News outlets across Sri Lanka are today reporting that the British High Commission has denied claims that the Prince of Wales will lay the foundation stone of the new University of Central Lancashire campus.
State media across the country had stated that Prince Charles and President Mahinda Rajapaksa would officially inaugurate the project in the Mirigama Export Processing Zone area of Sri Lanka during his visit to the South Asia nation but a statement from the High Commission stated: “The British High Commission is aware of media reports that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales will inaugurate the new University of Central Lancashire during his upcoming visit to Colombo. The High Commission wishes to clarify that this is not, nor has it been, a part of the Prince’s programme.”
The reported $100m project will see UCLan move ahead of its rivals and become one of the first universities to set up in newly created ‘free investment zones’ aimed at driving foreign investment into the country and speaking to University World News last month, Ian Robertson, director of UCLan (Overseas) Limited and chief executive of UCLan Sri Lanka said: “We were approached to potentially locate a campus in other areas of South Asia but Sri Lanka’s ambition, location and academic and intellectual resources were key factors for our selection. The Sri Lankan government has awarded ‘special project status, which provides tax concessions to us.
“We expect to launch a scholarship scheme for Sri Lankan students. We are keen to ensure that Sri Lankan students have access to world-class teaching and research, and to work with other Sri Lankan universities in partnerships to provide for this vision.”
The Sri Lankan parliament approved the Strategic Development Project on 9 October.