Govt incentivises graduate pool expansion | Sunday Observer

Govt incentivises graduate pool expansion

The government plans to support 5,000 Advanced Level qualified students under the interest-free education loan scheme which is aimed at expanding Sri Lanka’s educated workforce and creating employable graduates, a top public official said last week. Under a Budget 2017 proposal, the Cabinet of Ministers last week gave the nod to grant loan assistance up to Rs. 1.1 mn to undertake a four-year degree program, Rs. 1.025 mn for a three-year degree and add another Rs. 75,000 a year, to meet other expenses. “Selected students can enrol for a degree program in a private degree offering institution where we have around 16 accredited institutes offering 92 programs. Government banks such as the Bank of Ceylon will provide loans for selected students and the interest cost will be totally borne by the government up to a specified time,” Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways, D.C. Dissanayake told the Sunday Observer.

He said that the Ministry has at present closed the first round of applications and the selection process is underway while the second round of invitations to apply will be announced soon.

“If the number of applications is higher than expected, then we will consider selections based on The most important thing is that students should follow employment-oriented degrees such as Science, Technology, and Business Administration and not purely for academic purposes,” Dissanayake pointed out.

He said that this program will assist students who do not gain selection to a public university based on the z-score, enabling such students to follow a degree offered by a non-State higher education institute recognised by the Ministry of Higher Education and the University Grants Commission.

The Cabinet last week granted approval to set up an internationally recognised College of Business in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley in the United States.

“The government will provide seed funding for this college which will be established in Biyagama in the Gampaha district,” Dissanayake said.

It is learnt that the University of California, Berkeley has agreed to set up the college in Sri Lanka as a non-profit organisation which also provides opportunities to students with economic difficulties.

The Cabinet proposal was jointly submitted by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella and Science, Technology and Research Minister Susil Premajayantha.

The University of California, Berkeley also referred to as UC Berkeley is a public research university, ranked as one of the world’s most prestigious universities and the top public university in the United States.