The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) intends to achieve a targeted US$ 5bn export revenue from the software industry by 2025. The industry estimates to reach this target, an additional 200,000 IT qualified personnel would be required.
Meanwhile, a recent survey identified that even to sustain the present growth, the Sri Lankan IT industry requires more than 12,000 additional graduates a year.
The GoSL has identified that an urgent solution to this burning issue could only be addressed by the Open University of Sri Lanka, the only state-owned national university conducting study programmes in the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode.
Therefore, the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) together with the University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to rise to this national challenge by admitting 10,000 students to its Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSE) and other IT degree programmes from the year 2021. The Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD) operation has released partial funding for this initiative. Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM) has also partnered in this initiative by providing industry support through facilitating internships and scholarships to deserving candidates.
The study programme will be conducted in all the 9 Regional centres of the OUSL located in Anuradhapura, Badulla, Batticaloa, Colombo, Jaffna, Kandy, Kurunegala, Matara and Ratnapura, and the 19 Study centres in Ambalangoda, Ambalantota, Ampara, Bandarawela, Galle, Gampaha, Hatton, Kalutara, Kegalle, Kilinochchi, Kuliyapitiya, Mannar, Matale, Monaragala, Mullaitivu, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam, Trincomalee, and Vavuniya. Students will be able to access Internet-connected computer laboratories and other facilities at these centres to pursue their higher studies.
The UGC has taken steps to facilitate a no-interest loan scheme for students to follow the programme and also to purchase a laptop for online learning. Details of these will be made available to all selected candidates at a later stage.
The OUSL has also signed an agreement with COURSERA , a platform for providing Massive Open Online Courses. Through this agreement students of the BSE will have access to over 4,300 courses and 750 guided projects offered by leading universities of the world such as Imperial College, London, and the US universities: John Hopkins, Duke, Pennsylvania, etc., and organizations such as IBM, GOOGLE, AMAZON etc without any additional payment. Based on the internationally recognized credit-transferable certificates obtained by the students, from these institutes, the OUSL will grant appropriate credits to its programme.