training which gives a good range and depth of technical work experience that becomes increasingly challenging as the period of training progresses.

Students of ICASL can choose any one of the Approved Training Organisations to complete their required practical experience.

Up to now ICASL has produced more than 4,000 Chartered Accountants. There are also 30,000 registered students who want to be qualified Chartered Accountants.

Now in its 50th year of educational excellence, the Institute is totally committed to further improving the quality and the diversity of accountancy education.  

Today its members hold the highest professional qualification available to accountants in Sri Lanka. As Chartered Accountants they are working in top ranking business and public practice organisations around the world, recognising the changes in diverse economies and business environments.


Be a telecommunication engineer of tomorrow

By Ashwin Hemmathagama 

Telecommunication becoming the driving force in the global village — potential for further development and value added services has opened employment opportunities for those who have gained the much valued qualifications of international standards.

British College of Applied Studies (BCAS) catering to this high demand for professionals with telecommunication related qualifications has launched the BTEC Higher National Diploma in Telecommunication Engineering through Edexcel International UK. This new course can be pursued into a Bachelors Degree upon completing the BTEC HND in Sri Lanka .

BCAS Business Development Manager, Mohamed Isthiquar told The Sunday Leader that the new course also leads to study fascinating subjects as analytical methods for engineers, data communications and networks, telecommunications, digital networks, radio communication engineering, optical fiber communication systems, communication signal processing, transmission and switching systems, satellite communication systems, mobile communication systems, and broadband technology.

“All these will be covered in four semesters at our college at a very nominal fee once compared to the investment that any student will have to pay if they are to go to the United Kingdom to undergo the same stream of study to complete the BTEC Higher National Diploma in Telecommunication Engineering. Once completed, BTEC Higher National Diploma in Telecommunication Engineering  will help the student to obtain valuable industry experience and to pursue higher studies,” he said.

Among many other educational opportunities offered at the BCAS lined-up targeting the G.C.E. Ordinary  Level, G.C.E. Advanced Level qualifiers includes foundation courses for IT, Management, Engineering or Technology. 

“Basically all these foundation courses have a 50 per cent English language component and the balance is allocated for the specific choice of your subject. BCAS will also be helping the student to meet this English requirement free of charge. At the conclusion of the course you could opt to study higher in IT, Business Management, Hotel Management, Quantity Surveying or Telecommunication as you desire,” he added.

BCAS located at No. 32, Dharmarama Road, Wellawatte, was established in 1999 and is completing 10 years of successful operation this year in educating the youth of Sri Lanka. When established, the main task was to impart information technology education and English to school leavers and people in employment requiring computer skills. BCAS has collaborated with Edexcel UK ito conduct BTEC HND courses in computing, business, information technology, and software engineering, Quantity Surveying, Business Management and Telecommunication Engineering.


Qualifications direct from University of Wales

Founded by Royal Charter in 1893, the University of Wales is the degree-awarding body for the vast majority of higher education students in Wales, as well as for many other higher education institutions in the United Kingdom and overseas. The university confers around 15,000 first or undergraduate degrees and more than 4,000 higher degrees each year, and is the second largest degree-awarding body in the United Kingdom.

Imperial Institute of Higher Education (IIHE), with more than a decade of producing high caliber professionals to the industry, is proud to be the only institution in Sri Lanka offering validated degree programmes and MBAs from the University of Wales, since 1996. Tertiary education is expensive and IIHE has to obviously charge for the education provided.  Therefore, it adopted a strategy to provide high quality tertiary education at a very reasonable price. 

The academic leadership is provided by the CEO and Academic Director, Dr. Thilaka S. Weerakoon (MSc. In Industrial Engineering and PhD in Management from Cranfield University, UK) who has over 20 years of academic experience in foreign universities and industry experience at chief executive level of large organisations in Sri Lanka.

The Board of Directors are also reputed professionals; Rohan Wijeratne, formerly of the World Bank, former chairman of CINTEC, a founder director of Millennium IT. Jit Warnakulasuriya, chairman of Just In Time Holdings Pvt Ltd, a reputed IT company. Sabir Jafferjee, a successful businessman. Pasan Madanayaka, chairman of many companies in garment exports, chemicals and freight forwarding, and Bimal Perera, founder director of Millenium IT.

Programmes

IIHE is the Sri Lankan off shore campus of the University of Wales offering internal degrees of B.Sc. (Hons) Degree in Business Management, B.Sc. (Hons) Degree Computing (Software Engineering) and the Master of Business Administration MBA. An internal degree is an important selection criterion when students are planning to enroll on degrees offered by foreign universities.  IIHE graduates will receive the same degree as their counterparts attending the constituent universities in the U.K. 

IIHE programmes are designed to produce graduates who are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills required of the knowledge workers of the 21st century.  This is achieved through regular review of programmes and validation by the University of Wales.  The transfer of knowledge and skills is ensured by a highly qualified faculty of professionals (15 PhDs, 27 MBAs, and MSCs) with relevant industrial experience. 

B.Sc. (Hons) Degree in Business Management (Full Time/ Part-Time)

IIHE’s B.Sc. is positioned for students who are seeking to become Managers in HRM, Marketing, Finance or General Management. This is achieved through programme design which provides Core Modules and Electives to provide the specialism’s in the respective functional areas. 

The ‘Part-Time’ B.Sc. Degree in Business Management is IIHE’s latest programme of study for those who are interested in gaining an academic qualification, while continuing their current employment. Advantages of this programme are the flexible payment structure and convenient times for classes.

Two further competitive aspects of the B.Sc. are that students are required to undertake a live group project in the first semester of the final year.  This project with a blue chip company requires the students to act as consultants to solve a Real Life Problem (RLPS) given by the client company, under the supervision of a faculty member. 

High commendations from industry have been received in the past and in fact employment too has been offered on graduation to the project teams.  The students are also required to undertake an individual dissertation under supervision which again provides an opportunity for the student to integrate the knowledge acquired to address a research problem of their choice.  Successful completion of this dissertation and the RLPS together with taught modules, assures IIHE graduates a unique competitive advantage in the employment market in Sri Lanka and also in the international market. 

B.Sc (Hons) Degree in Computing (Software Engineering or Management)

The B.Sc (Hons) Degree in Computing programme aims to provide the students with an opportunity to gain a thorough grounding in computing with a software engineering bias given particularly the fact that to enter any stream in the IT industry one needs to start as a software engineer.

IIHE follows the UK credit system, which requires 360 credits for achieving a BSc Honors Qualification. As in the UK, the academic programme is outcome-based and is under continuous review to make it both responsive and proactive.

The “academic” is intertwined with the “practical,” enabling graduates to fit quickly into the world of work both nationally and globally, in industry, commerce and administration as persons capable of meaningful contribution as software engineers, technology managers and leaders. Skills and competencies are built up through interactive lectures, case study analysis and presentations, problem solving exercises, and projects.

Continuous assessment through individual or group assignments is a key feature and is combined with end of semester examinations. The environment facilitates the development of interpersonal skills and an expanding social network that gives one a competitive edge.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Irrespective of whether one is in the early stages of one’s career or already in mid-career in a responsible position, there is no doubt that a well-recognised MBA is the route to a successful future in the knowledge economy of the 21st century. That is what Imperial offers, an MBA validated and awarded by the University of Wales bearing a guarantee on the academic standing, credibility and international recognition.

The programme helps the participants to reflect on their current and past work experience, and build up for themselves a solid intellectual and analytical framework where sound theoretical understanding is in fact integrated with substantial case-study work, so that the practical relevance of the conceptual material is fully drawn out. It supports the development of cutting edge knowledge and understanding as well as the ability to think differently and critically, build up new perspectives and effect meaningful change.

It incorporates an interactive and pragmatic approach to learning being a stimulating opportunity for study alongside highly talented, capable and experienced peers thus encouraging work-based learning and in the process also enhancing the interpersonal and teamwork skills so essential for the competitive world of today. It is thus a solid foundation to face a constantly changing world.

As in the UK the MBA requires 180 credits at the appropriate level, 120 of which are gained in Part I which typically involves completing eight core subjects/modules and four electives. Part II consists of the Dissertation bearing 60 credits, one-third of the weight of the degree, thus highlighting the importance of problem investigation and problem solving.

Here, the candidate researches a practical business/organisational problem and tries to apply the theoretical knowledge acquired to real life often incorporating a strong multidisciplinary element.

All programmes conducted at IIHE are 100% internal, and the certificate doesn’t mention about Sri Lanka or IIHE, and is provided to the student straight from the University of Wales.


CIMA Discussion on Global Economic Crisis: an Islamic Finance Perspective

CIMA Sri Lanka recently organised a sell out evening discussion on “The Global Economic Crisis: An Islamic Finance Perspective” at its Auditorium.

The discussion was led by Faizal Salieh, Managing Director / CEO, Amana Investments Limited. The speaker kept his audience captive with his presentation. The floor was later opened for a Q & A session. This topic in the recent past has created a lot of interest among business circles in Sri Lanka.

Member Services Unit of CIMA Sri Lanka Division regularly organises evening discussions for the benefit of its members and the business community. These programmes are seen as an opportunity to gain new knowledge and to network.


SAITM to launch the first Green Campus in Sri lanka

By Ashwin Hemmathagama 

South Asian Institute of Technology and Management (SAITM), the new entrant to the local education market is planning to revolutionise university education. It promises to offer a friendly environment, excellent staff and great facilities in a lively city in the heart of Sri Lanka’s first technology park. The campus will open university education to over 80,000 students who are successful at the “A” level examination but are left out as there is lack of facilities in the state universities. Following are the excerpts of an interview held with SAITM President and Chairman, Dr. Neville Fernando.

Question (Q) – What is a ‘Green Campus’ and how best will it fit to Sri Lanka?

Answer (A) – ‘Green Campus’ is a modern  initiative for the first time in Sri Lanka. We have come to a stage where everyone should think of sustainable development. Our main focus is on the use of energy water, recycling of waste, and preserving  nature.  This campus is situated on a picturesque four-acre site in Malabe in the midst of vast green land. The surrounding environment will be protected and students will be encouraged to live in harmony with the environment.

Q – What is your investment and expected ROI in SAITM?

A – I have invested Rs. 500 million of my private money collected as an investor. Some of my key investments included the Asha Central and Fernwood Porcelain. SAITM is in appreciation of what I and my family have got from my country and I want the campus to be there forever. This is my gift to the youth of Sri Lanka.

I feel that certificates and degrees alone with not make education complete. It is my intension to produce educated young people of character through SAITM. I’m sure SAITM will be the most sought after higher education institution in South Asia. I do not expect a return on investment but only an operational profit to run SAITM. I intended to handover the management of this company to a trust including government nominees.

Q – Why do you plan to hand over SAITM to government?

A - I want SAITM to continue forever and would form a trust before handing it over to government. This is a precautionary measure to avoid possible selling out or turning into another state owned university. I am not sure whether my grandchildren would stay in Sri Lanka or would go abroad and this is the best option available to continue this campus.

Q – What makes SAITM the most sought-after educational institution in Sri Lanka?

A - The purpose built state of the art five-storey campus will have all modern facilities for teaching and learning, an auditorium with 350 seats, a student lounge spanning 10,000 sq. ft., a cafeteria. The SAITM academic staff will consist of professors and lecturers from both Sri Lanka and abroad who have excelled in their respective fields of study. Collaborative academic links with reputed foreign universities will enable SAITM to conduct undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Q – What would differentiate SAITM from other educational institutions?

A - SAITM is a contemporary campus providing quality tertiary education for the students of today. We pride ourselves on being supportive, flexible and relevant to the real world. We all know that the theory is important but SAITM knows that putting what you learn into practice is just as valuable. That’s why our courses have a strong focus on providing real life solutions to real life problems.

Practical projects, industry placements and guest speakers are key features of our programmes. We strive to provide a different learning approach, developed to maximise the student outcome and experience, as well as providing state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure.

We will be the first to have a faculty dedicated for foreign languages and education in private higher education institutions. This faculty will open options to learn English, French, German, Japanese, and Korean languages at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. At the faculty of communication and media, our vision is to empower the youth in applied communication.

The mission in this faculty is to use media and communication technologies to develop leaders of our communities and equip the youth with vocational skills that will help them create a better tomorrow. We will be recruiting the leading professors and lectures which will also encourage people to enroll

SAITM will be affiliated to the Niznhy Novgorod State Academy of Medicine Russia and admit students who have necessary qualifications to enter the Sri Lankan medical faculties. Our graduates who will get a Russian degree have to sit the Act 16 examination to practice in Sri Lanka, Since the Degree is recognised by the GMC, UK these graduates will be able to work abroad.

Rs 6.2 billion in foreign exchange is sent abroad annually To a certain extent this will be reduced by SAITM.

Today  we do not have the free education that the late Dr.C.W. W Kannangara formulated as all students in the universities have had private tuition. Then why oppose my campus and shout slogans against the government. In any case education is a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution.


CIMA in Sri Lanka

CIMA Director, Andrew Harding and Director of Strategic Development, Rick Sturge spoke to the media on CIMA in Sri Lanka and its presence as the regional hub.

Q – How strong is CIMA’s regional outlook?

A – We have been here in Sri Lanka for almost 44 years and CIMA itself celebrates 90 years. CIMA has a strong market presence in Colombo and with globalization and development across regions, want to export the things we have done here. This will enable us to take the entire region as a whole. Colombo will be the operational hub for this region which we call the South Asia & Middle East. So, Colombo has a very important role to play and the team here will support the anticipated regional development.

Q – Any specific reason to choose Sri Lanka as the regional hub?

A  – When choosing a country as the regional hub we need to consider many factors including the availability of best resources and the ability to deliver. Sri Lanka matches with this criteria and have a great committed workforce in Sri Lanka Chapter office in Colombo where their skill levels are high. We have experience working in this country and for us that works perfectly fine. Sri Lankan team is led by an excellent Chief Executive, eminently capable in taking the CIMA forward in the regional context.

Q – Why not include the South East Asia in this regional plan operated from Colombo?

A – Well, it is a regional strategy and we have carved the world into different parts where the Asia Pacific is a separate part of this plan. Kuala Lumpur hub is looking after the South East Asian Region. So in this hub setting, away from United Kingdom, Shanghai is leading the back office operations for China, Johannesburg for Africa, the new one will come on board will be the São Paulo which will look at the Latin America changing lives.

Q - How does CIMA change lives?

A – Throughout our history CIMA has given opportunity to young people to realize their potential and to take up their position in business leadership and to have successful and rewarding careers. In a way, without CIMA they will not be able to do it. I think there are many examples here in Sri Lank of people who achieved high positions with CIMA becoming the starting point. It is a fact that there are 4,000 Sri Lankan CIMA students and members who are working overseas. We are continuously broadening CIMA’s acceptance in the world. In less developed countries around the world bringing in CIMA skills will support the development can be helped maintain sustainable growth.

Q – What are your plans to improve the current curriculum to match the futures demand?

A – The new syllabus which is more flexible will come into effect with first exams held in next year. And it is an evolution of our current syllabus and more relevant to the modern business world. In terms of doing this differently, we are looking at getting more students from the rural areas so that we are attracting students from regional centers in Sri Lanka. CIMA is the passport to the world and now with other connections it has multiple visas. According to independent research conducted by the University of Bath School of Management, CIMA’s syllabus and examination structure are the most relevant to the needs of business of all the accountancy bodies assessed.

Q – What are the brand reinforcement plans?

A – The strategy is to talk with companies, Governments, and multinationals to really show that having CIMA skills at heart of business will change the ability to compete and take effective decisions. With economic troubles around the globe much more focus is on the financial discipline and there is an ever increasing demand for people who could analyze taking better decisions for risk management.

CIMA works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its qualification, professional experience requirements and continuing professional development to ensure it remains the employers’ choice when recruiting financially-trained business leaders.  CIMA is committed to upholding the highest ethical and professional standards of members and students, and to maintaining public confidence in management accountancy.  CIMA is proud to be the first professional accounting body to offer a truly global product in the fast-moving area of Islamic Finance. CIMA has been awarded Superbrand status in the UK for a third year in a row this year and for the first time in Sri Lanka.


Holmes Pollard & Stott wins UNICEF project for second time

Unicef, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, recently invited several leading advertising agencies to provide suitable strategies and creative solutions aimed at disseminating the concept of a Child Friendly School and fostering acceptance and the desire to implement it all levels in the primary education system in the country.

In a keenly contested ‘Pitch’, Holmes Pollard & Stott emerged the winner. This is the second consecutive year that Holmes Pollard & Stott have won this coveted project. The Agency’s creative platform was based on the innovative use of the Sinhala and Tamil idiom across a variety of below-the-line media, including a 10 minute advocacy video.

The concept of a Child Friendly School (CFS) is based on the principles expressed in the Convention of Rights of the Child. A Child Friendly School considers education as every child’s right and helps to monitor the rights and well-being of every child in the community. It acts in the interests of the whole child that includes his or her health, nutrition and overall well-being and encourages the involvement of the entire community in improving the welfare of the child.

The Child Friendly School (CFS) model is based on five principles, namely, the child’s right to an education and access to education, gender sensitivity, providing quality learning and effective learning, a healthy and protective environment and the involvement of children’s families, as well as the local community.

While the Child Friendly School programme has already been implemented by the Government through the Ministry of Education, it has not trickled down to all schools in the country, especially those in outlying areas

Pradeep Amirthanayagam, Managing Director/CEO of Holmes Pollard & Stott stated “This win demonstrates our key strengths in creating out-of-the-box solutions and connecting with all strata of society, through our keen insights into the minds of the Sri Lankan people and effective use of the local idiom”.


SLIM introduces new MBA

Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) has recently taken another leap, living up to its reputation by introducing the highly recognised Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme offered by Buckinghamshire New University in United Kingdom.

The new MBA programme is reported to have opened exciting opportunities in a variety of areas including IT, pharmaceuticals, risk management, marketing and finance; working for large organizations such as Marks & Spencer, British Airways and the National Health Services.

SLIM Executive Director, Nimal Weerasekara told The Sunday Leader that Buckinghamshire New University MBA programme was introduced in Sri Lanka as a result of a special decision taken by SLIM in catering to the ever increasing demand for a highly qualified workforce globally as well as in Sri Lanka.

“There are many other MBA programmes offered by various institutions. But the institutional stability and the reputation plays a considerable role when investing you hard earned money especially for MBA programmes. Studying in Sri Lanka gives the students the advantage in obtaining tutorial support from SLIM, obtaining necessary exemptions for the professional qualifications already obtained, shorter completion time, lower course fee compared to studying in United Kingdom, and eLearning support.

“Our MBA takes you beyond basic management principles and aims to develop creative and strategic leaders for the future. The MBA research project provides an exciting opportunity for you to hone your project management and consultancy skills,” explained Weerasekara.

Buckinghamshire New University is a British, state funded university with roots established in 1893, as the Science and Art School in High Wycombe, a town located between London and Oxford. The university now has a studentship of about 10,000 with three major academic components ; Creativity & Culture, Enterprise & Innovation, Society & Health. These faculties are housed around three campuses in High Wycombe, Wellesbourne, and Chalfont, and encompass an array of ultra modern facilities at High Wycombe.

“This MBA was first launched in 1989 and taught in a number of countries besides the UK, including Germany, South Africa and Hungary. The programme has been designed for people in employment; thus the taught element of the coursework can be completed in just over one year. This is then followed by the dissertation of the programme,” Weerasekara added.

Since 1970, SLIM has been promoting marketing excellence and elevating the status of marketing in Sri Lanka. Subsequently incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1980, SLIM is a member of the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka and of ESOMAR, the Federation of Marketing Research Industries.


National Schools to be connected with Wimax technology

Dialog Enterprise, an integrated business division of Dialog Telekom PLC, will break new ground by providing internet connectivity to 350 schools across the country using revolutionary fourth generation Wimax technology.

Under this 90-day project schools in far off locations such as Medawachchiya, Poonduluoya and Sewanagala will enjoy internet connectivity and bring them on par with the benefits reaped by their urban counterparts. The 350 schools, whose primary medium of instruction are Sinhala and Tamil, are spread across all districts of the country, excepting the North.

An ADB funded Secondary Education Modernization Project II (SEMP) of the Ministry of Education, this venture takes on greater significance with the Government of Sri Lanka declaring 2009 as the “Year of ICT”.

Director, SEMP II Anura Dissanayake said, “Internet connectivity is no longer the prerogative of a privileged few. Its importance as a means of education lies in the fact that it opens horizons in a totally unimaginable manner and literally brings the world to one’s doorstep, or classroom in this case. This project will undoubtedly be a boon to the thousands of students in these 350 national schools across the country in the near future.”


Globally recognised Australian Degrees in Sri Lanka

Australian education is consistently ranked as one of the top systems in the world. With an Australian degree qualification any person can pursue opportunities in countries all over the world.

The Institute of Technology Australia (IOTA) has been delivering high-quality Australian higher education to students across the world. IOTA currently offers diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Business and Information Technology.

The Institute of Technology Australia Pty Ltd (IOTA) is accredited by the Queensland Minister for Education, Training and the Arts via the Office of Higher Education, Queensland (OHE). Queensland is a member of the International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (www.inqaahe.org). The Institute of Technology Australia is listed on the Australian Qualifications Framework Register as an approved provider of higher education in Australia. All IOTA qualifications are recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework and globally accepted.

The Institute of Technology Australia (IOTA) is a global provider of high quality accredited Australian online tertiary education. IOTA has developed an online model of education that overcomes all barriers between students and a quality Australian degree. IOTA has made arrangements for Sri Lankan nationals to study for their programmes through its study support centre IOTA LANKA, at an affordable fee without leaving the country or leaving employment. Parents too could be happy because they can maintain parental control over the child as he or she is studying for the Bachelor Degree right from Sri Lanka.   

IOTA Lanka offers Diplomas and Bachelor Degrees in Information Technology and Business Administration and Master Degrees in Business Administration, International Business and Information Systems.

IOTA Lanka is helping students in Sri Lanka realise their dream of gaining a respected and internationally recognised degree at an affordable fee with flexible payment options.

IOTA Lanka is fully backed by eminent and well respected academics who hail from leading local and foreign universities. IOTA Lanka provide students with broadband internet access, face to face lectures, events to interact and a motivating learning environment.

IOTA Lanka is located in calm and quiet surroundings at Dehiwala ideal for learning with easy access by public transport and easy parking facilities for vehicles.   

At the Institute of Technology Australia students can fit study in with their life, not the other way around. Obtain qualifications without the pressure of attending to a strict schedule and tailor his or her study program to suit other commitments. IOTA gives students the flexibility to design their study to suit the life they want.


Learn English and step in to a world of opportunity

Do you want to speak English like the native speakers?  PATHE provides it for you. 

PATHE Academy, could well be your path to success. Peoples Academy for Tertiary and Higher Education generally known as PATHE was time-honored in the year 1996, and the first private institution to train medical professional under a government funded project. 

PATHE’s vision consists of implementing education through online integrated components by the year 2010.  It is an only-one-of-its kind educational academy yet established in the country to train people in career oriented courses moulding both new students and apprentices to become full-pledged professionals who are valuable to the welfare of the country.

PATHE has an assortment of courses in Advanced Vocational Education, Information Technology in Computers, Business and Management, Language and Arts and Medical Sciences for the people who can obtain a degree or diploma for a bright future. It maintains a pool of well-qualified and experienced lecturers from the local and foreign universities.  The  courses cater to the needs of most age groups of people and has approximately 6000 to 7500 student per year joining into the institution.

PATHE head office is located at No. 37, School Lane, Bambalapitya with two centers at 128/B1, Stanley Thilakarathne Mw, Nugegoda and 111-1/2, Maya Avenue, Colombo 6, Kirulapone. It is affiliated with several foreign universities. PATHE has several courses at certificate and Diploma levels which lead to degree levels.

English is one of the most important and essential languages in this modern era.  As English has become the international language of business and technology, knowledge of English is essential for one and all in the commercial offices and for those who engage in trade on their own account.  For the traveller and the man of business, no language is more useful than English. 

PATHE provides a stream of English courses.  PATHE has specially designed courses to cater to the needs of all categories.  Its general English programme consists of the following courses:

1.     SESOL (Spoken English for the Speakers of Other Language): A City and Guilds Programme. It is used to train students of any age who do not possess the ability and knowledge of English to attend to their normal work and for the students who have a lesser knowledge of English, but want to improve. It covers language skills mainly intended for true beginners.  The main aim is to help students by focusing on speaking through role play and exchange of information.  It’s the stepping stone for success.   After the completion of the course the student is eligible to sit for the examinations conducted by City & Guilds UK,

2.     ESOL (English for the Speakers of Other Langauge): A City & Guilds programme which covers all four skills and train students to use grammatically correct English. It helps the student to acquire the usage of English language correctly, effectively and fluently in their social, academic and professions. After the completion of the course the student is eligible to sit for the examinations conducted by City & Guilds UK,

3.     Diploma in English:  It’s a two tier programme designed to facilitate prospective students who would want quality in academic English leading to higher national diploma. It meets the challenges in language skills required by our society in today’s context. 

4.     Higher National Diploma in English: It’s a programme for the students who wants quality in academic and deals with advance level of grammar and Literature. It’s the stepping stone for admissions in BA and MA in English with credit exemptions from world recognized universities which could be followed in Sri Lanka through PATHE.

5.     Advanced Certificate in Business and Office English: It’s designed for the students who lack confidence in the use of language for their business and office environment. It offers a chance to improve the English you need for work.  After the completion of the course the student is eligible to sit for the examinations conducted by City & Guilds UK, and BEC, UK

6.     TESOL:  It provides a thorough introduction to theory and methodology of teaching English to speakers of other language through modern teaching technologies.  A student who gets through TESOL becomes eligible to sit for the University of Cambridge, world recognized CELTA certificate and DELTA diploma from UK.

7.     YLE:  Certificate in Young learners English is planned to offer a comprehensive learning approach for children between the ages of 7-15. 

8.     Medical English:  The main aim of this programme is to provide language skills and knowledge enabling to communicate with people related to medical fields.  It is a milestone for persons pursuing medical education.

9.     TOEFL (Ibt): TOEFL test is a requirement for admission into college and universities where instruction is in English.  Pathe not only provides courses but is one of the test centres for TOEFL Ibt examination.

10.   IELTs:  This is an international English Language testing system to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the main language.  PATHE courses are so designed that any student can sit for the IELTs examination after completing the course here.  More over PATHE is an approved centre for registering student for this examination with the British Council.

PATHE as one of the premier language teaching academies in the country offers an unparalleled range of intensive language courses for both children and adults of all age groups.  The course fee is reasonable with discounts and benefits.

PATHE students have secured excellent scores in TOEFL and IELTs.  Many of the PATHE students are working in reputed firms in the country and abroad due to their English language proficiency. 

For more information please contact Anita Gamage, the Course Coordinator for English Programmes (anita@patheacademy.org)  on 2502012 or visit PATHE website. www.patheacademy.org


An  evening with Steve Waugh

The ACBT/ECU Alumni Association will host the legendary Australian cricketer and Brand Ambassador for Navitas Limited, Steve Waugh on February 26. The programme titled ‘An evening with Steve Waugh’ will focus on a key note address by the former Australian Captain. The discussion will be followed by cocktails at the Taj Samudra Hotel.

Navitas Limited is a global education company with headquarters in Australia.

Having begun operation in Sri Lanka over 10 years ago ACBT has grown from being an institute offering a Bachelors Degree to an institution offering a MBA from Edith Cowan University, Australia. The MBA programme commenced in Sri Lanka in 2005 and has thus far produced more than 80 graduates. 

The ACBT/ECU MBA Alumni Association was launched in August 2008 and currently has 75 members. A top priority for the year ahead includes being actively engaged in the local community through various CSR initiatives, while promoting goodwill between Sri Lanka and Australia and providing extensive networking opportunities for graduates.

‘An evening with Steve Waugh’ will be open to corporate executives and the general public. Tickets for the event are priced at Rs.3000  for non alumni members and Rs. 2,000 for alumni members and ACBT students.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at ACBT. For more details call Colleen Kent on 4714393 or email airos@sltnet.lk.


Creative graphic designing for the first time in Sri Lanka

Flex Advertising Institute, a subsidiary of Flex Graphics is the only Institute in Sri Lanka which provides Courses in Creative Graphic Designing within one month.

Lectures and online classes for the first batch of students have already commenced. School leavers, junior executives in the advertising and marketing fields are being trained in Graphic Designing in a creative way to meet the challenges in the modern advertising industry.

Flex consists off female and male experts in creative Graphic Designing. Individual and special attention is given to  each student unlike other institutions. Female lecturers guide and instruct female students sharing their knowledge to create a new generation in the advertising field.

Flex advertising institute assures a 100% success rate by providing experience and creative knowledge in the path of creative advertising.


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