With a vision to empower the youth in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) age, Informatics Institute of Computer Studies (IICS), now known as Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), was established in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1990.
Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe, Chairman of the Informatics Group is a man with a vision who wanted to support the educational sector. At the time Sri Lanka was facing social upheavals, causing state-run universities to close for longer periods of time thus bringing academic activities to a complete standstill.
The Need of The Hour
Academic education being in dire straits Dr. Wickramasinghe took the initiative to offer a solution for the higher educational sector in Sri Lanka. With the view of bringing recognized international British degree programmes to Sri Lanka, he approached the Oxford educated Lalith Athulathmudali, Minister of Education at the time, who presented this idea to the Sri Lankan cabinet for approval.
This was the birth of IICS, known today as IIT. IICS joined hands with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), enabling Sri Lanka students to study internationally recognized British degree programmes in Sri Lanka for a fraction of the price.
With over 30,000 students, MMU was the largest non-federal university in the UK at the time 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 validation process to partner with IICS followed which resulted in IICS being inaugurated at a very solemn and colourful ceremony attended by many distinguished dignitaries.
The Early Years
In the first year there were 22 students and 6 faculty members. That number increased to 12 in the second year. In 1994, IICS held its first convocation with former President J.R. Jayawardena gracing the occasion as the guest of honour. Over the years the quality standards of learning and teaching were maintained, thus resulting in increased numbers of students as there was lot of enthusiasm for studying in the ICT sector.
Apart from British degrees being awarded in Sri Lanka, IICS also served as the base producing a new generation of ICT graduates to cater for the rapidly growing IT sector in Asia. IICS is seen as the pioneer for the development of the tertiary education sector in Sri Lanka. In 1999 IICS was succeeded by IIT, a Board of Investment (BOI) registered company in Sri Lanka, having a broader vision and plans of expansion.
In 2000, IIT started a collaboration with Keele University, bringing the first British MSc in IT to Sri Lanka, with the first British postgraduate convocation held in Colombo in 2003.
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 growing alumni base is a clear indication of its professional reputation and quality standards.