12/01/2020, 16.54
SRI LANKA
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Catholic Church offers university to young Sri Lankans

by Melani Manel Perera

The goal of the BCI Campus is to extend educational opportunities to a wider segment of the community, says Cardinal Ranjith. Thus, many students will be able “to receive the higher education they deserve, and make it affordable without compromising the quality of content and delivery.”

Colombo (Asia News) – The Benedict XVI Catholic Institute (BCI) in Negombo will become a university, Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church announced yesterday at a media briefing.

The Ministry of Education granted the educational establishment the authority to award degrees, which now include a Bachelor of Business Management Hons (BBM) and Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Hons (BSc IT).

The decision was published in the Extraordinary Gazette (2201/4) of 9 November 2020. The first student will arrive in January 2021.

Speaking to the media, Card Malcolm Ranjith, BCI’s first chancellor, said that the goal of this institution is to provide educational opportunities to a wider segment of the community.

For the prelate, BCI is will make it possible for “many students to receive the higher education they deserve, and to make it affordable without compromising the quality of content and delivery.”

He stressed that the institute will be operated as a non-profit entity, focusing on upgrading the skills, competences, and attitudes of its graduates.

What is more, the aim of the project will be developing good civilised people who can face life with strength, not be spreading religion.

The idea for the BCI Campus is the result of a conversation he had with Pope Benedict XVI, which Pope Francis welcomed during his visit to Sri Lanka.

The cardinal thanked the Sri Lankan government “for accepting our request to turn BCI into a degree awarding institute.” He also used to occasion to say that “this institution is available for the government, other institutions, and those responsible for higher education to use to approach more and more young people in the future.”

The prelate had “special thanks for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his fullest support to build a beautiful green campus.”

BCI Campus director Fr Quintus Fernando briefed the media, illustrating the new degrees, noting that this is “a major milestone in BCI's journey as the institute now becomes a University Granted Commission (UGC) approved degree awarding institute.”

“The BCI Campus was started six years ago with a unique and holistic approach to higher education, which emphasises developing students' professional/academic knowledge and skills whilst mentoring them to assert their dignity and integrity as true human beings.

“We are determined to produce world-class graduates who are equipped with the right knowledge and skills to meet the evolving demands of the job market. Most importantly, they will also be quality human beings with great values. In this regard, the BCI Campus is turning a new leaf in the [history of the] country's higher education''.

The BCI Campus offers several higher education programmes: English, IT and Professional Studies with more than 17,200 students enrolled since its inception.

The institute recently launched BRIDGE, a university preparation programme developed in line with the university bridging programme recommended by the Ministry of Education

“Scientists have identified five skills that will be needed by future generations, that is, the ability to analyse, business knowledge, numbering technology, creativity, and emotional intelligence. All of them “are all well integrated in both of our programmes,” said Prof Ajantha Dharmasiri, a member of the Academic Council of BCI Campus.

This “is why we ensure that these courses are well prepared to suit tomorrow,” he added. Indeed, “We have also planned to impart that knowledge to children through the two courses designed by a very mature staff.”

BCI Campus provides students with more than just academic opportunities as the institute is dedicated to training well-rounded, responsible, knowledgeable, confident and moral individuals who can excel anywhere in the world for their chosen vocation.

To this end, BCI employs a team of highly skilled education professionals with many years of experience and a dedication to teaching that goes far beyond the classroom. They are complemented by a team of support staff who ensure perfectly efficient operations.

The campus’s modern facilities provide students with all the tools, technology, and resources they need to succeed. Indeed, the buildings and their surroundings are designed to provide an interdisciplinary community of learning, friendship and well-being.

The campus is a world-class facility, with beautiful natural gardens and rich vegetation. This in turn ensures the right atmosphere, which encourages open mindedness to knowledge and promotes personal growth.

When student begin enrolling, they and their parents are encouraged to visit BCI for more information. More information is available on www.bci.lk or by calling 031 2035100/070 6035100.

The media briefing held at the Bishop's House in Colombo was presided by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo and founder of BCI Campus, Father  Quintus Fernando, Rector of BCI Campus, Prof Ajantha Dharmasiri, chairman/director of the Board of Management, Post Graduate Institute of Management (PIM); Lalith Senevirathne, Group CEO of Sri Lanka Telecom; Nimal Perera, Secretary in the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, and Eardley Perera, Member of the Governing Council of the BCI Campus and a former lecturer at the Post Graduate Institute of Management (PIM).

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