SLANSHEI Contribution to Non-State Higher Education Sector
Sunday Times Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Association of Non- State Higher Education Institutes (SLANSHEI) is an umbrella organization formed in the year 2016 through the initiation of seven leading private institutes working for a common set of goals aimed at addressing the needs of the non-state higher education sector in the country. The seven founding members comprised of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology ( SLIIT), Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College ( CINEC), Horizon Campus (HC), Asian Pacific Institute of Information Technology ( APIIT), Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), Aquinas and South Asian Institute of Technology and Management (SAITM). Apart from these institutes, Saegis, KIU and Gateway Graduate School have currently gained its full membership.
Since its very inception, the organization was headed by the founder President Prof. Lalith Gamage, CEO/ Vice- Chancellor of SLIIT with much vision and dedication to improve the nonstate higher education system in Sri Lanka. The 2nd Annual General Meeting of the SLANSHEI was held recently and concluded successfully subsequent to the appointment of the new office bearers for the year of 2018/2019.
This new SLANSHEI council of management includes the following members:
During the AGM, the newly elected President of SLANSHEI Prof. Nalaka Jayakody of CINEC expressed to continue the good work by the predecessor and continue to engage with the government to achieve the vision of developing Sri Lanka to be the knowledge hub in South Asia. He further mentioned that SLANSHEI will strive to take the NonState Higher Education sector of Sri Lanka to greater heights by ensuring high quality education that create employable graduates for various sectors locally and internationally.
Working Towards Achieving the Objectives
The primary purpose of SLANSHEI stands at increasing the capacity of qualitative higher education in the country as there is a growing need for higher education opportunities every year. Annually, about 250,000 students sit for the GCE AL examinations and about 150,000 qualify to enter in to state sector Universities. However due to capacity constraints only about 25,000 students out of the said 150,000, secure State University entry to undergo their studies in obtaining internal degrees. It is estimated that about 12,000 students enroll at the Open University and other State Universities to follow external and distance method of degrees. A further 11,000 students enroll to the private sector higher education institutes in Sri Lanka while about 12,000 students leave for abroad to study undergraduate degrees in various countries every year.
Considering the abovesaid statistics, there’s an utmost duty upon the private higher educational institutions to deliver programmes that create employable graduates for various sectors in the Sri Lankan industries as well as abroad. Whilst strengthening the functioning and capacity of higher education institutions, and facilitating cooperation among them for effective service delivery with the view of developing all levels; the organisation’s activities are also revolved around achieving its’ objectives. Among them:
- to provide a forum and other mechanisms for the sharing and exchange of expertise, knowledge, best practices and other resources of private higher education institutions and or those persons interested in improving higher education locally and internationally;
- to foster the study and resolution of problems impacting higher education institutions and to co-ordinate a unified approach among higher educational institutions to resolve common issues;
- to promote the benefits of quality private sector higher education to the Sri Lankan public and to other relevant bodies and agencies;
- to provide a united and influential voice in the representation of interest on higher education policies, legislation, plans, development programs and other measures affecting the members and to negotiate with appropriate government and other agencies for continued student and institutional benefits and issues related to student registration and attendance;
- to promote the non- state higher education institutions and programmes abroad in order to make Sri Lanka the ‘Vision of Education Hub in Asia’;
- to establish and maintain linkages and collaborative relations with regional and international companies, agencies, institutions and other organizations in order to achieve the above objects. Provided however, the company shall not engage in any primary and secondary educational activities.
Success Stories of the Journey to-date
During this short period, SLANSHEI was able to achieve some great feat, especially due to its hard work and continuous dedication in improving the non-state higher education sector. The following are some of the organisational achievements for which SLANSHEI is particularly proud about:
Interest Free Student Loan Scheme 2017/ 2018
The SLANSHEI initiated and submitted a proposal to the government of Sri Lanka to expand the capacity of student enrolment at recognized nonstate higher education institutes with a government-sponsored loan scheme. Subsequently, the budget proposal of 2017 accepted this in order to provide opportunities to students who became qualified at G. C. E. A/ L’s but have missed out University Entrance due to aforesaid reasons. It was made possible through the student loan scheme where a maximum loan amount of Rs. 800,000 for the entire course of study could be provided on interest free basis.
Teacher Training Project
The intention of producing qualified graduates for teaching profession through non-state higher education sector aims at offering Bachelor of Education (Hons) degrees with specializations in English, Biological Science, Physical Sciences and Information Technology. The foundation for the programme is currently being laid by the Ministry of Higher Education and all member institutes.
Since its inception, SLANSHEI has been successful in executing various programmes country-wide up to- date. The organization further seeks to increase its member institutes in its attempt to expand the services it renders to all parts of the island. The SLANSHEI further aims to spearhead in delivering quality education to the youth of Sri Lanka through their member institutes. The newly elected office bearers with the assistance of the other council members are expecting to further their aspirations and services by venturing into several identified projects in association with the Ministry of Higher Education. It is expected that these activities would certainly take the higher educational sector in Sri Lanka to much greater heights.
Promoting Sri Lankan higher education overseas
SLANSHEI also took the opportunity to travel overseas in promoting Sri Lankan higher education in those countries. The aim of this venture was to create awareness of the standards of higher education in Sri Lanka, and to promote its education structure thereby gaining foreign student registration among its members with the expectation of gaining the much needed foreign exchange to the national economy. Already, some of its members took part in a promotional tour to Nepal in July 2016 while several other tours are on the cards to carry out in the near future.
Recognition by the Export Development Board
Recently, the Export Development Board through its line Ministry, the Ministry of Development Strategies & International Trade recognized the services of SLANSHEI, and appointed some of its members as Advisors in its Advisory Committee on Professional Services pursuant to the Gazette notification dated 2018.02.21. This has given immense recognition for SLANSHEI to carry out its work as a responsible private higher educational association serving the Government of Sri Lanka at much higher levelSource at: Sunday Times Sri Lanka