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Sunday, July 3, 2011

80% of students at foreign campuses will be from overseas

The Sunday Times 03/07/2011

By Palitha Ariyawansa

Eighty per cent of students entering the two foreign universities coming up in Sri Lanka will be foreign nationals, and only 20 per cent will be local students.

The two foreign tertiary educational institutions are branches of universities in Japan and China. Construction of campus buildings is already under way for a branch of the University of Tokyo.

Addressing university entrants following a leadership programme in Diyatalawa, the Minister of Higher Education S. B. Dissanayaka said the government had an agreement with the two universities that placements would be given on an 80:20 ratio in the first five years. The Minister gave an assurance that the setting up of foreign universities would not adversely affect local students.

Minister Dissanayake said weightings will be adjusted so that four years hence the majority of undergraduates at state universities will be studying for science degrees. At present, 53 per cent are arts students, 25 per cent commerce students, and 22 per cent science students. By 2015, 50 per cent will be science students, 30 per cent commerce students, and 20 per cent arts students. English will be the medium of instruction at state universities by 2013.

The Minister said the government was encouraging foreign students to study in state universities here. Initially, students from 34 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe are expected to enroll in local state-run universities.

“We are allowed to recruit five per cent of the total number of university entrants from among foreign nationals,” the Minister said, adding that there was a big demand for places in the Engineering, Law and Medical faculties at the Sri Jayewardenepura University.