Sri Lanka and Australia Chamber of Commerce proudly presented the second digital seminar of the series – Sri Lanka and Australia bilateral trade opportunities on the 25th November 2020. This time the topic of discussion was Australian tertiary and vocational education. A panel of experts from reputable universities and institutes based both in Sri Lanka and Australia shared their insights on this topic. Once again there was an impressive number of participants both online and on social media channels. President of SLACC – Kalum De Silva moderated the session.
One of the highlights of this session was the keynote delivered by Mr. Kapila Fonseka – Consul General of Sri Lanka to Victoria, South Australia & Tasmania. He reminded the audience about the long-standing and cordial relationship between Sri Lanka and Australia manifested in political, cultural, and people-to-people relations. One of the key benefits of this multifaceted relationship is the exchange of knowledge. He shared deeper insights into how both these countries have benefited from the bilateral relationship. He concluded by saying that Sri Lanka is becoming a center in the South Asian region which has developed infrastructure enriched by highly educated and skilled human resources. Mr.Kapila offered his help to institutes or investors who wish to set up in Sri Lanka.
Andrew Paltridge Associate Dean, from QUT business school, explaining the excellence of an Australian education shared statistics and rankings of the top 1000 universities in the world. Compared with countries such as the USA, Canada, and the UK it was remarkable to see that out of 42 universities in Australia 36 of them are within the top 1000 universities which means 85% of the Australian universities. In terms of Business Schools, 48 % of Australian Business schools are accredited as oppose to 38% in the UK, 28% in Canada & 13% in the USA. He explained there are 3 main reasons why an Australian education can be considered one of the best 1. Learning and teaching course accreditation 2. Research ERA 3. Student support (government tracks student outcomes at all levels). Andrew summed up his presentation by providing a very valuable cautionary note. He explained that a university ranking only is not a good enough measure. Australia is good overall but not all universities are good at everything. Students who wish to study abroad should go through all the measures and tools to make sure that you find the best university for their area of study.
The principal of UTS Sri Lanka, Alison Hiscox was our second panelist. UTS Sri Lanka commenced its operation as a branch campus of UTS Sydney, one year ago. Alison was able to share her experience about setting up a campus and the reasons for choosing Sri Lanka. Two main reasons were to address the shortfall in local higher education places & to strengthen the education ties. Australian education is backed by employability, job security, and possible PR. She explained by choosing a higher education that offers the option of completing the first year in Sri Lanka, comes with many benefits for students & parents. One of the main was the reduction of the cost a student it able to enjoy just by choosing to study the first year in Sri Lanka itself. She recommends this pathway option to Australian higher education should be considered strongly. As a country, Sri Lanka is poised for growth in the region. The ease of doing business and a strong connection between the countries made it easy and UTS’s confidence in the country was demonstrated by their investment in a 6 story campus worth Rs. 387 million.
Steven Bradie-Miles center director from William Angliss Institute, a vocational institute that specializes in hospitality, tourism, food, and events, was our third panelist. As an institute that started its operations back in 2013 in partnership with SLIIT, it has produced over 1000 graduates. He explained in terms of a vocational qualification that it’s important that students understand their capabilities and peruse what he or she is passionate about. William Angliss Institute offers its programs not just for Sri Lankan students but for the students in the SAARC countries as well. Vocational education can be considered as a great stepping stone for further academic studies and degree programs. Vocational education gives students the opportunity to be hands-on. Steven explained how they are responding to the challenges of having to do things differently due to the pandemic. Steven had great advice for students who may seem disturbed by the present situation in the county and even worldwide. Sri Lanka is blessed with many local and international brands in the tourism sector therefore students will have a progressive career path in Sri Lanka or overseas. During these difficult times, students should focus on their studies and stay positive as it will soon turn better as they have in the past.
If you missed our webinar or you wish to watch it again you can view the slides and recording here https://youtu.be/m0uhHcpYvQk
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We will keep you posted on our next topic under this series of Sri Lanka and Australia bilateral trade opportunities.