Wednesday 19 June 2013


On Tuesday, 18 June, the Minister of Higher Education, S. B. Dissanayake, attended the official opening ceremony of the British Council’s South Asia Series, which brings together key policy-makers and influencers to reflect on and debate the challenges and opportunities facing international higher education. The South Asia Series is a six-part programme of regional educational dialogues, which facilitate discussions between governments, universities and industry with contributions and fresh perspectives from the British Council’s global network of leading thinkers. 

The first session of the South Asia Series held in Colombo on 18 and 19 June, will explore questions and issues relating to higher education and review the trends in university provision in South Asia. It will identify models of good practice in international partnerships in South Asia and in the UK and will ask “what works and why?” The British Council organised the South Asia Series with the aim of providing a platform for the government, universities and industry to come together and explore the shifting international higher education landscape in South Asia with its rapidly changing expectations and responsibilities.

A total of 100 participants including 67 foreign delegates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Hong Kong, Nepal, Malaysia, Pakistan, UAE and the UK, and 35 delegates from Sri Lanka, will participate in the educational dialogues at the inaugural session in Colombo. The participants include Vice Chancellors, Deans, Academics and leading researchers representing state universities as well as private higher education institutions.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Higher Education, S. B. Dissanayake said, “This policy dialogue is a wonderful opportunity for Sri Lanka to further the government’s vision of transforming the country into a regional education hub. We warmly welcome all delegates to the inaugural session of these dialogues which we proudly host in Sri Lanka. I look forward to listening to the different perspectives from South Asia and the UK on new models of delivery in public, private, and transnational education provisions.” 

British Council Country Director Tony Reilly said, “We are honoured to host the very first session of the British Council South Asia Series in Sri Lanka, brought to you in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and the Higher Education for Twenty-First Century Project assisted by the World Bank. The education relationship between the UK and Sri Lanka has always been strong and the higher education sector in Sri Lanka is dynamic and evolving all the time to meet the growing demands of students and parents for access to high quality educational opportunities. Sri Lanka is therefore a perfect platform to kick off this important series of regional educational dialogues.”

The main partner for the first session of the South Asia Series hosted in Sri Lanka is the Ministry of Higher Education and the Higher Education for the Twenty-First Century (HTEC) Project assisted by the World Bank. Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT) and Horizon Campus are the strategic partners. 

The second session of the South Asia Series will be held in London, followed by sessions in Dubai, Mumbai, Dhaka, and finally in Lahore. Participation for these events is by invitation only. For more information about the South Asia Series and to express interest in participating in future sessions of the series, please visit

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