Nawaloka Holdings, Swinburne University launch Nawaloka College of Higher Studies

Monday, 27 October 2014 00:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Waruni Paranagamage One of Sri Lanka’s most highly diversified corporations Nawaloka Holdings further cemented its presence within Sri Lanka’s higher education sphere when it launched the Nawaloka College of Higher Studies (NCHS) campus in Colombo 3 last week, in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. UGC Chairperson Prof Kshanika Hirimburegama (1ST from left), Nawaloka College of Higher Studies Chairman Jayantha Dharmadasa, Nawaloka College of Higher Studies Deputy Chairman Victor Ramanan, Minister of Higher Education S.B Dissanayake and Secretary to the Minister of Higher Education Dr Sunil Jayantha Nawarathna at the opening ceremony of Nawaloka College of Higher Studies Campus   Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake was the Chief Guest at the opening, while the Guest of Honour was Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Robyn Mudie and other distinguished guests from Swinburne University of Technology and Nawaloka Holdings. The exclusive collaboration between NCHS and Swinburne University of Technology has lined the way for world class Swinburne degree pathways in business, engineering and IT streams to be offered for the first time in Sri Lanka. Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology is ranked among the top 3% of universities in the world by the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and is internationally reputed for its focus on science, technology and innovation. Located in the heart of Colombo, the NCHS campus houses technologically-advanced teaching and learning facilities including a purpose built engineering laboratory, a modern computer laboratory and a resource-oriented library. Addressing the gathering, Minister Dissanayake said though the Government could facilitate university entrance for about 25,000 students per annum in State universities, another 30,000 students seek opportunities for higher education facilities in the country. He said that the basis for the improvement of the higher education sector was clearly spelt out in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana – Idiri Dakma’. Commenting on the standards of private sector higher education, the Minster added: “The Government has already taken necessary steps to bring regulatory framework to standardise and provide quality assurance in non State higher education institutions in the country.” Aligned with NCHS’s commitment to delivering excellence in education to the highest international standards, all academic programs at NCHS will follow the same syllabi, methods of delivery and evaluation as Swinburne, Australia. NCHS CEO Victor Rajeevan stated: “The Swinburne degree pathway programs at NCHS are the only guaranteed pathways to Swinburne offered exclusively in Sri Lanka. These degree pathways provide access to over 60 bachelor’s degrees in Business, IT and Engineering streams from Swinburne University of Technology.” He also explained that civil engineering, mechanical engineering, robotic and mechatronics, aviation, biomedical engineering and product design engineering are some of the more highly sought after Swinburne Engineering degree programs accessible through these guaranteed pathways offered at NCHS. The wide choice of degree options in the business stream include management, marketing, advertising, accounting, finance, HRM and tourism management, all of which are highly relevant in the context of current day requirements for succeeding in a knowledge economy. Victor added: “We’ve added a highly experienced faculty comprising international and local academics as well as industry experts together with Swinburne heads of faculty, assuring a learning experience that can only be emulated by the very best in higher education.” Based in Melbourne, Victoria Swinburne University of Technology is an Australian public university which operates around 4,100 students from 60 different countries. Today the university represents 37% students from Sri Lanka. Swinburne College Australia CEO Peter Krikstolaitis highlighted that Swinburne University is very pleased to be able to offer its programs in Colombo in conjunction with a quality partner in NCHS. Further elaborating on the partnership with NCHS, Krikstolaitis commented: “We are fortunate to be working with NCHS who have shown to us a strong commitment to provide quality programs to the students who enrol which gives us great confidence that the venture will be successful. This partnership will be very important as we look towards expanding our range of programs in the future.” The joint campus will provide support to Australian education providers to deliver their world class qualifications to young aspiring students in Sri Lanka who are seeking higher education opportunities. The joint university enables students to proceed to further study in Australia or provides graduates with the best opportunity of entering the competitive employment market. Commenting on the exclusive collaboration between NCHS and Swinburne, Australian High Commissioner Mudie asserted that the establishment of a joint campus between the Swinburne University of Technology and the Nawaloka College of Higher Studies marks a significant step forward for the education relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka. He said the joint campus is the first to be established by Swinburne College in the South Asia region. “While it will initially target students from Sri Lanka, its longer term goal is to attract students from elsewhere in the region, in line with the Government of Sri Lanka’s vision of Sri Lanka as an education hub,” he added. The High Commissioner added that the Australian Government places a high priority on building education links with Sri Lanka and the NCHS is another step forward in the effort. Pix by Shehan Gunasekara