Since September last year national government leaders have been drawing up plans while working out huge deals with Sri Lankans and international investors for a sustainable all inclusive and eco-friendly development strategy. In Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a 4,000-word speech outlined the current state of the economy and the way ahead for Sri Lankans to be empowered citizens of an economically
One of the biggest and most important of these development projects was Wednesday’s opening of the huge hi-tech Green university, a public-private venture involving the National Institute of Business Management and the Skills Development Ministry. Presiding at the opening of this Homagama University which provides modern facilities for about 30,000 students, President Maithripala Sirisena said this institution, named as the National School of Business Management (NSBM) was not only a landmark but also a revolution in the evolution of the education process.
According to the authorities this is South Asia’s first university with the focus on eco-friendly sustainability. The Green University comprises auditoriums, computer laboratories, a physical training centre, indoor stadium, sports ground, swimming pool, student-based centre, a theatre equipped with modern facilities and an open air theatre. Based on the university town concept, it is equipped with a supermarket, a housing complex dedicated for students and lecturers and a bank complex. The massive library will have digital facilities not found in other libraries. The computer and engineering faculties will be open to students in the inaugural academic year. Plans are underway to introduce courses prepared according to the international syllabuses. NSBM is the degree school of the NIBM and offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in vital fields such as management, computing and engineering.
According to President Sirisena, the Rs.10 billion NSBM will mark the beginning of a new path in education in Sri Lanka. The President emphasized the importance of developing the student skills towards creativity and bold innovations as research and innovations are known to be essential for building the skilled human resource capital for a developed economy. He said this would be the base of the national government’s centrepeice of a knowledge-based economy.
Those who have passed the GCE Advanced Level examination and students waiting for the results can register for the courses. Those who have passed the GCE Ordinary Level examination could also register for the graduate courses after completing a foundation course.
Premier Wickremesinghe in his economic policy statement yesterday, said a decision making 13 years of education mandatory was now in place and a pilot project would be implemented next year. Those who do not pursue the A/Ls after O/Ls will be trained under an upper secondary vocational education system. The number of teachers required for the next three years will be increased. A new law will be introduced to provide a separate cadre of teachers for every school. While a school inspectorate will be set up to ensure high quality education. School boards consisting of parents, staff and past pupils will work towards maintaining high standards. In the technology field, tablet PCs will be provided to post-O/L students.
For the promotion of pre-schools and day-care centres, a five-year programme focussing on early child development has been launched for improvement of systems and quality, to enhance the overall effectiveness and increase the enrolement of children for early childhood development programmes. Early childhood development is not only meant for pre-school education, but will include interrelated segments such as health, nutrition, psychological condition, childcare, probation and protection which are also essential components.