Exclusive Interview with Prof. Samantha Thelijjagoda, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research & International, SLIIT
Prof. Samantha Thelijjagoda, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research & International, at SLIIT discusses SLIIT’s international degree programmes, offered in collaboration with prestigious institutions such as Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Deakin University and the University of Queensland and how they enhance the quality of education and equip students with necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in a competitive world.
Q: Can you provide an overview of the international degree programmes offered by SLIIT in collaboration with Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Deakin University and the University of Queensland?
We offer our programmes in two modes. Firstly, we have franchised agreements with universities worldwide, delivering their degrees exclusively in Sri Lanka while others are available partially in Sri Lanka. Our strong partnerships with prestigious universities such as Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, Deakin University and the University of Queensland in Australia enable us to provide a diverse range of degrees in Sri Lanka. Some programs are partially conducted here for the first or second year, while others are entirely delivered on our campus. Students also have the option to complete part of the programme in Sri Lanka and then continue their studies in the respective country.
For example, our collaboration with the University of Queensland, which is a G8 university in Australia, enables students to complete their initial years in Sri Lanka before transferring to Australia. Similarly, our Fashion Business and Management degree programme with Manchester Metropolitan University offers students the opportunity to obtain a UK qualification without leaving the country. Additionally, our long-standing partnership with Liverpool John Moores University provides programmes in Business Administration, Architecture, Quantity Surveying, Psychology, Law and Interior Design, which can be completed entirely in Sri Lanka or transferred to the UK. Nursing programme of the Deakin University, Australia allows our students to complete up to Diploma level in SLIIT and to complete the rest of the degree in Australia.
These four universities have gained international recognition and hold prestigious rankings. We prioritize collaborations with reputable ranked universities as part of our efforts to enhance and expand our offerings.
Q: How do collaborations with these renowned universities enhance the educational experience for SLIIT students?
When collaborating with foreign universities, we carefully select reputable institutions worldwide. Currently, we have partnerships with four universities for which we offer their programmes. Additionally, we collaborate with over 25 reputed universities, particularly in Computing, Engineering and Business, to send our students for different specializations or programmes. At SLIIT, we strictly adhere to the curriculum provided by these universities. Our students receive identical lecture content, assessments, and evaluation criteria as their peers abroad. Link tutors, who are academic staff members from partner universities, directly engage with our coordinators in Sri Lanka.
Through this collaboration, our students gain an education equivalent to that of their counterparts overseas. We are also inviting foreign faculties to deliver specific components or modules in their degree programmes here in Sri Lanka. These faculty members will conduct workshops, guest lectures, and special class sessions for our students, creating a similar experience to studying abroad. While the curriculum remains the same across the degrees, slight modifications may be made in certain areas, such as fashion degrees, to align with our local industry too.
Q: Do these international degree programmes contribute to the professional development and career prospects of enrolled students?
Our local students benefit from vast employment opportunities upon completing these degrees. Graduates enjoy an exceptional employment rate of over 95%. These globally sought-after foreign qualifications meet high-quality expectations. Our degree programmes ensure students receive an equivalent education. They open abundant prospects across various sectors for both our students and the industry. In fields like Computing, Business, Engineering, Architecture, Quantity Surveying, Psychology, Interior Design, Nursing and Law graduates can pursue diverse global opportunities.
For instance, Fashion Business and Management graduates can excel in marketing, international brand management, digital enterprise, buying, merchandising, logistics, supply chain, and retail management. These programmes are thoughtfully designed to meet emerging industry demands. Recognizing local interest, we collaborate with these universities to offer the same degrees in Sri Lanka. Additionally, students studying these programmes for two years by completing it, can explore employment opportunities in the UK and Australia, which provide distinct pathways.
Q: Can you elaborate on the support and resources provided by SLIIT to students pursuing these international degree programmes?
The support we provide to all our students at SLIIT level is consistent and equitable, regardless of their programme. However, it is important to highlight the specific support we offer to students in international programmes. They are enrolled under the International Division of the Pro Vice-Chancellor’s (Research and International) Office, ensuring dedicated attention. We assist with visa arrangements, accommodation, consultation, scholarship opportunities, communicating with foreign universities, research collaborations, and related matters through this division. Students receive comprehensive guidelines and dedicated staff members provide necessary information and assistance. Each faculty has programme coordinators and support staff to guide new students, offering insights, career opportunities, and pathways for further education.
Our university offers a state-of-the-art learning environment with modern lecture halls, laboratories, full-time professors, true campus environment, opportunities to engage in various sports, club activities and more. We encourage extracurricular activities, providing facilities for overmentioned clubs and sports to enhance soft skills and the student experience. International students in these programmes receive dedicated support from the International Office, including individual consultation and assistance.
Partner universities like Liverpool John Moores University, University of Queensland provide access to research databases, libraries, and online learning support materials for our students. We have prepared their recommended course material here in SLIIT too. Supportive facilities such as Blackboard enhance the easy-to-use, social and mobile learning experience, ensuring access to resources similar to those available to students abroad, thus providing a comparable educational experience.
Q: Do these international programmes offer transfer pathways for students?
In addition to the mentioned universities, we collaborate with over 25 renowned institutions worldwide as I mentioned above, including in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and Russia. Our Transfer Pathways facilitate seamless credit transfers, allowing students to continue their education at partner universities. Many students take advantage of these pathways, transferring after one or two years of study in Sri Lanka or directly joining programmes in the partner countries. Engineering and Business programmes are popular, but other fields like computing, architecture, quantity surveying, interior design, and fashion business are also noteworthy. We aim to expand opportunities for students to transfer from Sri Lanka to these countries in the future in many more subject areas.
I would like to invite all the prospective students to join SLIIT and embark on a transformative educational journey that will shape your future and lead towards success on a global stage. Your aspirations await, and we look forward to welcoming you to SLIIT!
For more information on international degree programmes, contact +94 11 754 4801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org