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Indian university to open branch here- Minister

The Manipal University of India would be the first international university to open a branch in Sri Lanka. Discussions are underway to set up a branch in Sri Lanka by next year, said Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayake.

He was addressing annual prize giving of Hanguranketha Sirimavo Bandaranaike Balika Vidyalaya.

"Sri Lankan students go to the Manipal University to follow a medical degree spending Rs. 35 million. But after the establishing of a Manipal University branch here,we can offer that degree for Rs.10 million" he said.

Dissanayake further said that the reason for the low cost to follow the degree is that government is providing tax concessions,free land and other facilities. There are only two countries in the world without private universities. That is Cuba and South Korea. There are 3301 private universities in India and 137 in Beijing, China. The Higher Education Ministry has planned to establish another international university in Deniyaya. An Astrology, science and engineering university would be set up in Hantana area.

The Government has no intention of destroying the free education system by establishing international universities. President Mahinda Rajapaksa wants to widen free education and improve the standard of local universities, he said.

"Those international universities would be subject to our conditions. They should grant a 20 percent share from the total intake as Scholarships for poor local students. We will also not allow local academies to teach full time in those universities", said the Minister. Nearly Rs 20,000 million in foreign exchange is being drained out of Sri Lanka due to student migration for higher education.

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