President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday opened the South Asian Centre for Teacher Development at the premises of National Institute of Education in Meepe, Padukka.
The institution is expected to play a pivotal role in the transformation of the teacher development process in the South Asian region. The President opened the first facility to be built for the institution, a state-of-the-art Information and Communication Technology Laboratory.
Later he participated in the “ Guru Prathibha Prabha – 2012” at the same premises, where over 800 chosen teachers from all districts were felicitated for their special contribution and innovation to the uplift of education in Sri Lanka.
The event was held to coincide with the ‘World Teachers Day’ which was commemorated on October 5. President making a special declaration on the occasion of the opening of the South Asian Centre for Teacher Development noted that this has been initiated in keeping with the aims of the ‘ Mahinda Chinthana ’ - Vision for the future. He said that the initiative was funded by the government with approval and under the auspices of the UNESCO and on the initiative of Education Minister cum UNESCO Chairman of Sri Lanka. The Teacher Development Centre will provide leadership to support policy development, enhancing research and implementation of change in building a quality teaching force within the SAARC region.
In addition to the IT lab other facilities to come up shortly will include a main auditorium, hostel facilities for 500, eight lecture rooms,, office block, a multi media studio, open theatre, a cafeteria, and dining hall, a book shop, a bungalow and officers quarters.
The facility is to be fully completed by 2015. The total cost of the project will be Rs.570 million. It would offer a Bachelor of Education Degree and a MSC in Education for Teachers from the SAARC region.
Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena describing how such an institution came to be in Sri Lanka said that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) had approved this, in the organizations sessions held last year in Paris.