High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha emphasized the need to further upgrade the educational cooperation between the two countries. Towards this endeavor, he proposed that a high level Sri Lankan delegation could visit India in early 2013 to comprehensively discuss bilateral educational relationship.
He made these observations speaking at the “Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Directors (CVCD) Excellence Award -2012”. High Commissioner of India was invited as a key note speaker on the occasion.
The CVCD award, instituted in 2006 and distributed once in two years, recognizes outstanding contributions made by scholars and researchers in Sri Lanka’s University system. The High Commissioner spoke on the theme, “Role of innovation in nation building and its importance in India-Sri Lanka knowledge partnership”.
In his key note address, Mr. Ashok Kantha stressed on the importance of innovation which could help in bridging the vast gap between developing and developed countries. Citing the case studies of simple innovations in India, Mr. Kantha pointed to development and use of electronic voting system which contributed significantly in strengthening the democracy.
He also highlighted the ongoing implementation of Unique Identity (UID) card or Aadhar scheme in India which is expected to revolutionize the implementation of developmental schemes including by way of direct cash transfers. Placing cash directly into the hands of deserving people is likely to not only cut down middlemen but also totally eliminate leakages in the system.
Mr. Ashok Kantha recalled the visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India in June, 2010 when the leaders of two countries launched “India-Sri Lanka Knowledge initiative”. Both countries have taken several steps to implement the same. Mr. Kantha informed that number of fully paid scholarships for higher education in India was more than tripled from the current academic session of 2012-13.
The scholarships, for which government of India would spend Sri Lankan Rupees 2.5 billion over 3 years period, are available to pursue undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees covering virtually all the areas of study. In addition, vital assistance is being rendered in providing assistance under trilingual society launched by government of Sri Lanka, setting up of language laboratories in all the nine provinces, setting up of vocational training institutes and setting up of Agriculture and Engineering faculties in North.