The 6th Joint Conference 2010 of the Staff Development Centre, (SDC ) University of Colombo and Sri Lanka Association for Higher Education Effectiveness (SLAIHEE) was held in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo on Monday 5th April 2010, 9 am to 4.30 pm.
The theme of the conference was "Challenges in sustaining best practices in higher education". The SDC and SLAIHEE are both committed to improving life skills and performance capabilities of university teachers and students. SLAIHEE embodies the vision of transforming higher education in Sri Lanka to empower individuals to become socially effective as productive, accountable and caring citizens.
The conference was inaugurated by Prof. Nelun de Silva, president of SLAIHEE who welcomed all the participants totaling about 80, and she wished them a very productive and effective learning experience during the conference. The occasion was graced by Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama, Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo who delivered the opening address where she congratulated the organizers and reiterated her support to SLAIHEE in all its endeavours.
The Chief Guest was Prof. PL Ariyananda, Professor of Medicine, University of Ruhuna whose key note address sensitized the participants to some ailments that have befallen the curricula of higher educational institutions which as a physician, he aptly named curricular sclerosis rather than a curriculitis, since they are more chronic in nature. He also recommended suitable remedies for such ailments.
The participants were honoured by the presence of Dr. Suki Ekaratane, the pioneer who almost single handedly initiated SLAIHEE way back in 2004-2005, who has been a continuing source of encouragement to the Executive committee and the membership of SLAIHEE. Dr. Ekaratne too thanked the organizing committee and congratulated them in the overall organization of the conference.
The inauguration was concluded by Ms. Shrinika Weerakoon, Acting Director, SDC, University of Colombo who thanked everyone for their total commitment in organizing this conference.
A total of 14 scientific papers were presented by several university academics. Two parallel sessions were held each accommodating seven papers. The abstracts were peer-reviewed, and were in line with the conference theme based on experiences supported with evidence. The presenters are congratulated for believing that they are committed to evidence based improvement of higher education in Sri Lanka.
The Annual General Meeting of SLAIHEE followed the presentations and it was open for registered members only. Two new members were appointed to the executive committee; to the post of treasurer and a committee member. This was followed by lunch.
Dr. Suki Ekaratane conducted a workshop on Managing Change to ensure sustainability of Best Practices in Higher Education for the registered participants of the conference in the afternoon in the SDC seminar room with the active participation of more than 50 academics.
Abstracts of previous conferences and the 2010 conference could be viewed at News letters .