There are a large number of private universities and many institutions that offer foreign degree programmes from countries like USA, UK, Australia and Malaysia. However, selecting which degree to follow can be quite the dilemma. Thus, here are a few things to consider when selecting a foreign degree programme.
University ranking in home country
Most of the degree awarding universities of most private education providers in Sri Lanka is based overseas. Some of these universities are sometimes below the accepted level of ranking in their own countries. Thus, if you want to make an informed choice, you must always refer to globally recognised university rankings. By doing so, you will ensure that you do not fall prey to false advertising in addition to the added opportunity of gaining access to well paid jobs. University ranking and recognition can be a decisive factor in gaining access to well paid jobs and ensuring a place in an esteemed postgraduate intuition.
Who will teach you?
Most of the foreign qualifications offered in Sri Lanka are taught by local lecturers without relevant foreign exposure. This in turn prevents students benefiting from a complete international education experience mainly because the lecturers themselves are unaware of what needs to be taught. Furthermore in many institutions it’s common practice to see majority of faculty members with basic professional or academic qualifications teaching areas outside of their sphere of expertise. Thus, it is quite important to find out some information about the qualifications of the lecturers and teachers before you sign up to a foreign degree programme. After all, the reason you’re doing a foreign degree programme is so you can receive an education outside of the country.
Job prospects for graduates
The true meaning of university education goes beyond examinations and project assignments. Employers today need graduates with multiple skills who can start with minimum training. This is even more valid for regional and global employment where only the very best gets selected for top jobs.
The examination focused approach of most Sri Lankan private university education establishments fail to achieve the full potential of modern university education. The resulting graduates are not what the companies want. Thus, it is important to figure out if the possible degree you select has job assurances.
Academic quality assurances
Degrees awarded locally by these foreign universities must be identical to those granted by the partner universities, and they should be accredited through the relevant accreditation bodies. The partner universities should conduct regular audits and assure equal academic and infrastructural standards. All national and regional accredited universities are listed in the UNESCO handbook of universities. This is used as the guideline by all government higher education authorities including UGC (University Grants Commission) in Sri Lanka.
Local campus facilities
As students of foreign university qualifications you are entitled to a minimum certain basic facilities from the local education provider. A good library and student resource centre with adequate reading and study material, computer labs with up-to-date hardware and software configurations and high-speed internet connections, fully equipped engineering and science labs, classroom with proper seating, space and basic facilities such as multimedia, internet and air-conditioning are considered as the absolute minimum for any international university student.
As a result of limited local resources most students are unable to enjoy the full benefits of their degree programme. Thus, it is very important to check if these qualities exist. If you wish to keep up with your foreign counterparts, the ground must be equal.
Quality of students and their values
It’s quite unfortunate to see that graduates who are the products of these private institutions are alien to Sri Lankan culture and values. A proper understanding of local values and the ability to understand local, regional and global issues through international education is an essential quality in the job market. Furthermore it’s very important to know the calibre of other students who will be with you in the same class. This is an important aspect of informal education in university student life.
Value for money
It’s sad to see that many parents and students wasting millions of rupees due to the lack of knowledge in their decision making. As rightful consumers parents and students have a right to question whether they get full value for their education investment. Spending the most on education is hardly the case. If you can afford a foreign degree programme, which very few can, you must see if you will get your value for money and this means all the factors mentioned above should be present.