Science and Technology Human Resource Development project : Facilities for Kelaniya, Jayewardenepura Universities with adb funds | Sunday Observer

Science and Technology Human Resource Development project : Facilities for Kelaniya, Jayewardenepura Universities with adb funds

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is focused on uplifting the Education Sector of the country with support extended to cover universities.

A recent program launched by the ADB is the Science and Technology Human Resource Development project. The project is in collaboration with the Ministry of Education with the funds provided by the ADB.

The project will provide facilities to the University of Kelaniya (Faculty of Computing and Technology) and University of Sri Jayewardenepura (Faculty of Engineering). The total cost would be USD 185 million of which ADB will provide USD 165 million through a loan.

The University of Kelaniya’s new faculty - the Faculty of Computing and Technology commenced in 2015 - accommodating the first intake in 2016. Currently 370 students from the two intakes are studying for three different degree programs - Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Honours), Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology (Honours) and Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computer Science. Another two degrees including Bachelor of Bio Systems Technology (Honours) and Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Software Engineering will be added later on.

Commencing operations at the main premises of the University of Kelaniya at Dalugama, the faculty was shifted to rented premises at Peliyagoda. “Due to the lack of space in the premises we are conducting all the practical sessions at Peliyagoda, with the support of NIE (National Institute of Education) and The Open University of Sri Lanka,” Dean, Faculty of Computing and Technology, University of Kelaniya, Gamini Wijayarathna, told a group of journalists who visited the university recently.

Through the project, ADB will assist in developing the academic programs, infrastructure and human resource capacity. “We are hoping to start the construction work by the 3rd quarter next year,” said Senior Lecturer, Head/Department of Applied Computing, Chamli Pushpakumara.

The total direct funding allocated for the Faculty by the above project is USD 29.2million. The funds allocated for civil work is USD 20 million, procurement of equipment USD 4 million and the balance to be utilized to accomplish remaining needs. A state-of-the-art building complex will be constructed in a 3.25 acre land close to Mudun-Ela, Kelaniya. This will comprise seven buildings including two 10 storey buildings.

The overall conclusions made by a few undergraduate students were ‘This faculty is great’. “We can learn what we like from the beginning.”

They expressed their gratitude to the ADB for granting their wishes.

They, however, request that a hostel be built on the new premises. The lecturers of the faculty too expressed their sincere gratitude to the ADB for its immense support.

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura, initiated its new faculty in 2015 to accommodate more Engineering students to national universities. With students from two intakes 120 per each, the faculty comprises of five departments. One department has been setup specially for improving information skills. The academic studies for the first intake started in 2016. Commencing operations in a rented building close to Ratmalana, plans are on the way to build the new faculty with state-of-the-art technologies and facilities at Mattegoda. A maximum intake of 400 will be accommodated in the new premises. “Lecturers work tirelessly to make students feel comfortable even in this small building. I’m very thankful for their immense contribution. We want to start building our new premises as soon as the financial assistance is ready,” Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Akila Subasinghe said.

The main challenges are the lack of space to conduct classes and no play area for student use. Also more staff need to be recruited. He further said that the steps required to obtain the financial grants from ADB are completed to some extent. The construction of the new buildings will commence soon after financial approval. ADB is very flexible and supportive were what the majority said. In addition, another allocation of USD 10 million is available for the participating universities to develop research capacity as well as to partner with renowned universities and institutes.

This is a new loan scheme approved on 30 August 2018. The implementation has already commenced under an advanced contracting agreement with the ADB. The period of implementation is from 2018 to 2024.