Opening state universities to the foreign students - A breakthrough in Sri Lankan education

02 July, 2011

Finally our state universities are opening doers to the foreign students. This is a great milestone in Sri Lankan higher education. As usual, the vicious elements have come forward to demolish this progressive and constructive idea. Let the dogs howling, but the caravan must be moving forward.

Let’s see what are the benefits that the country and the students going to get with the new decision.

Boost to the quality of higher education system
When foreign students enter our universities, our students get exposure to study with students of different cultures. It really help build up new skills in local students as well. On the other hand, when foreign students too are attending, the quality of the education in universities will be upgraded to cater new demands. It will ultimately benefit all.

Education as an export oriented industry
Providing scholarships to foreign students is the first step in bringing our higher education system to international level. As an initiative we need to provide scholarships and promote foreign students visiting our universities. The second step is opening our higher education for international education service business. Some people in Sri Lanka scared to use the word business together with word education. But as a nation we must openly accept the world's socio-economic realities and march forward. Yes!, education is a business (with different standards and values) all over the world from Britain to Australia and Russia to China.  Education is a lifetime investment for students. Almost all the students have attended a private tuition throughout their primary and secondary education. Now no country is promoting free education for all.

Sri Lanka is eying for big economic boost. We need influx of foreign money to expand our economy. Part of the master plan is to make Sri Lanka the center of “Educational Hub of the Asia”. So far we have been pumping money out of the country by sending our students to other countries. Now we want to turn the cycle and promote foreign students to visit Sri Lanka and study here. It would not only bring valuable foreign currencies into our mother land, our students will think twice before moving to other countries for their studies.

New professional career opportunities
When we are opening new universities targeting foreign students without being burden to the country's economy, thousands of new career opportunities are created. The youth of the country wold definitely like to move into education industry and work as lecturers, instructors etc.. rather than being unskilled workers or even labor oriented managers in primitive industries like garment manufacturing.

Post terrorism revival in tourism and hospitality industry
About two years back, we could have never talked of inviting foreign students to visit Sri Lanka for their higher studies. No one would have liked to visit a country with bombs and gun firing for their higher education. Now we are free from terrorism. When tourism is boosting, we can easily diversify it to education sector as well.

March forward with rising Asia
The future of the world is Asia. China is going to be the economy super power in due course. Asian students love to visit a country like Sri Lanka rather than a country like England or America where social and cultural differences are so high. Even students from western countries will prefer to visit Sri Lanka which provide much relax and hospitable culture to students.

Benefits to private sector education industry in Sri Lanka
The influx of foreign students will not only expand our state higher education system, but create new opportunities for private sector institutes as well because those foreign students may like to follow other quality professional courses in Sri Lanka as well.

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