Sri Lankan universities get $145mn from ADB for science, technology programs

ECONOMYNEXT- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will loan 145 million US dollars for four Sri Lankan universities to develop applied science and technology programmes, the regional lender said.

“The project will help nurture a new breed of technology-oriented graduates equipped with skills and entrepreneurial spirit for the economy,” ADB Principal Social Sector Specialist Gi Soon Song said.

The project, to be completed by 2023, will help the Sri Lankan government’s aim to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy by 2025, she said.

The Sri Lankan government will contribute another 20 million US dollars for the project, ADB said.

The ADB funds will go towards developing technology faculties in Kelaniya, Rajarata and Sabaragamuwa Universities and establishing an engineering faculty in the Sri Jayawardenepura University.

The project will construct climate-proof environmentally friendly faculty buildings which will have well-equipped laboratories, flexible spaces for different kinds of research and learning and facilities that help integrate female students and staff, such as day care centers, ADB said.

New degrees will be created using industry advise and international benchmarks, ADB said.

It said currently there is a shortage of researchers and qualified academic staff, which will also be addressed.

ADB said higher education opportunities are limited in Sri Lanka, with enrolment at 19 percent, compared to a 50 percent average for upper middle-income countries.

It said less than 20 percent of graduates in Sri Lanka are from science and engineering subjects.





ADB said that women should be encouraged to follow technology disciplines to increase career opportunities in areas where wages are high.

The new project is a continuation of a government drive to increase education in the technology streams, which started with an introduction of the stream in secondary education.

The initiative saw 7,000 students from the stream qualifying for higher education annually since 2015.

ADB said the World Bank is providing financing for another eight technology faculties in other universities.



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