Message From The Vice-chancellor
Wayamba University of Sri Lanka is the 13th national university in Sri Lanka. It was established in October 1999 has shown potential for rapid and steady development over the past 21 years. One more feather added to the cap of Wayamba University’s successful development, was the establishment of Faculty of Medicine, as the 9th Medical Faculty in Sri Lanka to offer an excellent educational environment for learning, teaching and research in the fields of medicine. I assumed duties as acting Vice-chancellor amidst worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. As the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to be felt extensively in many areas around the world and Sri Lanka is not exceptional in this regard. As COVID-19 continues to redefine daily life and the operations of the entire world, everyone has had to change how they do even the most basic of things.
Perhaps one of the most crucial has been how COVID-19 has changed the way education is accessed by the youngest to the oldest. The sudden closure of universities and other educational institutes in the country has necessitated the virtual delivery of vast numbers of courses. As acting Vice-chancellor of Wayamba University my immediate challenge and task in this unprecedented time is to ensure the health and wellbeing of the students and other university employees (academic and non-academic) in line with the latest WHO recommendations and Sri Lankan government guidelines which have required an enormous amount of rapid decision making, planning, and understanding from all.
Our academic and non-academic staff continue to support our students from various faculties by working and delivering instructions remotely. Long before the curfew, state universities had already begun exploring remote learning. This had taken form in several initiatives ranging from Learning Management Systems (LMS) to utilizing platforms such as Zoom to conduct online lectures. But due to the coronavirus, like elsewhere in the world, these initiatives were accelerated in Sri Lanka as well. The Learning Management System of Wayamba University was timely revamped by the IT department to utilize it to complement face to face lectures. In most cases, it is utilized as a central hub where students can access lecture notes, additional learning materials, submit assignments, and discuss topics with their peers. It has been observed the the online teaching and learning methods adopted by us are very successful with almost 100% engagement and interactions by the students. Students engaged very well with the portal, content, peers and facilitators and the academic staff served as scaffold for the students during online teaching and learning.
The “Operational guidelines on preparedness and response for covid-19 outbreak for work settings” as guidance released by Ministry of Health and Indigenous Health Services on 17th April 2020 adopted in all premises (Kuliyapitiya – Makandura – Labuyaya) of Wayamba University to ensure health and wellbeing of the students and employees. The University Grant Commission guidelines and instructions will be followed to conduct examination on priority basis and thereafter opening the university in staggered manner to resume routine teaching and learning activities. I can assure that the university is doing everything it can to support affected students by offering personalized study plans, online orientation and other measures to minimise the impact on their studies. We hope that all students can commence or continue their studies with as little disruption as possible.
Dr Sanjeewa Bowatte
MBBS MD MRCP(UK) MRCP (London)
Acting Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Councillor, Sri Lanka College of Internal Medicine
Member- Royal College of Physicians of United Kingdom
Member- American College of Physicians