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KOICA workshop on establishment of Master Plan and Capacity Building for Ocean University

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The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the grant aid division of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, held a workshop for the KOICA funded project for ‘Establishment of the Master Plan and Capacity Building of the Ocean University of Sri Lanka’ on 25 January at the Grand Monarch Hotel. Nearly 40 people including many Government officials and representatives from other relevant organisations participated in the workshop.

The purpose of this workshop is to examine the current status of the marine and maritime sector in Sri Lanka to enhance the capacity of the Ocean University of Sri Lanka. KOICA, in cooperation with the Korea Maritime and Ocean University, Bukyung University and the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training of Sri Lanka, has been implementing this project from 2016 to 2021, with grants worth $ 3 million.

KOICA Sri Lanka Office Deputy Country Director Jie Soo Lee, during her welcome speech, emphasised the need for higher education in the Maritime Industry to boost the economic development of Sri Lanka and acknowledged the gathering for sharing their knowledge in their respective fields of expertise. Ocean University of Sri Lanka Vice Chancellor Thilak Dharmaratne, while delivering his speech, explained the importance of maritime education in Sri Lanka.

The main objective of this project is to support the establishment of the Ocean University by providing the master plan in order to ensure the optimum utilisation of the Indian Ocean’s maritime resources by providing the technical expertise. In this regard, the workshop was focused on current status and future vision of the marine industry such as ocean science, fisheries, ocean engineering and maritime business and logistics program.

Sri Lanka has emerged as a maritime logistics nation in South-East Asia, connecting the Middle East, Africa and Europe with abundant oceanic and marine resources. Therefore, it is expected for the maritime industry to play an important role in the economic development of Sri Lanka. Hence, the Sri Lankan Government, based on their policy for promoting the maritime industry, changed the status –‘National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering’ to ‘the Ocean University of Sri Lanka’ in 2014.

However, in order to utilise the resources of Sri Lanka, there is a need for capacity building to generate higher educated personnel in the industry and be a part of the global logistics hub. Therefore, in order to boost the economic development, it is necessary to establish a master plan for the institute. As a step forward, the workshop has been designed to map the current situation of Sri Lankan maritime capacity and to grasp the human resources demand in global ocean market.

The KOICA Sri Lanka office strongly believes that this workshop which included current status and future vision of various ocean industry programs will not only bring significant improvement of the ocean sector, but will also open the chance for a better future for the students of a much needed field in Sri Lanka and a proper master plan will serve as a great asset to overcome the struggles in developing a strong maritime sector.

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