Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Business University – National School of Business Management(NSBM)

NIBM (National Institute of Business Management) affiliated new University has been approved by the Cabinet, to be set up on 50 Acres of land in Homagama owned by the UDA, with an initial Investment of Rs5Billion. The Foundation is expected to be laid in March with Academic Activities set to commence in 2014.

The idea is to allow students with suitable O levels to go straight into this College and get a degree within 4 years, thus short circuiting the current cumbersome route where it takes 5 to 6 years after sitting for A levels to actually walk out with a degree. It sounds eminently sensible at first glance, and they expect an annual intake of about 12,000 students (current entry into 8 state Universities is 22,500 per annum) The idea is for degree programs to cover areas such as Management, Marketing, IT, Engineering and Design. I have only extracted this from a government owned newspaper and to that extent I qualify that what is said, proposed and actually likely to be achieved can vary immensely to possible even make my blog entry about this a waste of time.

I am taking the trouble to cover this information only on the assumption that if it is in fact successful there are many basic foundations in the Education of Sri Lankans, which must be in place before we can even begin to contemplate this. As the reality from ground breaking to opening is ambitious it is more likely it will happen around 2015 or 2016, and the initial intake is likely to be no more than 2,000 students. However I applaud the establishment of such an institution, especially to short circuit the time it takes to get a degree, a wholly wasteful exercise in Sri Lanka. I had an honors degree in Economics almost at my 21st birthday, as I studied in the UK, while most of the young people I have to liase with on youth programs only get their degrees when they are 26 or after, and often know a lot less than I did at 21!!

I believe this University though owned by the Government will be a “for profit” or at least fee based to cover the cost of education, and thereby not qualify as an Institution of Free Education in the Tertiary Sector. It is possible therefore to offer courses of excellence and courses that are directly catered to specific types of managerial jobs. To that extent I believe it will produce graduates who should be able to find employment in the private sector and not the state sector and also have to make a huge financial sacrifice to go there, and thereby are unlikely to waste their time. In reality this is another Private University, although owned by the Government and funded by it. The success or failure of this is completely dependent on the commitment and caliber of the Board and the funds allocated together with the level of political interference in its activities.

It will be interesting to see whether my predictions or the governments will turn out to be more accurate. I also predict that the cost will double to Rs10B and the project will be fraught with wastage and kickbacks that will delay its opening to the detriment of the students and the country.


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