February, 12, 2024
The British Council in Sri Lanka successfully hosted its annual networking event to welcome home the most recent batch of Sri Lanka’s Commonwealth Scholars from the UK on completion of their studies.
The event held at the Mövenpick Colombo was attended by a large number of Commonwealth Scholars from Sri Lanka along with British Council staff. The event featured an informative panel discussion with the participation of five of the returning scholars where they provided insights about their application process, choice of subject, learnings at their universities, experience of living in the UK and their short- and long-term plans on how they hope to apply their new learnings. This was followed by an interactive networking session. The returning scholars of 2023 have completed their postgraduate studies in diverse fields including Dementia Studies, Plant Molecular Genetics, Crop Science, Human Resource Management, Virology, Special and Inclusive Education, Environmental Engineering, Geographical Information Systems, Economics and Development Economics.
The British Council Head of Programmes Sanjeevani Munasinghe commented: “Since its inception in 1960, nearly 1,150 Sri Lankans out of a total of over 30,000 global scholars have received the opportunity to study in prestigious universities in the UK under the Commonwealth Scholarship scheme. Many of these scholars have progressed to achieve great things in their careers and the impressive alumni list includes Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, Nobel Prize winners, academics, diplomats, writers and leaders in major NGOs and businesses. Scholars from Sri Lanka have gone on to become a Central Bank Governor, Bank Chairpersons, Vice Chancellors of universities, Chair of the University Grants Commission and much more.”
The British Council Education Programmes Manager Hameema Haniff stated, “I want to highlight the importance of scholars updating their contact information on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission website. This is particularly crucial because the CSC is organising activities to commemorate its 65th anniversary. Additionally, past scholars, many of whom are academics, can play a vital role in promoting the scholarship to their students and junior lecturers at their respective universities.” She further recapped the various events and achievements of the Commonwealth Scholarship during the past year.
Commonwealth Scholarships are awarded to highly talented citizens and permanent residents of a Commonwealth country who demonstrate the potential to make a positive impact in their home country and the global stage. Every year hundreds of students from all 56 Commonwealth countries are given the chance to pursue postgraduate degrees at leading UK universities. This scheme is aimed at students who would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the UK. By funding postgraduate studies in a range of different study formats, the scheme helps to support future innovators and leaders. Sri Lankans can gain access to a series of scholarships including PhD Scholarships, Split-site Scholarships, Master’s Scholarships, Shared Scholarships, Distance Learning Scholarships, Medical Fellowships and Professional Fellowships.
All Commonwealth Scholarships are funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and are offered under six Commonwealth Scholarships Commission (CSC) development themes. These include science and technology for development, strengthening health systems and capacity, promoting global prosperity, strengthening global peace, security and governance, strengthening resilience and response to crises and access, inclusion and opportunity. While there are no restrictions on what a student can study, the CSC gives priority to applicants whose studies are most relevant to their development criteria.
The application process for Commonwealth Scholarships differs according to the type of scholarship. Applications open around May/June of each year. For more information, please visit: https://cscuk.fcdo.gov.uk/ and https://www.britishcouncil.lk/study-uk/scholarship
Panel discussion with Sri Lanka’s Commonwealth Scholars
Image Caption : The British Council Head of Programmes Sanjeevani Munasinghe