As Sri Lanka had plans to become an ‘educational hub’ Sri Lankan corporates should capitalize on the opportunity and create openings for qualified youth.
“Sri Lankan companies should grab the opportunity and create openings for those with good qualifications especially those with post graduate qualifications rather than the traditional MBAs that have been there for the past 10 years or so,” said a leading Australian academic.
This was the opinion expressed by Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) professor Jan Thomas when she met Ceylon FT exclusively during her visit to Sri Lanka recently.
“It is high time to look into the possibility of running masters programmes or MBAs in areas such as project management and human resource management,” Thomas added.
“Sri Lanka has high potential and this beautiful island has a very beautiful vibrant blend of all communities and religions living in harmony next to each other. It is pleasant to see them living in harmony. Of all things it is religion that moulds a person.”
Answering a question raised by Ceylon FT she said “I was recently appointed as the Vice Chancellor and the President of the USQ and the purpose of my visit here is to meet the local partner- the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sri Lanka (CA-Sri Lanka) and introduce myself and have discussion on future developments”.
She further said that they had a very strong local partner in ICASL and stressed that ‘it has been conducting a MBA of USQ very successfully for the past 10 years’.
Further she said that she had arranged with ICASL a meeting of the alumni of the MBA programme to obtain some valuable feedback and opinions from the past and successful student community.
“This is very imperative for the future development” she added.
Answering a question put forward to her she said, “We are happy with our local partner and we will continue with the relationship with CA-Sri Lanka.”
She did not forget to talk about the potential in Sri Lanka and quipped, “We see great opportunity and potential here.”
Asked whether a USQ campus is to be established here, she said, “A campus of USQ will not come here immediately; it is too early for us to commit on such a venture and we have no immediate plans on such a mission; but in the long term we are looking for stronger student intake to USQ through our partnership arrangement with many countries. We will come to an understanding of USQ student exchange from other countries as there may be some students who do not want to study the full study course in one country; maybe they like to study a component of their study area in another country”.
Looking vibrant, dynamic and confident the professor said, “USQ is a rising star. We have a good reputation as an environment friendly university. We are 20 years old and we have a strong relationship with the student community and our partners all over the world. Our main differentiation is student-focused research. This is unique. We are very optimistic about Sri Lankan operations with our partner.”
Speaking further she said, “We have specialised in online tuition, because today we are living in a digital world and the traditional class room environment does not exist anymore. Sri Lankan students are very good at technology. They are technology savvy lot.”
Talking of areas of education other than accounting, she said their other specialities were nursing, project management, and engineering and that they were available online.
Further stressing on the operations in Sri Lanka she said, “We are talking and understand each other well; and I think we can build our relationship stronger and into a binding one. Sharing and understanding is vital in all communication. I am optimistic and think everything in a positive manner. I am very happy to be able to work through strong partners”.
Talking of the future and her ambitions she said, “My ambition is to have students from all over the word at USQ. Students aren’t locking into a location anymore and this is where education is heading in future. USQ has three main campuses located in Australia’s sunshine state Queensland, and we have doctorial studies as well other than MBAs. We have 18,000 well qualified academic staff and 23,000 students,” remarking that “Education is a wonderful thing; it keeps you young.”