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Fifty golden years of NIBM

Monday, 10th of September 2018

The name of National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) is today synonymous with education services with international standards. Following its vision of becoming the best business education and consultancy institute in the land, NIBM has been offering unmatched education opportunities in management, information technology design and languages in Sri Lanka. The stability of being a fully state owned institute mixed with the customer driven efficiency of the private sector, which NIBM has adopted, convert to well recognized qualifications at reasonable cost offered to the employed as well as school leavers for professional and personal development. Looking proudly back, at its fifty-year anniversary, we see multiple things. It has been a long journey devotedly serving the nation. The contribution has been strenuous to meet the expectations of policy makers of five decades with diverse objectives. For fifty years under seven Presidents, twelve Prime Ministers and numerous line Ministers National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) has always taken the best route to meet the needs of the time. It is worth revisiting some of these achievements as they are achievements we remember with pride.

Humble Beginnings

NIBM was born, on August 16, 1968, first as a business unit of Industrial Development Board (IDB), which conducted management training programmes for the Public and Private Sector employees. This effort was in collaboration of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Labour Organisation (ILO), acting as the executing agency of this unit called Management Development and Productivity Centre (MDPC). It was the very first management training institute of Sri Lanka, with objectives of training of industrial, commercial, and service personnel, and also providing consultancy and research services for public and private sector clients. Its first premises at McCarthy Road, Colombo 7 had only two classrooms. A significant transformation happened with the policies of new government in 1970 which focused more on the role of the public sector in industrial development. The government started wide scale training for public sector officers to meet its five-year plan objectives. In addition to the industrial training courses provided for graduates the institute then also trained cadre at Tyre Corporation, Steel Corporation, Cement Corporation, and Sugar Corporation. Key private sector clients were Bata, Lever Brothers and Ceylon Tobacco Company.

From NIM to NIBM

A key administrative development was the institute becoming an independent body under the Ministry of Industries and Scientific Affairs on October 1972, after seceding its ties with the IDB, under the new name National Institute of Management (NIM). It also moved to a new home at Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7, where it still continues. The design for the new building of the NIM was created by the renowned Architect Jeffry Bawa. The NIBM was incorporated in 1976 under the National Institute of Business Management Law, No.23 of 1976. NIBM has been fast in gaining acceptance as a viable institute of higher education in Management disciplines. In 1977, NIBM held its first international seminar in collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, UK, which had a participation from Asian and Pacific regions. NIBM also collaborated with many other international agencies in carrying out specialized training and research activities.

Information Age

Necessity to build technical capacity for fulfillment of open economic policies of the new government made NIBM install a Wang minicomputer system in 1978 at a time the country had not more than one or two computers. That had 256KB memory, the largest computer memory in the country at the time, and 10MB of hard disk of which 5MB was fixed and 5MB was on twofoot diameter removable platters, and an 8” diameter diskette drive, five interactive terminals, and a floor standing matrix printer. Several staff with Bachelor degrees in Maths and Science and programming experience, were recruited to form the new IT faculty of NIBM. In 1979 NIBM started offering its ever popular “Diploma in Computer System Design” course for the public. Later the computer facilities were used to provide It services for the Public Enterprises Division of the General Treasury. The two 4800 kbps links used for this purpose, between NIBM at Wijerama Mawatha and Treasury office at Fort were the very first data communication links in Sri Lanka. The demand for training in IT rose sharply in the early 1980’s. The curriculum of the Diploma Programme in Computer System Design was expanded to suit the needs as many of the participants were being recruited by computer suppliers and user organizations even before the completion of the course. The University College Dublin, of the National University of Ireland, was selected as partner for the Higher Diploma. NIBM staff were trained at UCD for the conduct of the Higher Diploma.

International partnerships

In addition to UNDP and ILO, Research Institute for Management (RVB) of the Netherlands, Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany, Asian Productivity Organisation (APO) Japan, UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) and SIDA (Swedish International Development Association) have provided financial and technical support during the early stages of NIBM developments. The collaboration with APO was a catalyst in improving productivity improvement. NIBM’s pioneering efforts in creating the National Productivity Awards scheme has prompted the need for increased productivity. NIBM hosted the 35th Workshop Meeting of the National Productivity Organisation (NPO) in February 1995. The Secretary General of the Asian Productivity Organisation (APO) Japan, Mr. Kennachi Yanagi made an official visit to attend this meeting. Concurrently with this workshop, APO had sponsored a Round Table Conference in Sri Lanka to formulate a productivity declaration for Sri Lanka. The productivity campaign of NIBM for the year included a Productivity Awareness Programme, National Productivity Award for the Manufacturing Sector and an Annual Convention and Workshop on Value-Added Measurements.

Economic contribution

By the time NIBM reaches the end of its third decade, the positive impact it made on economic development has been noticeable. Commensurate with its new Mission to improve the international business competitiveness of Sri Lankan enterprises by increasing awareness and enhancing productivity and quality through the development of management skills and systems, NIBM forged ahead with added vigour. It has also transformed itself into a standalone body without depending on Treasury for its sustainability. NIBM commenced its first Bachelor of Science de g ree pro gramme in Management Information Systems in November 1996 in collaboration with the University College, Dublin, Ireland. The UCD School of Business is the leader in business education in Ireland and has a high regard internationally. It is a major component of the National University of Ireland. The MIS degree course was a three-year programme and those who completed the NIBM Higher Diploma in Computer Based Information Systems could directly enter from the second year of the MIS degree programme. The first convocation was held in 1999 with NIBM becoming in par with the other universities of the land then.

New Millennium

The new millennium has brought new challenges and as a consequence, unprecedented developments. NIBM has been at the forefront of introducing Productivity and Quality Management Systems to both the public and private sector establishments in Sri Lanka. The Division also launched the world renowned productivity and quality improvement systems, Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. To cater to the increasing demand for learning English, the English Language Unit was also established in 2006. It conducted Diploma, Certificate and Professional Certificate programmes in English Language, designed to enable students to acquire a variety of skills including speaking, business writing, reading and listening. By this time, the NIBM building, together with its new wing introduced in 2008, was packed with students throughout the day. Although the number of students has increased and the revenue was in surplus, the Governing Board felt that students need a larger space to study, play, and socialize to become more creative. NIBM’s Colombo premises was bursting at its seams with classes filled to capacity, crowded corridors and canteen. Further expansion was achieved with the establishments of National School of Business Management (NSBM) in 2011 under the Companies Act, No.07 of 2007 as the degree-awarding school of NIBM by offering degrees through the University Grants Commission. NSBM Green University now operates from its premises at Pitipana Homagama. There were also initiatives to move out to regions. First regional branch of NIBM was set up at Kurunegala in 1986. Kandy branch joined ten years later in 1996, and then Galle (2010) and Matara (2014). These branches also offer the same courses conducted at Colombo serving eight districts in four provinces of the country.

National Innovation Centre

The NIBM-Limkokwing National Innovation Centre (NIC) is NIBM’s unique contribution to the nation in its Golden Jubilee year. NIBM joined hands with Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Malaysia to establish this first such venture for creative technologies to be established in Sri Lanka. It is established as a part of the Sri Lankan government’s continuous efforts to propel Sri Lanka into a twenty first century digital nation. As a game-changer in Sri Lanka’s creative institution sector, NIC presents a range of programs from Multimedia, Fashion, Design, Interior Architecture, Communication, Journalism, Sound and Music and Information Technology, which will empower a new generation of graduates who will lead the creative industries. National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) today has a student population of more than 10000 both in full time and professional categories and permanent academic faculty of more than 70 with the support of 200 external faculty. Through its dynamic partnerships with international universities such as Coventry University, an award-winning UK university, ranked 12th in the UK, renowned for excellent teaching, learning and student experience, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, an international University with a global presence across four continents, with international students coming from over 150 countries, and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) a public research-intensive university in engineering, science and technology NIBM currently offers high education opportunities at unbelievably affordable prices for the Sri Lankan students. A fully state owned enterprise under Ministry of Science, Technology, Research, Skills Development & Vocational Training and Kandyan Heritage, it is an institute any student can join with trust, to achieve academic excellence. That is one single reason that makes us so proud in this golden jubilee anniversary. We at NIBM are still young & passionate about improving higher education sector by setting standards based on a platform of best practices. We firmly believe we create a cutting edge by being the best amongst the other players in the industry. We strive to sustain our leadership by keeping well ahead of this game. Having above in mind NIBM is poised to celebrate its golden jubilee in a grade scale with the theme “Create Your Dream Life with NIBM” We are thrilled to have your presence to witness this unique event with your family & friends.

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