As a developing nation, Sri Lanka has a reputation for high literacy and a growing young population. But despite this assumption, the enrolment rate for higher education in Sri Lanka stagnates at around 2.5% compared to 5% in other developing nations. One of the main reasons for this is accessibility to state universities that enrol students on a quota system.
According to statistics, only 12% of the total number of students who sat for the A/L examination during last few years had been able to secure a seat in a local university. In 2011, of the 239,744 students who sat for their A/Ls, 141,411 students qualified for admission to local universities of which only 28,908 were admitted. This disparity leads to social and economic issues that aggravate into bigger problems.
Engineering, one of the more favoured subjects amongst our youth, had only a handful of student enrolment. Out of the 28,908 students, only 1,500 were selected to enter the local university engineering degree programs. As such, the increasing demand for higher education is seen in the large numbers registering as off campus students and leaving the country to study abroad.
To overcome this situation, in 2014, Sri Lanka Telecom launched the Sri Lanka Technological Campus (SLTC) with the motive of realising Sri Lanka’s vision of becoming the knowledge hub in Asia. Fully owned by Sri Lanka Telecom, the SLTC will offer a full four-year degree program to students, designed to provide sound theoretical, practical and analytical knowledge with the fundamentals of engineering and technology.
SLTC Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena said: “SLT group with its industry expertise spanning of over 150 years will be a pillar in supporting the necessary infrastructure, academic facilities and most importantly, the required industrial experience to conduct a recognised, comprehensive and affordable program for students. This venture perfectly complements the Government’s ambition of transforming Sri Lanka into a knowledge based economy.”
SLTC CEO Ranjith Rubasinghe said: “The introduction of SLT Campus will address the increasing demand of students who opt for a path in Engineering and Technology. Furthermore, it will also bring in the much needed hands-on corporate requirement thus transforming graduates into graduates who are capable to take up employment as soon as they graduate.”
“What we mean by ‘corporate-powered’ is that we have created an education institution which is closely tied to the corporate sector, enabling SLTC and its students better access to SLT’s vast experience in the service sector,” he added.
The SLT Campus has the option of admitting 100 students each year for the BSc in Engineering degree with the option of increasing this number year-on-year. The curriculum for this four-year course is approved by the University Grants Commission and the course is gazette by Parliament and the Ministry of Higher Education.
The Campus is located at the SLT Satellite Station in Padukka, which is easily accessible from Colombo via common transport modes and can accommodate students in a comfortable environment located on a sprawling 35-acre property. The campus also has all required facilities including Laboratories, Classrooms, Auditorium and Library. The administrative office and the city campus is based at TRACE expert city in Maradana.