The future of Sri Lanka as a Middle Income Country will depend on knowledgeintensive
activities. In this context, intellectual and human capital is of vital importance
to enable Sri Lanka to develop and compete effectively in the global knowledge economy
of the twenty-first century. Sri Lanka urgently needs a higher education system that can
produce well-educated, skilled, hard-working and enterprising graduates and innovative
researchers capable of promoting dynamic economic development.
It is no secret that the teaching staff of the Universities play a vital role in this context,
and the importance of high quality human resource capital in the higher education sector
cannot be over- emphasized. The World Bank funded HETC Project has provided 200
scholarships for MPhil/PhD training for academic staff of Universities. I am pleased to
announce that this is the largest number of scholarships awarded at a given time in the
history of Sri Lankan higher education sector, covering 10% of the PhD requirement of
the academic staff. The scholarship program will undoubtedly help the country to
develop this critically important group, by strengthening their resources.
It is anticipated that the recipients who are awarded scholarships today will benefit from the foreign exposure that will
accompany the grant. I also believe that through this program the Sri Lankan Universities will strengthen their research
capacities, and take a very crucial step towards upgrading Sri Lankan Universities to World Class Status.