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SL to host two major international higher education events

Two international conferences will discuss quality standards in university education


Sri Lanka is set to host two back-to-back international conferences on quality assurance of higher education in March, this year. Hosted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) Sri Lanka, the 15th biennial conference of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) will be held in Colombo from 25 to 28 March, followed by the 15th Annual Academic Conference of the Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN) on 29, 28 March. Both events will be held at the BMICH.

INQAAHE is a worldwide association representing nearly 300 organisations tasked with quality assurance in higher education. According to the UGC, Colombo won the opportunity to host the INQAAHE conference following a successful pitch in a highly competitive pitching-session in 2017, beating China, Vietnam and Chile. The pitch, an 8-minute video presentation narrated by UGC Chairman Prof. Mohan De Silva himself, comprises eye-candy shots of the island’s cultural splendour and biodiversity befitting a tourism commercial.

APQN, meanwhile, is a non-governmental and non-profit network with 208 members from 40 countries and territories representing the Asia-Pacific region. The network, according to the UGC, invited the Commission to host its conference following the successful INQAAHE bid.

Cabinet approval has been granted for both conferences, and the UGC hopes to recover the expenses from participation fees, ranging from USD 500 upwards per head.

The theme for the first event,  to be held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena, will be ‘quality assurance, qualifications and recognition: Fostering trust in a globalised world’, while the APQN conference, featuring Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Chief Guest and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya as Guest of Honour, will focus on ‘quality assurance in the Asia-Pacific region: Insight into the Future’.

According to Prof. De Silva, both conferences will provide an opportunity for a number of Sri Lankan higher education institutes — both state and non-state — to share and learn from international best practices with respect to quality assurance. The UGC hoeps the events will provide a platform for all engaged in higher education in the exchange of knowledge and skills necessary to create an education experience that is rewarding and fulfilling to all students.