Local universities to admit 50,000 foreign students by 2020
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Sunday, 31 August 2014

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Lanka, an international hub of education:

Local universities to admit 50,000 foreign students by 2020

The Higher Education Ministry hopes to admit 50,000 foreign students to local universities by 2020 under the Government’s vision of turning Sri Lanka into an international hub of excellence in higher education by 2020.

There were only 300 foreign students in local universities in 2010. This has been increased to 3,000 foreign students. Therefore, the intake of foreign students to local universities has increased ten-fold during the past three years. The Ministry’s target is to attract 10,000 foreign students to local universities by 2016, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr.Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne told the Sunday Observer yesterday. One of the objectives of the Ministry is to make higher education one of our major export earnings.

At present much foreign exchange is drained out due to the large number of students going abroad to pursue higher education. Nearly 4,000 Sri Lankan students had gone to the UK and another 3,000 students to the US for higher studies last year. In addition, nearly 5,000 students had gone to Australia for higher studies last year.

Dr. Nawaratne said to overcome the situation, the Ministry hopes to set up at least branches of five world-class universities in Sri Lanka next year. The Ministry has already invited five world-class universities to set up branches in Sri Lanka. Of the 17 local universities, seven universities in Colombo, Moratuwa, Sri Jayewardenepura, Kelaniya, Peradeniya, Ruhuna and Jaffna will also be converted into world-class universities.

Sri Lanka’s vision is to become an international hub of excellence in higher education by 2020 under the Mahinda Chinthana. Our universities should offer courses that are recognised internationally by local and global employers to reach this goal.

According to our higher education policy, the Ministry aims to produce globally employable graduates and world market oriented entrepreneurs. Our ultimate goal is to make Sri Lanka the most cost effective and quality education hub in Asia, he said.

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