RAVI LADDUWAHETTY REPORTING FROM KANDY
Visiting Vice Chancellor, President and CEO of Monash University, Malaysia, Prof. Helen Bartlett, said yesterday a majority of the Sri Lanka students studying at heruniversity were simply outstanding in their academic performances and that they were aspiring for leadership positions.”Sri Lankan students are visible and forthcoming. Some of them were outstanding, but they have issues in adjusting themselves to the new environment,” she said.
Prof. Bartlett was addressing a two-day annual conference hosted by The International Schools of Sri Lanka (TISSL) at the Earl’s Regency Hotel in Kandy. The theme of her address was: ‘The Transition from School to University, What Sri Lanka Could Do.’
She also said one of the cornerstones of students having issues of adjusting themselves was that students did not prepare themselves adequately prior to entering a foreign university and that had to be done in their homes by their parents and also their respective colleges, prior to their entry into foreign universities.
She said that one should appreciate that Universities could not work with all the schools on an individual basis in advising them on how to prepare their students for overseas education, but added, that some efforts were being made to have awareness programmes in countries that have the highest student populations in the Monash University of Malaysia, which are essentially Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Responding to a question as to how the schools in Sri Lanka should prepare students for the university, she said the biggest shock was the transition in the learning process, which is almost self directed and where there are enormous diversities of the teaching methods.
She also said that some of those studying in that University were prone to snatch thefts as they were walking on the streets while conversing on their mobile phone, while they also wore their laptop computers round their necks.
“The last thing that we want is for students to rock up and say that they have lost everything,” she said.
There was also a supplementary question about complaints of students who study at the Monash University in their first year and who complain that they have lost all their money and belongings to friends and families.
Earlier, Sri Lankan-born Director- Marketing and Future Students Programme of Monash University, Malaysia, Jay (Guttila) Jayatilaka, himself Trinity College Senior Prefect in 1977, introduced Prof. Bartlett to the conference with her professional credentials and added that she was no stranger in Sri Lanka, having come to pursue her passion of bicycle-riding in the up country in Sri Lanka.
Unfortunately, this time she was not in Sri Lanka for her passion of riding bicycles in Nuwara Eliya and this time, her address and presentation was not about the famous bicycle trails of Sri Lanka, Jayatilaka added, with cascades of smiles and a warm round of applause from an attentive audience.