The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), in its 21st year of operation, will expand into a whole new space in higher education. They are engaging top administrators and academics, drawing the best talent in the education sector to support this endeavour.
In line with this objective, SLIIT has engaged expert educator and academic, Dr Athula Pitigala-Arachchi, as the Institute’s Deputy Vice Chancellor International. Dr Pitigala-Arachchi, who was CEO of the Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT) from 2004 to 2020, is a highly accomplished individual with a notable career in education.
“As SLIIT has rapid expansion plans for the coming year, we are fortunate to have experienced people in the higher education sector joining our institute. This is an endorsement of our potential to grow this industry in the right direction. In this post-lockdown environment in Sri Lanka, this sector is at a crossroads, and we believe this is an opportune time to expand our offerings so that students here and in the region will see Sri Lanka as a hub for higher education,” says Professor Lalith Gamage, Vice Chancellor of SLIIT.
An alumnus of the University of Peradeniya, the newly appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Bristol, UK and BDS (Hons) degree from the University of Peradeniya. He has had advanced training in research and other facets of higher education in the UK, the Netherlands and the USA. He has participated in numerous international conferences on higher education gaining a deep understanding of the global trends. His experience in higher education is vast with years spent in teaching, research and academic leadership. He has an abiding interest to promote internationalisation of the higher education system in Sri Lanka.
Dr Pitigala-Arachchi served the University of Peradeniya for many years as a senior academic and administrator; he served the University as the Deputy Vice Chancellor for 4 years before joining APIIT where he held the position of CEO for the past 16 years. Dr Pitigala-Arachchi played a key role in strengthening and restructuring APIIT and developing successful corporate strategies that helped the institute to expand and stay competitive.
He has served on the University Grants Commission (UGC) Standing Committee on Quality Assurance. Presently, he serves on the Standing Committee on University Education of the National Education Commission. He is also the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Education for the EDB. In the latter position, his mandate is to help promote Sri Lanka as a destination for higher education with a view to attracting foreign students and earning foreign exchange.
Under their new expansion programme, SLIIT will not only target local students but will attract international students looking for safe higher education opportunities overseas. Further, SLIIT will strengthen and expand its partnerships with leading overseas universities to offer foreign degree programmes in the country. These are areas Dr Pitigala-Arachchi specialises in as he spearheaded one of the finest transnational education programmes in the country during his 16-year tenure with APIIT. His management and marketing expertise, business acumen and expertise in developing winning corporate strategies would make him a fine addition to the dynamic team at SLIIT.
Established in 1999, SLIIT is the only not-for-profit, non-state degree awarding institute in Sri Lanka, approved by the UGC under the Universities Act. They are a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and the International Association of Universities (IAU). SLIIT is the first Sri Lankan Institute accredited by the Institution of Engineering & Technology UK. They offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses accommodating over 9000 students including international students from various regions from the world. SLIIT attracts the largest share of higher education students in Sri Lanka. With 5 faculties, 2 campuses in Colombo and Malabe and regional campuses in Jaffna, Kurunegala, Matara and Kandy, the institute offers its students industry internship programmes with leading multinational and local organizations in Sri Lanka. This provides them the opportunity to learn beyond the taught content and gain greater understanding on the practical application of knowledge.