The education sector was given a major boost through the 2024 Budget and for the first time a president of the country (Ranil Wickremesinghe) invited foreign universities to set up universities in Sri Lanka. This will be taken very positively by the international university fraternity, said Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Prof. Sampath Amaratunge on the sidelines of the Raigam Tele awards launch.
On Thursday, the President told the Sri Lankan diaspora if they are really keen in helping rebuilding their former motherland, to invest in creating universities in Sri Lanka.
Prof. Amaratunge said that every year Sri Lankan families drain around USD. 1.5 billion towards their childrens’ education overseas. There is another USD 1.5 billion that is sent by parents to their children via non-banking means. “If international universities are set up in Sri Lanka, firstly this dollar drain can be stopped.”
He said while parents of students bound for foreign education would be able to save a huge amount of money it would also help to keep the Sri Lankan families closely knit.
Second, Sri Lanka can reverse the trend of money flowing out and earn around USD 3 billion by inviting foreign students to study here.
According to a report released on International student data, 567,947 international students are enrolled in Australia and they are one of the leading countries that does this very successfully and revenue from foreign students is Australia’s second forex earner.
He, however, said that each time a foreign university tries to establish itself in Sri Lanka there are uncalled for protests and a awareness campaign should be made by the government to tell the public of the advantages of having international universities in Sri Lanka. Similar negative sentiments were shown by the public and pressure groups with regard to tourism and today they have disappeared.