With a vision to empower the youth in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) age, the Informatics Institute of Computer Studies (IICS) which is now known as the Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) was established in 1990.
Chairman of the Informatics Group, Dr. GaminiWickramasinghe was a man with a vision who wanted to cater to the education sector that was at the time in the throes of a crisis due to the social upheavals that had been prevailing in the country. During those grim days state universities were closed for a period of time that resulted to educational activities coming to a complete standstill and students being deprived of their right to education.
The need of the hour
With education being the need of the hour, Dr. Wickramasinghe took an initiative to find a permanent solution to expand the horizons of the then prevailing higher education sector in Sri Lanka. With the view of bringing recognized internal British degree programmes to Sri Lanka, he approached the Oxford Educated Lalith Athulathmudali who was the Minister of Education at the time. The late Minister, who noted Dr. Wickremasinghe’s idea, took it before his colleagues in the Cabinet who consented for such a plan to be implemented.
It was during such an era IICS which is currently known as IIT was born. IICS which was collaborated with the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) was a platform which enabled Sri Lankan students to receive an internationally recognized British degree by studying in Sri Lanka at fraction of the cost of completing the degree programme in UK. With over 30,000 students, MMU was the largest non-federal university in the UK offering over 400 courses. Its stature and the fact that its courses contained a large portion of practical experience and providing strong vocational links with businesses, industries and other professions made MMU the ideal choice for Sri Lanka. A tedious and intricate validation process followed and IICS was inaugurated at a very solemn and colourful ceremony attended by many distinguished dignitaries.
The early years
The first student body consisted of 22 students, and the original faculty of 6 was expanded to 12 for the second year. In 1994, IICS held its first convocation with former President J.R. Jayawardena gracing the occasion as its guest of honour. Over the years the quality of learning and teaching maintained saw student numbers swell with many showing enthusiasm in the ICT sector.
Apart from British degrees being awarded in Sri Lanka, IICS also served as the base that produced a new generation of ICT graduates during a time when Sri Lanka was in need of such specialists due to the rapid growth of the IT sector in Asia. Many have viewed the setting up of IICS as the evolution of the tertiary Education sector in Sri Lanka. With a more modern ideology and with plans of expanding, in 1999 IIT was established and registered with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka by succeeding IICS.
In 2000, IIT collaborated with the Keele University and became the forerunner bringing the first British MSc in IT to Sri Lanka. Following this in 2003, the first British postgraduate convocation was held in Colombo.
In 2005, IIT completed the University of Westminster validation process which has endorsed undergraduate and advanced masters’ programmes. The University of Westminster is an acclaimed modern University having won the prestigious Queen’s award for enterprise for 2 consecutive years.
The rapid growth of IIT and its large alumni base is clear indication of the institute being a preferred choice.