City Universities – A Foundation For Skillful Life
In General, from among the students who sat for GCE (A/L) examination, more than 65% got qualified to enter the public universities. However, out of this population, only 20% gets National University admissions due to the limited seats available in the existing National University System. In general, the rest of the qualified students (around 80% of the eligible students) do not have an opportunity to pursue their higher education. Only a very small fraction of those students who are having strong financial capabilities enter to some foreign degree programs or to local private degree awarding institutes to earn degrees. Unfortunately, those who are not financially capable to enter those fee levying private degree awarding institutes are mainly idling without having proper directions for their career initiation or development and create a lot of social issues.
The proposed city universities are targeting all university qualifying youths in the region to offer opportunities to follow a degree free of charge. The salient feature of these degree programmes are these study programmes are carefully customized to use the resources in the regions strategically and effectively which could lead the region’s sustainable economic development. As these degree programs are planned to utilize the region’s present resources
(land usages, institutes, industries, historical heritage and natural resources), we firmly believe that the graduates of the City Universities will remain in their homes contributing to regional development.
Overcrowding urban territories mainly due to educated youths settling in urban areas to do jobs and earning money is nowadays creating threats for natural resources and other facilities in urban localities. The proposed degree programs of city Universities may minimize the present brain drain from rural areas to urban areas, and out flow of much needed foreign exchange to foreign countries while reducing the burdens of urbanization. Furthermore, community development and infrastructural development in proposed city university areas may create livelihood development activities of a considerable number of people in the region, ultimately creating better living standards and regional and national development in those districts as the results of the spiral impact of this project.
Considering all above facts, the City University Project is carefully designed to fulfill the following promise stated under “A System of Higher Education to produce Technocrats” in page 22 of Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour, Manifesto of HE the President of Sri Lanka Honorable Gotabhaya Rajapakse “An island wide network of new ‘technical university colleges’ will be established”.
The main objectives of the project are to
1 Generate innovative and skilled manpower that fits best to utilize available resources and opportunities effectively for the concurrent development of those Districts.
2 Provide an opportunity to industry, institutes and professionals in those districts to collaborate and contribute in the process of human resource development and regional development
3 Minimize the brain drain from remote areas to urbanized areas and accelerate regional development through human resource development in the region and
4 Transfer required technology and skill to future citizen leaders in order to utilize available resources effectively and sustainably for the development of the region
The proposed city universities are expected to enroll students mainly from the same district as its main target is to produce a trained labor force which can bring the district towards sustainable development using potentials and resources within the district. The Degree programs are customized in complying with the manpower requirement of the region. The proposed study programs have multiple industry exposures/ training in between study semesters (multi-layer sandwich type education). This university and its degree programs play a vital role in the concurrent development of the region and then the country ultimately.
A unique procedure will be adopted in selection of students to City Universities. Selection of students will be based on the immediate GCE Advanced Level examination results. The students who have obtained at least ‘S’ grades in all three approved subjects in one sitting, within a maximum of three attempts and a minimum mark of 30% for the Common General Paper from any subject stream of GCE (A/L) will be eligible to enter the City Universities irrespective of their Z score value. Cut off marks for entering the City Universities will be calculated based on the Aptitude Test conducted by the City University Secretariat. ‘Cut off’ marks for a given course of study will depend on the factors such as how well the candidates have performed at the Aptitude Test in a given year, the demand for a particular course of study & the university and the number of seats available for the course of study. Accordingly, ‘Cut off’ marks for each course of study in each City University may vary from year to year depending on factors such as performance of students who have applied for that particular course of study for that year, total number of places offered by the City University for that particular course of study etc.
The first City University will be established in Pinnawala, Kegalle opening a new dimension in the Higher Education Landscape in Sri Lanka in September. This year. This university will be equipped with qualified academic staff and all the modern high-tech teaching and learning tools. Both in person and online teaching together with carefully chosen industry training will be provided to the City University undergraduates to make them skillful educated graduates who will become job creators, not the job seekers.
Professor Gamini Senanayake
Emeritus Professor and Chief Consultant of City University Project