SLIIT to Launch International Campus in Colombo

Offers Curtin University Full Degrees in Computing and Engineering

The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) will make history with the launch of their new ‘SLIIT International Campus’ in Colombo during the first quarter of 2021. 

The new state-of-the-art campus, whose design and facilities would match its international partners, is a crucial step in the institute’s plans to expand high-quality higher education opportunities in Sri Lanka. Commencing in March 2021, SLIIT International Campus will offer Curtin University full degrees in Computing and Engineering. Students may choose to complete the degrees in Sri Lanka or transfer to Curtin University in Australia after one or two years of study in Sri Lanka.

SLIIT’s new venture, following its 21-year success as a not-for-profit higher education institute, comes in the wake of SLIIT expanding its longstanding partnership with Curtin University to offer full degree programmes in Sri Lanka. The new transnational program agreement between Curtin University and SLIIT was signed by Professor Seth Kunin, Deputy Vice Chancellor International on behalf of Curtin University and Professor Lalith Gamage, Vice Chancellor on behalf of SLIIT at a virtual ceremony on 29 October 2020.

Vice Chancellor of SLIIT, professor Lalith Gamage says Sri Lankan students now have a precious opportunity to complete a prestigious international degree in Sri Lanka.  “Students enrolling at our international campus will register as full-time undergraduates of Curtin University. In addition to facilities at our international campus, students will have access to learning resources of Curtin University in Australia.”

Dr Athula Pitigala-Arachchi, Deputy Vice Chancellor International of SLIIT, will take charge of the new campus. “We look forward to beginning this journey together with Curtin University. While providing a rare opportunity for Sri Lankan students, we also plan to attract foreign students from across the globe.  The timing is right, and our strategy is in line with the government’s vision of making Sri Lanka a knowledge hub.”

Dr Pitigala-Arachchi says SLIIT’s partnership with Curtin University will help transplant international best practices in the Sri Lankan higher education system.   “Our International campus will offer every modern facility.  Our students will be able to complete a full degree of Curtin University, ranked amongst the top 1% of universities in the world, without leaving our shores. Extending this opportunity to international students will contribute to the government’s efforts in increasing foreign exchange earnings.”

The Deputy Vice Chancellor International of SLIIT pointed out that the partnership with Curtin University is of special significance since Australia is the main destination for Sri Lankan students who aspire to an international degree.  According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, close to 7,000 Sri students studied in Australian in 2017. 

This arrangement is timely too in view of the inability of our students to travel abroad for higher education due to the pandemic. Students who will enrol for Curtin University degrees at the SLIIT International Campus will have the option of transferring to a Curtin campus in Australia, if they desire, as soon as the situation improves, and travel becomes feasible.

While studying part of the degree in Colombo and transferring to Curtin University in Australia to complete might be an attractive proposition, students completing their studies in Sri Lanka would have the advantage of gaining the same degree at a competitive fee.  This is of relevance in the current scenario when the Sri Lankan and world economies are facing a downturn.

Deputy Vice Chancellor sees internationalization as an obvious route to take.  “In the past, Sri Lankan higher education was held in high esteem and even emulated by our neighbouring countries; however, over the years, we seem to have fallen behind while other Asian countries have marched ahead of us.  I believe internationalisation of higher education will get us back on track” opined Dr Pitigala-Arachchi.

While the pandemic rages across the world, SLIIT, a trailblazer in the higher education sector for the past twenty-one years, is taking every possible step to help our students continue with their higher education. The SLIIT International Campus is a silver lining in these challenging times, says Vice Chancellor Professor Gamage.

The Curtin University Computing and Engineering degree programmes are scheduled for commencement at the SLIIT International Campus in central Colombo on 1 March 2021.