Monday, July 15, 2019
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SLIIT Interview With Prof. Rahula Attalage

SLIIT established in 1999, is a leading non-state degree awarding institute approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC) under the Universities Act. SLIIT is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), as well as the International Association of Universities (IAU). SLIIT is also the first Sri Lankan institute to be accredited by the Intuition of Engineering & Technology, UK. Currently, SLIIT offers both undergraduate and postgraduate programs and accommodates over 7000 students, including international students from several regions in the world.
More than 10000 alumni (including around 1200 from postgraduate programs) have graduated from its faculties (Faculties of Computing, Engineering, Business, and Graduate Studies & Research) with the recently established Faculty of Humanities & Sciences, yet to produce its graduates. Following are the excerpts of an interview held with its Dean of the Graduate Studies& Research,Prof. Rahula Attalage on the forthcoming open-day.

Q: What lead the SLIIT to offer Postgraduate programs both courses based, and research based?

Prof.Attalage – SLIIT was started in 1999 offering undergraduate programs to cater to the IT industry.
With the need for the evolution of the program, it was necessary to incorporate dynamic changes and appropriately extend its boundaries by increasing the breath and the depth and use the benefit of introducing post-graduate programs.
The vision and the mission of the SLIIT clearly caters to the advancement of knowledge and also foster innovation and research &development. So, in that perspective it was obvious to extend what were offered and to add the graduate studies and research arm.

Q: SLLIT is not the only institution in the country to offer graduate studies. How would you asses the competition in attracting students?

Prof.Attalage – Most of the state universities have a legacy of having started their programs fewdecades ago. Sri Lankan state funded universities admit students who have excelled in their advanced level examination performance. So, the non-state highereducation institutes are faced with a competition in attracting self-funded students to undergraduate programs.Furthermore, the post-graduate programs in state universities did emerge relatively late and in some state universities they are still evolving. Especially in the recently established state universities.
However, the state universities have competition among them in attracting postgraduate students as well. So, on the same grounds, the new postgraduate program entrants in the non-state sector will have a tougher competition. The faculty of graduate studies & research at SLIIT has a sound framework in meeting academic quality assurance (QA) best practices but appropriately flexiblein administrative sense, compared to many faculties at state and other non-state universities in terms catering to the demand effectively and efficiently and would be a potential option for postgraduate studies.

Q: Now that the undergraduate studies/ postgraduate studies are underway at SLIIT, how would you asses the current growth?
Prof. Attalage – The post-graduate programs started in 2002 at postgraduatediploma level. This has evolved to the extent of offering Master of Science degrees based on taught mode since 2004 and more recently Master and Doctor of Philosophy programs (MPhil & PhD) based on research mode. Currently we have around 15 students with us for the MPhil and PhD.
The MBA and the MSc havearound 100 students per year. Despite the competition, we have been able to maintain a steady intake of student and endeavour a slight growth without compromising the quality of the delivery of the programs.

Q: What are the programs and courses you offer at SLIIT?

Prof.Attalage – MSc and Postgraduate Diploma (in Information Technology, Information Management, Information Systems, Information Technology specializing in Cyber Security, Information Technology specializing in Enterprise Application Development, Master of Business Administration and Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) as research-based degrees in Computing and in Engineering.
Q:What do you have in mind for the proposed open-day?
Prof.Attalage – We are reaching out to the potential stakeholders and candidates enabling them to make a knowledgeable and an informed decision in assessing their needs and matching the strengths and potential of the programs in offer for their career progression.
It is for the students envisaging to develop their career beyond the first degree.
Our staff will help them to reach a decision to suite their needs.
Parents, students, or any interested party could walk in search of education at SLIIT.

Q: So, what are your plans to reach out in terms of publicising the open-day?

Prof.Attalage – Our marketing division has organised the open-day, planning well in advance. The intake will commence in January 2019 and the open-day is on the 24th November.
Different propaganda/publicity activities are in place to take the message out to the public.
SLIIT offers different discounts set on the course fee from 10% to SLIIT alumni and 20% discount for corporates for groups not less than 04 candidates.

The SLIIT is also offering concessions to all those who would enrol on the open-day by an amount of 15% of the course feeand are targeting around 50-60 student registrations from this open-day (AH)

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