Colombo Telegraph

As Anti-SAITM Protests Intensifies, Susil Premajayanth Endorses New Private-Foreign Biotechnology Degree

Even as hundreds of students and doctors took to the streets against the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine more commonly known as SAITM, Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayanth endorsed a new biotechnology degree offered by a private university.

Susil Premajayanth

A press release issued by Northumbria University said that Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayanth speaking at the launch of the Northumbria’s BSc Honours Degree in Biotechnology at the Business Management School (BMS) in Colombo had emphasized the need for Sri Lanka to plan their educational goals in terms of future developments in applied sciences, and named Northumbria University’s biotechnology degree as a key part of that growth.

In recent weeks, protests against institutions such as SAITM has intensified with trade unions from the education sector also joining university students and the GMOA claiming that by allowing such institutes to issue medical degrees, it can result in a dwindling of standards of the quality of doctors and other medical practitioners produced in Sri Lanka.

Northumbria University, Newcastle has become Sri Lanka’s first UK University to launch a biotechnology degree. The University of Colombo has its own institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Bio technology, while the University of Sri Jayewardenepura also has a Faculty of Technology which offers Bachelor of Bio-Systems Technology.

St. John Usher, Head of Applied Sciences at Northumbria University, said: “Northumbria’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences has enjoyed a hugely successful working relationship with BMS in Sri Lanka over the years and we’re delighted to be able to announce this latest programme in what is a very exciting and emerging science in Sri Lanka.

“The biotechnology sector of India is currently on a strong growth trajectory and Sri Lanka has recognised the importance of this industry in the growth of its own economy. This is the first year that BMS, in collaboration with Northumbria, has recruited students to the biotechnology programme and it’s great to see that some of the teaching on this degree is being provided by our former Masters students,” he said.

In 2015 approval was given to franchise the final year of the BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science programme to BMS. This has involved extensive development of state of the art laboratories at BMS so that students are assured of a high quality learning experience. This development provides students from Sri Lanka with the opportunity to study in their home country, with a considerable reduction in cost when compared to studying abroad, the press release said.

We publish below the press release in full:

As Sri Lanka looks toward emerging sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle has become the island’s first UK University to launch a biotechnology degree.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayantha spoke at the recent launch of Northumbria’s BSc Honours Degree in Biotechnology at the Business Management School (BMS) in Colombo.

Minister Premajayantha emphasised the need for Sri Lanka to plan their educational goals in terms of future developments in applied sciences, and named Northumbria University’s biotechnology degree as a key part of that growth.

The partnership between Northumbria University and BMS has developed over many years with BMS being one of Northumbria’s strategic partners. The School developed a strong partnership with Northumbria University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences after the launch of its BSc Honours Degree in Biomedical Science in 2013.

St. John Usher, Head of Applied Sciences at Northumbria University, said: “Northumbria’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences has enjoyed a hugely successful working relationship with BMS in Sri Lanka over the years and we’re delighted to be able to announce this latest programme in what is a very exciting and emerging science in Sri Lanka.

“The biotechnology sector of India is currently on a strong growth trajectory and Sri Lanka has recognised the importance of this industry in the growth of its own economy.

“This is the first year that BMS, in collaboration with Northumbria, has recruited students to the biotechnology programme and it’s great to see that some of the teaching on this degree is being provided by our former Masters students.”

In 2015 approval was given to franchise the final year of the BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science programme to BMS. This has involved extensive development of state of the art laboratories at BMS so that students are assured of a high quality learning experience.

This development provides students from Sri Lanka with the opportunity to study in their home country, with a considerable reduction in cost when compared to studying abroad.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Newcastle Business School, at Northumbria, and BMS is entering its 12th year and has produced more than 1,000 graduate students.

Dr Wijewardena, President of the Business Management School (BMS), was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law by Northumbria University in 2016.

His career at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka lasted 37 years culminating in nine years as the Deputy Governor, responsible for economic research, monetary policy, financial system stability, public debt, rural credit and banking.

Simultaneously, he was the Chairman of both the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board.

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