Two British Universities will be set up in Sri Lanka next year under an overseas plan to enable Sri Lankan students to pursue studies here and for those who cannot afford to proceed to UK for higher studies.
Students will be able to read for a British degree while in Sri Lanka, said the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin addressing the British Scholars Association recently.
Referring to education, he said there were 8000 Sri Lankan students studying in the UK some time ago but the numbers had dwindled owing to prohibitive costs and due to bogus colleges being closed down in the United Kingdom.
However 28 universities in the UK offer several course to students. He said Sri Lanka had the highest number of students in the world enrolled with two British Council Libraries in Colombo and Kandy. The British Council provides access to English Language and other British examinations. ”There were well over 20 British Universities offering courses to Sri Lankan students when I arrived in Sri Lanka,” he added.
The High Commissioner said when he came to Sri Lanka he noticed that the fundamental relationships between the UK and Sri Lanka were very strong, especially the commercial relationship with over 100 British companies operating successfully creating jobs in Sri Lanka and back in the UK.
He said the Marks and Spencer to this day continues to buy 22 per cent of clothing manufactured in Sri Lanka while trade between the two countries soared following a decision of SriLankan Airlines to purchase air planes and Rolls Royce engines. He said it was also important to deal with bribery and corruption as British and European businesses were coming into the country and a level playing field should be created for business bidding processes. Although many companies were hesitant in the past they were now actively looking forward to invest in Sri Lanka.
He said the relationship between Britain and Sri Lanka has changed with the new government coming to power.
The new Government was not as a result of either (Britain’s intelligence agency) MI6 or the (US) CIA but by the Sri Lankan people themselves to elect a democratic government by peaceful transfer of power, he noted, appearing to refer to recent comments from opposition political circles that foreign intelligence agencies were behind the collapse of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.