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Your Higher Education pathways during COVID-19 times

ESOFT Metro Campus is a trusted name in higher education, with over 20 years of experience in serving the Sri Lankan youth.  They have built a name for awarding qualifications from reputed international partners including Pearson (Edexcel) UK, the British Computer Society (BCS), London Metropolitan University UK, and Kingston University UK.

Q: Dr.Dayan Tell us something  about ESOFT.

A: Well, we started in 2000 with just one location, and today we have grown to be an educational network covering more than 40 locations and all provinces in Sri Lanka including the north and the east.  When other institutions were focused on building large facilities in one location, ESOFT concentrated on taking our services to the rural areas to make education more accessible and affordable.  Today, ESOFT Metro Campus is a UGC Approved Degree Awarding Institution which is also ISO9000 certified.  We are accredited by the British Computer Society for offering their programmes, and are the only Platinum Partner of Pearson here in Sri Lanka.

Q: How has the COVID19 situation impacted the educational landscape in Sri Lanka?

A: I would say that it has been impacted in more than one way. On the one hand, the students that would go to their local education centre is unable to do so because they have to worry about their health and safety due to the lockdowns and curfews.  Some students are therefore postponing starting their studies and thereby wasting their time.  Then, there are students who would have done their local or international ordinary or advanced level exams with the intention of going overseas to complete their higher education.

Popular destinations include the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Malaysia.  These plans are also postponed due to the borders being closed, and even if they do allow people to come in, parents are having to rethink whether they can safely keep their children overseas, because the COVID19 situation is worse in some of those countries.

Q: What opportunities do you offer for someone to pursue a British higher education?

A: The most economical pathway that we offer is the Pearson BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) programme. We offer this in multiple streams of Computing / IT, Business Management, Hospitality Management, Travel and Tourism Management, as well as several disciplines in Engineering.  The main benefit is that the HND is equivalent to the first two years of a British honours degree.  After completing it, the student can do the final year of a UK degree (either in Sri Lanka or in the UK) and earn the full degree qualification.  It’s cheaper, and faster, and well recognised.

For students interested in earning the full three years of the degree from the university itself, we also offer the full three year degree from Kingston University UK, in the areas of Software Engineering, Web and Mobile Application Development, Networking and Network Security, Multimedia Technology, and Cyber Security & Digital Forensics.

Q: What advice do you have for the parents who were looking forward to sending their children overseas?

A: In the current context, it would be safer to keep the children in Sri Lanka and start their higher education locally.  They can either complete their HNC or HND with us, or the first or second year of our Kingston University degree programmes.  Once the situation improves in your destination country, the student can easily transfer to the University and complete the education.  In addition to saving you time, it will also help reduce your investment, since starting the education locally will be much more cost effective, but you get the same qualification.

Q: Do you offer international transfer programmes?  How expensive are they?

A: Yes we do.  Students who complete the HND, or the first half of it (the Higher National Certificate), or our foundation programmes can easily transfer to our partner universities or to many other universities that we represent as an international agent.  We also have articulation agreements with Newcastle University in Australia, and Massey University in New Zealand allowing the student to transfer to those universities after achieving their HND with us.  The student would have to pay the university the relevant international fee per year, and the exact value would depend on the type of university and their rankings.

Q : What about direct placement with foreign universities? Does ESOFT provide any services for such customers?

A: We have university and college partners to match with your financial capabilities and your educational goals.  We have a number of representative agreements with universities and colleges in UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Malaysia, India, etc.  We will guide the student through the entire process of programme selection, application, and other aspects including visa requirements.  It’s important to stress that ESOFT does not charge an additional fee for these service.

Our foreign placement services are available via our Premier Education Centre at the One Galle Face Mall, or via any of our branches located islandwide.

Q : If the worst were to happen, what options can you offer the learners to continue their education?

A: We are geared and ready to deliver our programmes 100% online.  During the last lockdown, we offered all of our courses online with real time lecturing via Microsoft Teams, as well as online recorded video lessons via our custom developed Learning Management System (LMS) for anytime and anywhere learning.  We also have the capability to run certain examinations online.  Students can therefore confidently register with us, as we will ensure that the learning process will continue.  Last time, we even went to the extent of giving free data packages to students to facilitate their e-learning process.

It’s important to stress that the foreign Universities that we work with have given us the go ahead to offer our programmes online so that we can offer uninterrupted services to our customers in the North, South, East, or West via multiple centres in Colombo, Gampaha, Negombo, Kurunegala, Kandy, Galle, Matara, Jaffna, and Batticaloa which are approved to offer the London Metropolitan University Degrees.

Q : Since this is the A/L exam time, what can you tell the students about the security of their future?

A: The A/L exams are especially stressful for students, as it is a barrier that they have to cross with very high results to get into a state university.  This stress also makes some students to perform badly.  Our educational landscape has changed now, where a successful result at the A/L’s are no longer needed to continue higher education.

Even if the results were not ideal – or a fail – students can enter into the HND pathway through us.  The BTEC HND does not pressurise the student to memorise facts.  Instead, it focuses on a more hands-on approach and the assessments are assignment and project based, where we test the ability of a student to practically apply what has been learnt.

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