UK links' quality checked

December 9, 2005

Private Sri Lankan higher education institutes linked to UK universities are being screened for quality after concerns about substandard courses.

There are 30 British higher education institutions operating in Sri Lanka through local collaborators without accreditation from the country's University Grants Commission (UGC). Sunderland University, Oxford Brookes University and Keele University are on the UGC list for screening.

UGC chairman Ranjith Mendis warned: "If these local institutions do not secure accreditation, the UGC would not recognise their degrees."

The screening is being carried out by the commission's quality assurance and accreditation (QAA) council. "We are not against foreign institutions trying to provide quality education for Sri Lankan students. But institutions should meet all the required standards," Professor Mendis said.

The QAA council has also identified 13 Australian universities, ten from the US, three from India, one from Singapore and one from New Zealand that operate through unaccredited Sri Lankan institutes.

The country's President Chandrika Kumaratunga said: "It is important that the quality of education delivered by such institutions is subject to assessment and evaluation by the UGC."

The Business Management School, which offers an MBA and an LLM (master of laws) from Leicester University and Northumbria University respectively, has registered poor results. Only 32 students got their MBA out of 153 who completed the distance-learning course in 2004 at a cost of £4,500 and two out of secured the LLM, which costs £3,000.

The UGC is to check on the qualifications of the local lecturers, the curriculum and facilities, including infrastructure, at all private providers using foreign courses and exams.

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