As part of its efforts to assist Sri Lanka in developing human resources, India on Thursday announced a massive expansion of its educational assistance provided to students in this country at a cost of Rs 100 crore by increasing slots in various academic courses.
"I am happy to announce a substantial increase in India's educational assistance, amounting to 2.5 billion Sri Lankan Rupees in grant-funding to assist meritorious Sri Lankan students," external affairs minister SM Krishna said after handing over to Sri Lanka the Galle-Hikkaduwa segment of the Southern Railway project build with Indian assistance.
Under the new scholarship programme, Krishna said, scholarships and self-financing slots for undergraduate, masters and doctorate-level courses will be increased to nearly 270 per year.
The new programmee would be implemented during a period of three years and will cover the course fee, cost of books, boarding and lodging and a monthly stipend to the scholars.
"This marks a three-fold increase, and includes 120 slots for undergraduate courses, 25 seats for IT engineering, 50 slots for Masters-level courses, and 40 slots for a highly-subsidised self-financing scheme," said the minister, who visited the war-ravaged Northern Province.
The new initiative is part of the India-Sri Lanka Knowledge Initiative launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2010 and the schemes would cover various categories of beneficiaries from school students to university researchers and teachers.