The British School of Commerce (BSC), a BOI approved venture and a division of the London School of Commerce (LSC) Group of Colleges, opened its doors to Sri Lankan students on 1 February under the distinguished patronage of the Chief Guest, British MP for Cities of London and Westminster, Mark Field.
Also present in Colombo for the opening were LSC Group of Colleges’ CEO Timothy Ashanta Andradi, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Wales Institutue, Cardiff, Jaqueline Hare, Special Advisor to the Vice Chancellor and former Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Dr. John Pugh and former Director of Education, British Council, Dr. Neil Kemp.
The London School of Commerce (LSC), UK, the parent institution of the British School of Commerce has more than 6000 students coming from 130 countries around the globe. The LSC takes pride in its truly international nature and its ability to very successfully operate in a globalised environment having more than 300 personnel working for LSC in Associate Colleges and offices worldwide.
“Having its Head Office and the main campus in London, with Associate Colleges in Belgrade, Nairobi, Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur, the LSC now embarks on opening its fifth Division in Colombo, with the aim of developing the British School of Commerce as a Regional International Centre of Higher Learning, to empower the youth of Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Maldives,” Andradi said, speaking at the opening of the BSC.
Andradi said that the LSC’s Associate College in Kuala Lumpur has attracted students from 40 different countries and has contributed positively to the economy of Malaysia.
“In the same manner, we strongly believe that the British School of Commerce in Colombo would positively contribute to Sri Lanka’s economy, on the one hand by saving a large amount of foreign exchange that would otherwise have gone out to foreign countries, whilst on the other hand, attracting a large amount of foreign exchange in to Sri Lanka by way of foreign students studying at the British School of Commerce.”
The BSC estimates that an average of 200 students from neighboring countries would study at the British School of Commerce during the first year alone, thereby attracting a large amount of foreign exchange into Sri Lanka.
MP Field in his address said that he hoped that the establishment of the British School of Commerce in Colombo would also encourage and pave the way for other investors to start similar ventures in Sri Lanka.
The fundamental objective of the BSC is to be a leading higher education provider in Sri Lanka. In keeping with the vision and mission of its parent institution, London School of Commerce, the BSC aims to provide high quality undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes at an affordable cost to a large number of students in Sri Lanka as well as those from other countries in the South Asian region.
“This vision is very much in line with the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka to promote Sri Lanka as a regional hub in higher education. It is relevant here to state that representatives of the Senior Management from the London School of Commerce have already met senior officers in the Ministry of Higher Education and have expressed their interest for the BSC to apply for independent degree awarding status as well,” said Head of School, Chandima H. de Silva, BS [Houston], MPhil [Heriot-Watt], MBCS.
The BSC which is located on Duplication Road, Colombo 4, has superior facilities in keeping with international standards:
- A brand new infrastructure capable of accommodating 300 students at any given time with spacious air conditioned lecture rooms.
- A fully stocked library providing all recommended texts with both reference as well as lending facilities (including a multimedia library for academic and research work. These facilities will be managed by a qualified librarian, already in place and students will have access to more than 70,000 online resources including journals.
- A computer laboratory connected to a local area network with high bandwidth internet connection. A separate server room with the appropriate number of mail and file servers is in place with a dedicated Head of IT to handle all IT operations; all necessary licensed software being provided.
- Video conferencing with state-of-the-art equipment and appropriate communication facilities.
- Wireless network covering the entire building.
- Student counseling by qualified personnel for academic, personal and career counseling.
Highly qualified and experienced academic and administrative staff, both Sri Lankan as well as foreign, have already been recruited for the BSC, while arrangements are already in place to further increase the staff role in the near future.
All academic staff at the BSC possess a minimum master’s degree qualification in their relevant disciplines as well as many years of teaching/research experience. Visiting academic staff from LSC will also teach in postgraduate degree programmes at the BSC.
“The demand for qualified graduates in Information and Communication Technology is high in Sri Lanka and at present there are nearly 25,000 vacancies in the field of Information Technology,” said de Silva. “Albeit several private institutions offering study programmes in IT being available, there is still an unmet demand.”
A recent study shows that Sri Lanka needs to produce at least 5,000 IT/Computer Science graduates per year. However, the total output from both state and private sector institutions at present is less than 2,500.
“The same could be said of the need to have qualified and able managers (i.e., persons with degrees and postgraduate degrees in management related disciplines), and the British School of Commerce will offer degree programmes as well as foundation programmes that would enable prospective students to plan their higher education from G.C.E. Ordinary Level, right up to the Master’s level in both Management as well as IT,” stressed de Silva.
He added that British qualifications were greatly sought after by Sri Lankan students and all undergraduate and postgraduate degrees conducted at the British School of Commerce are awarded by the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, UK.
One of the unique features of the British School of Commerce is that its students can transfer to any of the sister campuses in London, Belgrade, Kuala Lumpur or Nairobi, after completing a few semesters in Colombo.
“This, we believe, is an attractive incentive for students as no additional tuition fees would have to be paid in exploiting this opportunity. Furthermore, all the degree programmes offered would have the possibility of lateral entry, thereby enabling students with part qualifications in many professional courses of study such as CIMA, ICASL, ABE, CIM, SLIM, BCS, ACS, CMA etc, to pursue a degree,” said Andradi. The BSC also envisages forging academic and research links between the British School of Commerce and state universities and other similar institutions in Sri Lanka, so that both parties could mutually benefit. “The British School of Commerce has already discussed such possibilities with certain Vice Chancellors of local universities,” said de Silva.
The BSC would offer the following degree programmes (all awarded by the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, UK) commencing February 2011:
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Science in Information Technology
- Master of Science in International Hospitality Management
- Master of Science in International Tourism Management
- BA in Business Management
- BSc in Computing
- Degree Foundation + BA/BSc Degree
Head of School de Silva said that all master’s degrees were reasonably priced at Rs. 465,000, while the bachelor’s degree programmes were priced at Rs. 675,000 and the Degree Foundation + BA/BSc was priced at Rs. 760,000. “The University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, has already validated the British School of Commerce, Colombo to offer the above mentioned degree programmes.”
It is a noteworthy fact that for the first time in Sri Lanka the MSc programmes in International Hospitality Management, as well as International Tourism Management will be offered to students enrolling at the BSC. “Given the Sri Lankan Government’s present policy to enhance and develop the hospitality and tourism sectors in the coming years, we believe that master’s degree programmes in these areas would be in high demand in Sri Lanka,” said Andradi.
The courses offered by the BSC are career oriented and aim to prepare students for a professional future of the highest calibre.
“Our aim is to help students achieve their goal of a superior level, internationally recognised education that equips them with the skills and business oriented thinking, critical to modern global commerce,” said Andradi.