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AHEAD operation at the Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo

Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD) operation is aimed at higher education sector of the country which is with central importance to enable Sri Lanka make the transition from a Lower-Middle Income Country (LMIC) to an Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC).

Recognizing this need the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the World Bank have agreed to support higher education sector through funds organized under two components. The first is a Program Component that supports the National Higher Education Development Program. The second is a Systems Strengthening, Capacity Building and Technical Assistance Component that will assist the GoSL to strengthen the higher education sector and achieve the objectives of the AHEAD Program Component. It will also cover monitoring and evaluation, policy analysis, program coordination and communication.

The AHEAD operation expect to expand enrolment of undergraduates in priority disciplines, improve the quality of degree programs and promote research and innovation in the higher education sector.

The AHEAD operation focusses on three result areas as follows;

  1. Increasing enrollment in higher education with special emphasis on study programs required for an aspiring upper-middle-income economy
  2. Broadening and deepening modern teaching and learning approaches that combine academic excellence with high-quality socio-emotional skills
  3. Promoting a vibrant research and innovation culture that can support economic development, especially the growth of higher-value industries and services

This operation is implemented through Ministry of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs (MHECA) and coordinated among universities through University Grants Commission (UGC). The Operations Monitoring and Support Team (OMST) coordinate and support all AHEAD activities between the MOEHE, UGC, and the universities, whilst Operational Technical Secretariat (OTS) coordinate and support internally between faculties and departments of the University.

The AHEAD operation at the Faculty of Arts is allocated with a total amount of LKR 120 Million and will operate at the faculty until end of year 2021 expecting to achieve above result areas. Therefore, outlining the actions that this project will perform the Project Team have proposed following activities.

Activity 01 : Enhancing Employability

Activity 02 : Improving students’ research skills

Activity 03 : More effective utilization of LMS and introducing blended learning

Activity 04 : Creating an accessible and equal learning environment for all students with disabilities in the Faculty of Arts.

Activity 05 : Enhancing English language proficiency of students to support bilingual instruction in the FoA

The Faculty of Arts of the University of Colombo is considered being the largest Faculty in the University in terms of student population which is above 2000 at present. It has 10 Departments and five Teaching Units offering three year and Hons. Bachelor of Arts degree programmes in Humanities and Social Sciences, etc. The FoA look for opportunities to enhance value and quality of the programmes delivered to its students. Therefore, it is expected that components of this project will assist to privilege further number of students regardless of their gender, societal status, disability, etc. to be skilled and educated with industry requirements enhancing eligibility to be employed at Public or Private Sector Companies reaching out to economic development of the country.