In its continuing commitment of taking chartered accountancy to the most rural areas of Sri Lanka, over 120 students from across the country and from all walks of life were awarded scholarships by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL) at its annual scholarship awards ceremony ‘Sisu Diriya’ held on 10 February 2011.
A total of 123 students from diverse schools who had successfully completed their advanced level examination were awarded the scholarships on a merit basis for them to embark on a professional qualification in the accountancy sphere.
The momentous event was further boosted with an undertaking by the chief guest of the event, Minister of Higher Education S. B. Dissanayake who pledged to ensure all state universities in the country will be developed to be on par with the most prestigious universities in the world.
“We will not discourage private universities from operating in the country, instead to ensure that there is a level playing field, my ministry will strive to make certain that all state universities are equally competitive in all areas and my target is to get our state universities to be among the top 1000 universities in the world,” the Minister declared.
He also noted that instead of discouraging private universities from operating in the country, steps will be taken to ensure these universities adhere to a framework where the highest of educational standards are ensured, as some unrecognised educational establishments offer various courses which are of low standards or not recognised.
The Minister emphasised that the vision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was to groom a future generation who was both well qualified both academically and professionally with an ‘out of the box’ mindset, allowing them to go to any part of the world and execute their duties to the highest of standards.
“I will not hesitate to disregard anyone who tries to block this mission. The government’s primary aim is to create opportunities so that anyone and everyone have access to universities in this country itself,” the Minister declared.
ICASL President Sujeewa Mudalige pledged the Institute’s wholehearted support to the minister’s endeavours.
“We commend the initiatives taken by Minister Dissanayake and the Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education in attempting to reform the higher education system in our country. I am aware that this is no easy task. But as far as ICASL is concerned, we will wholeheartedly support your endeavours to ensure the students in Sri Lanka have a brighter future when they pursue tertiary education in our country,” Mudalige added.
Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr. Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne, who was the guest of honour, invited all professional educational establishments to join hands with the government and help groom high-quality professionals to the country.
“A country without a vision is like a ship without a rudder – but today we have an able leadership with a vision and we are progressing to ensure our vision is a reality,” he noted.
He emphasised that in the past all significant initiatives were blocked by groups with vested interest be it ending of the war, or even large scale power plant projects. “But the leadership did not crumble to such pressure but instead decided to go ahead with its vision and thus today the country is at a remarkable juncture,” Dr. Nawaratne added.