Sri Lanka is keen to establish itself as an education hub in Asia, trading on its affordable and accessible location, tourism appeal, significant (Chinese-funded) development and existing sandwich course agreements with overseas universities.
The Sri Lankan government has outlined plans to open up its higher educational system to private overseas university investors and aims to attract 50,000 international students and 10 foreign university campuses by 2020, starting with a UCLAN campus which will open in September 2015.
Sri Lanka says it still aims to become an international education hub by 2020, despite signs earlier this year that the plans had stalled. The Higher Education Ministry said last month that it wanted attract more foreign branch campuses as well as convert local universities into world class universities.
Austrade, the Australian government’s trade and development arm, has highlighted growing recruitment opportunities in Sri Lankan schools for Australian providers, after organising a visit to Colombo. About 4,500 Sri Lankan students are currently enrolled at Australian universities, while a number of Australian HEIs operate offshore in Sri Lanka.