Universities should increase foreign student intake: Minister | Daily News


Universities should increase foreign student intake: Minister

City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education Minister Rauff Hakeem urged universities throughout the island to increase their overseas undergraduate student numbers, recently.

He was speaking at the opening of a new building for graduate studies at the Colombo University. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was the chief guest at the occasion, while Minister Hakeem was the guest of honour. Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam was also present at the event.

Minister Hakeem said that each university has a quota of 4.5 percent for foreign students. He said no such institution, except the Colombo University, had effectively made use of the concession to invite foreign students for graduate studies.

He said the intake of foreign students to universities would enhance their international ranking. He said the Colombo University had invited 10 students from the Maldives to its medical faculty. He hoped other institutes would also follow suit.

The minister congratulated the management of the university for their efforts to build a new complex for graduate studies out of self-generated funds. He said the government had made great efforts to improve higher education in the island.

There had been a revolutionary change taking place during the past four years, he said, recalling that 80 hostels which would accommodate 400 students in each facility were set up for university students, providing hostel facilities for 70 percent of the university students. The remainder of students found accommodation in the vicinity of the universities at government costs, the minister added.

He said the previous government had spent Rs.102 billion for higher education while the current one had disbursed Rs.205 billion, adding that it indicated the priority given for education by the present government.

“We are now focusing on quality and relevance to teaching and research in the university system,” Minister Hakeem said. He added that Cabinet had approved the setting up of a Quality Assurance and Accreditation Commission, which would soon become an act in Parliament.

Such a commission, he said, would ensure quality education in state and private educational institutions in the country. It would also help enhance the international ranking of Sri Lankan universities, the minister added.

“We have introduced two new medical faculties at the Wayamba and Sabaragamuwa universities and the intake to the medical faculty have increased from 1,200 to 1,500 students per year,” Minister Hakeem said, adding that the annual intake of Sri Lankan universities has also increased from 25,000 to 32,000 at present.


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