Sri Lanka: Gateway to Asia

Raji Jayasinghe, our VP for Asia and Press Officer, and Dilini Gunasekera, our Country Director for Sri Lanka, and I just spent two weeks in Sri Lanka developing a range of partnerships that are positioning Ubiquity to provide high quality education for Sri Lanka and the Asian market. This is an extremely exciting opportunity for students all around the country who will, for the first time, get to experience a whole new kind of education that they have never experienced before.

The picture you see shows Raji and I with a group of AIESEC students at their annual gathering. There are about 1000 AIESECers in Sri Lanka. We agreed with their outgoing and incoming presidents to partner with AIESEC/Sri Lanka to provide course facilitators and trainers for the other partnerships we are forming, thus bringing Ubiquity and AIESEC together in a strategic way. That means that if you are an AIESEC student in Sri Lanka you will soon have plenty of opportunities to engage with Ubiquity’s course content as a student or as a working professional. What’s more, you will have the chance to earn college credits if you participate in any way!  

We also brokered our first major Asian partner — ESOFT, the largest private education provider in Sri Lanka, with 35 centers nationwide and 30,000 students. Their specialty is IT/Business. We have agreed to develop a “High Tech/High Touch” approach to learning with an initial group of 10,000 of their students. That means that students across all the Districts in Sri Lanka will have the unprecedented opportunity to supplement their technical skills with the type of soft skills that will help set them apart in the job market. They will thus confirm our hypothesis that if you apply a High Tech/High Touch learning system, students will learn more, they will enjoy their learning more, and they will be better equipped for the job market and living a successful life.

As far as we know, there is nothing like what Ubiquity is doing — partnering with STEM schools and bringing in the soft skills — creativity, collaboration, leadership, emotional intelligence, global thinking, cross boundary team building, critical thinking, and life competencies. Study after study from IBM, McKinsie, World Economic Forum, Pew, among others, indicates that it is no longer simply a matter of what you know that counts, it is who you are. Soft skills matter and are essential for employment and social effectiveness.

Separately, our Country Director Dilini arranged meetings with senior executives of the Lions Club in Sri Lanka. Lions Club is the largest service organization in the world, much larger than Rotary. They want to start promoting Ubiquity courses in the soft skills, especially around leadership, to their membership and bring Ubiquity in to offer degree completion programs. Many of the club members are highly successful business executives but they don’t have degrees. Ubiquity will accept life competencies as part of the credit we will give for past learning and so most of them would be very close to getting a degree. We agreed that we would prototype this in Sri Lanka, then scale the program regionally and then globally through the Lions club network in 210 countries around the world. Again, this is an incredible opportunity for business leaders to earn academic credentials for their skills and achievements, and “level-up” their standing in the professional world.

Ubiquity is now positioned in the Asian market in a very potentiated way. We have deepened our partnership with AIESEC, and we have opened up new partnerships that will take us across Asia and around the world.