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By Shanika Perera
Since its establishment in 1999 in partnership with the Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology in Malaysia and Staffordshire University in UK, APIIT Sri Lanka has set impressive standards in tertiary education in the fields of IT/Computing and Business Management. APIIT’s goal is to provide internationally recognised higher education opportunities in Sri Lanka and produce globally competitive graduates to meet the demands of modern society and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
APIIT has always been on the lookout for expanding education opportunities for Sri Lankan youth. In identifying a pressing need for high quality legal education, APIIT established the ‘APIIT Law School’ in 2009 to offer internal British Degrees in Law.
APIIT Law School is the first fully fledged private Law School established in Sri Lanka for the purpose of educating and training the Sri Lankan youth for the legal profession. The overarching goal of the APIIT Law School is to help meet the increasing demand for legal education in the country and contribute to the advancement of the legal profession. Presently, APIIT Law School offers an internal British Degree in Law awarded by Staffordshire University in UK. This LL.B (Hon.) programmes is identical to the programme awarded to internal students studying in UK.
Staffordshire University, the partner university of APIIT Law School, has more than 40 years of experience in legal education. It has continuously maintained a record of excellence and has been awarded the “commendable” (highest category) rating by the Quality Assurance Agency for teaching and learning, student progression, and learning resources. Staffordshire University Law School was recently awarded top marks by the Quality Assurance Agency and the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority in UK as one of the best providers of Legal Education for undergraduate, postgraduate and professional awards. Learning methods adopted for programme delivery and the state-of-the-art learning environment at the university is top of the range, and is continuously monitored and upgraded. These high standards are not just a fixture at the UK University but are extended to all their partnerships worldwide.
Mr Peter Jordan of Staffordshire University Law School, who was recently on a monitoring visit, explained the collaborative arrangements with the APIIT Law School. He stated that the quality assurance framework in place at APIIT Law School has been developed in line with prescribed standards of Staffordshire University and it is aimed at ensuring high quality and standards in all aspects such as adequacy of learning resources, competence of lecturers, quality of teaching, level of student support, effectiveness of assessment strategies, etc. Further he explained that the University also undertakes regular audits to ensure that appropriate and effective teaching and learning opportunities are provided to all students.
Mr Jordan, briefing about his role as the International Programme Advisor (IPA) for APIIT Law School, outlined his responsibility in ensuring quality and standards of the delivery of Law programmes and the comparability of student experience between APIIT Law School and Staffordshire University in UK. He elaborated about the broad range of Quality Assurance Processes including external monitoring of adequacy of resources, quality of delivery and student assessment. In addition, he visits the APIIT Law School at least twice a year to conduct audits and make independent assessment of compliance with university standards. Thereby an international standard of education is maintained at the APIIT Law School. At the APIIT Law School, therefore, students are assured of only the very best in terms of teaching quality, teaching and learning methods, learning environment and learning resources.
Ms Susan Green, Programme Leader at the APIIT Law School, speaking about the delivery of the Law Degree stated that the innovative teaching and learning initiatives are both academic and professional in their approach, with a view to producing internationally recognised legal professionals in Sri Lanka. Whilst learning about the British system, students are also guided through the different nuances of the same law, applicable in Sri Lanka, thereby making the degree programme relevant to the Sri Lankan legal environment. The examinations are strictly marked in keeping with the university regulations and are moderated by the University before final results are released. She further stated that the student performance of the first batch of students was very pleasing to both APIIT and Staffordshire University, being favourably comparable to the students studying at the university in UK.
She also stated that at the end of level two, APIIT Law School will introduce a legal placement option which will provide students with the much needed practical knowledge to better equip them for their final year of studies.
A unique feature of the Internal LL.B (Hon.) Law Degree is the SKILLS training programme that takes place throughout the first year to impart skills for legal studies and employability, including legal research, making presentations and client interviewing. Students are provided with access to online resources of Staffordshire University. The teaching and learning takes place through interactive lectures, small-group tutorial classes and workshops. As part of the tutorial programme, students are also taken to courts to provide practical exposure to the law. Further training on mooting is conducted to allow students to argue hypothetical cases to improve their practice skills. They will also be provided with opportunities to participate in mooting competitions nationally and internationally.
From the many outstanding facilities offered at the APIIT Law School, the exceptional Faculty rates high on the list. Lecturers are highly qualified academics; most of them are full-time lecturers at the Law School and therefore are able to provide students with the extra attention and guidance needed. The full-time teaching panel is supplemented by visiting staff from the universities and practising lawyers. In addition, there are also eminent guest lecturers consisting of some of the top names in the Sri Lankan legal field involved to provide a practical perspective.
APIIT Law School comprising modern infrastructure facilities is a purpose-built Law School. The modern library and IT laboratories including e-learning resources are ideal for completion of assignments and undertaking legal research. The moot court, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, is a unique feature of the APIIT Law School and provides practical training and prepares students for the legal profession. State-of-the-art lecture theatres and tutorial rooms are conducive for interactive learning. All in all, the teaching/learning and other support facilities are similar to those of leading British Law Schools.
Students have an excellent support system throughout their course of studies. Those requiring additional support with language skills are provided with comprehensive training in English to enable them to reach competency.
The English Language Centre equipped with modern computer aided teaching facilities offers customised programmes to suit student requirements. Each student is also assigned a personal tutor who is able to provide guidance and advice for any difficulty the student may face during study. Additionally, a lecturer functions as the class mentor to support student learning of each intake.
Graduates of the LL.B (Hon.) degree will be eligible to qualify as Attorneys-at-Law to practise in Sri Lanka after successful completion of the Sri Lanka Law College examinations. The optional bridging programme at the end of the third year of LL.B (Hon.) will prepare students for the Sri Lanka Law College examinations and orient them for legal practice in Sri Lanka. Students also have the option of transferring to Staffordshire University after completion of one or two years of study, or undertaking a summer semester programme at Staffordshire University, and embarking on the further stages of training for a professional career as Barristers or Solicitors in UK after successful completion of the professional studies and training requirements set by the respective professional bodies.
For the first time in Sri Lanka, students have the opportunity to read for an internal LL.B (Hon.) degree from a recognised British University at a fully fledged Law School. Students go through a rich learning experience in a real university environment. This all round legal education provided by APIIT Law School prepares them with legal knowledge, legal skills and practical exposure to become successful in the modern legal profession. “We are optimistic about the future and are confident that we will be able to serve the need for strong legal education in Sri Lanka”, said Ms Prashanthi Rajaratnam, Centre Manager.
With its strong international relations, outstanding resources and focus on quality higher education, APIIT Law School is no doubt the ideal place for students to pursue a world renowned legal education in Sri Lanka.
Union says 90 per cent of academics have handed in their resignations
By Lakna Paranamanna
More than 90 per cent of those in university administration countrywide have tendered their resignation letters to the authorities resulting in administrative functions of universities on the verge of a breaking down, Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) said yesterday.
The FUTA said heads of departments, coordinators of units as well as hostel wardens and centre directors have tendered their resignation letters as part of the trade union action urging the government to give a substantial salary increase to university academics.
FUTA President Nirmal R. Dewasiri said by yesterday a majority of officials holding administrative positions in almost all the universities including Colombo, Moratuwa, Jaffna, Eastern, Ruhuna and Sri Jayewardenepura and the Nawala Open University had handed in their resignation letters.
“We have not received any favourable response from the authorities except for a circular from the University Grants Commission claiming that resignations should be given with three months notice. But it is a futile move as section 51 (III) of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 does not refer to the resignation process,” Dr. Dewasiri said.
He said university teachers have been asking the government for a pay hike since last year and added that academics in Sri Lanka had one of the lowest salary scales in South Asia.
Dr. Dewasiri said if the government failed to provide a reasonable solution to the issues faced by the academics they would refrain from attending to the 2011 A/L evaluation process as part of their trade union action.
Friday, 06 May 2011 00:58