ESOFT’s role in Sri Lanka’s higher education sector.
ESOFT is not just another institute that awards qualifications. Instead, ESOFT offers a range of products and qualifications, and plays a big role in bridging the skills gap of the youth of the country. ESOFT focuses on how to make a school leaver into someone employable, where they take 35,000 enrolments per year in 40 centres around the country. Since the University Grants Commission recognises the international partners that ESOFT operate with, their UK degrees therefore are UGC recognised. ESOFT ensures that their degrees are more affordable and accessible to the average middle class family of the country. Considering the economical situation and other difficulties within a family, ESOFT is willing to take the risk, and offers instalment based course fee payments where the student / parent can pay in low monthly instalments. Also, Having many teaching institutes island wide, ESOFT offers the Higher National Diploma (HND) programme in more than 15 locations around the country making it less expensive and more comfortable for the student by making it closer to home. ESOFT aims to make British higher education more reachable and affordable to everyone and thereby to create a globally employable world class individual. ESOFT courses attempt to empower students who are studying in state universities, allowing them to follow the selected course on a part time basis while studying in the state university full time. This method earns the student a double qualification while helping them to follow their passion at the same time.
Recognised qualifications offered by ESOFT.
ESOFT offers a verity of courses including certificate level short courses which are designed to impart specific skills. These programmes are either TVEC registered, or international certifications coming from reputed names such as Microsoft, Oracle, and Cisco. ESOFT have now started to introduce NVQ qualifications throughout the country, to cater for the requirements of those who are looking for recognised and affordable local government qualifications. ESOFT also offers several other internationally recognised courses. Their Diplomas and Higher National Diplomas come with certification from Pearson UK, which is the world’s largest awarding body, and the their Degrees and Degree level qualifications come from London Metropolitan University and Kingston University UK, and the BCS: Chartered Institute for IT – UK, and the University of Colombo School of Computing for the BIT External Degree.
Since presently, Sri Lanka does not yet have a mechanism to regulate or control institutions like ESOFT which offer these types of foreign higher education qualifications, that is why international partnerships and accreditations are important, so that the recognition is there for the qualifications that the students achieve. Having said that, ESOFT is fully in favour of the relevant authorities taking the lead in introducing such a regulatory body for private sector higher education institutions. This will allow institutions to ensure that a quality delivery of service occurs. As it is right now, ESOFT is academically reviewed by Pearson UK, London Metropolitan University UK, and Kingston University UK on a regular basis.
ESOFT’s Social Responsibilities
There are a number of projects that ESOFT has carried out over the years, with the intention of contributing back to society. Prominent among these are the following projects. This includes IT Master Mind; a national quiz competition that ESOFT did in collaboration with the Computer Society of Sri Lanka, eThilina Computer Lab Donation; a concept of ESOFT, done in collaboration with Sirasa TV, Merit based scholarships for state university students which ranged from 100% to 25% and several development work at Schools including seminars and teacher training programmes.
Recognition for achievements
ESOFT partnered with the British Computer Society in the year 2000 as a registered course provider, and since then have produced more than 50 Sri Lankan and World Prize winners, thereby helping to bring international recognition to Sri Lanka. In 2007, ESOFT became the only Accredited Course Provider of the BCS in Sri Lanka. In 2014 and 2016, BCS recognised ESOFT as the Gold Partner (highest level) in the large scale institution sector for our unique accomplishments. ESOFT partnered with Pearson Edexcel in 2009 to offer the Higher National Diploma qualifications. By 2012, they collected their first of many awards as the fastest developing centre in Sri Lanka. By 2013, ESOFT achieved Gold Partner status which was again awarded in 2015 and 2016 for three consecutive Gold awards. Recently ESOFT was awarded the Platinum Partner award by Pearson for the year 2017.
What the Critics have to say
The current allegation against ESOFT involves two students of the Gampaha branch who claim that they were cheated of their money. This was adamantly denied by ESOFT. Reasoning their denial, ESOFT responded that there are numerous academic requirements that need to be fulfilled including assignments and presentations while the students concerned have completed only half of their qualification in terms of assignments and assessments Furthermore ESOFT stated that the two students should have complained or raised their concerns about the matter to the head office, if they were not happy with the solutions given by the concerned branch. Even though a number of solutions were presented to them to complete their qualification they were focused on solving the issue with the involvement of the legal authorities. This issue has now developed to a position where 3rd parties are getting involved into it, with the vested interest of ensuring that private sector higher education is shut down. With regard to any issue related to ESOFT or their streams or disciplines, ESOFT offers the facility of discussing it with the related authorities. Orally or written, signed or anonymous, the institute is willing to help with regard to any issue that might affect any of the students or their parents. Regarding the present situation, ESOFT is ready to offer a possible solution available within a reasonable timeframe, as ESOFT is committed to ensuring that no student is disadvantaged.