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Last modified on: 12/30/2010 11:50:14 PM General Sir John Kotelawela Defence University offers range of degree programs

General Sir John Kotelawela Defence University offers range of degree programs

Bright prospects for defence students

President Mahinda Rajapaksa at last year's convocation ceremony

The General Sir John Kotelawela Defence University (KDU), which is the only Defence University in the country, offers many degree programs to suit Science, Arts and Commerce students. Students who qualify for university admission at the GCE (A/L) examination in Biological Science stream can enter for Medical (MBBS) and Management and Technical Studies (MTS) Degrees. Students from Mathematics stream are qualified to enter for Engineering degrees including B.Sc. in Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics and Marine fields. The B.Sc. degree in Logistic Management is open for students from Arts stream while students from Commerce stream can enter for B.Sc. in Social Studies. Students from all streams could enter for the Law (LLB) degree program. The degrees in Law, Logistic Management and Social Studies are new degrees introduced this year. All the graduates will be absorbed by the Armed Forces after successful completion of the degree program. The purpose of this article is to give an insight to the versatile degree programs offered by this unique Defence University in Sri Lanka

Prof. Ranjith B. Mapa

The General Sir John Kotelawela Defence University (KDU) was established as an Academy in 1981 and elevated to University status in 1986. It is situated in a 48 acre block of land at Kandawala estate, Ratmalana, 12 km from Colombo. More than 1,600 undergraduate and 140 postgraduate degrees have been awarded by KDU during the past 28 years.

It offers nine undergraduate degree programs related to Defence Studies as well as postgraduate degrees. Among them, five degree programs lead to Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Engineering, namely Mechanical, Marine, Electrical and Electronic, Civil and Aeronautical Engineering. The Medical stream (MBBS) was initiated last year and three new degree programs namely Law (LLB), B.Sc. in Logistic Management and B.Sc. in Social Studies will be introduced this year.

The Post Graduate Degree program offers Master of Science, (Defence Studies) in Management for middle and senior level Service and Police officers. While the cadets (undergraduates) following engineering degrees study at KDU for three consecutive years and spend six to 12 months in their respective academies, the others spend two years at KDU and one year in their respective military academies.

In 1996, KDA obtained membership of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (UK) by maintaining necessary standards required for educating and grooming officer cadets to meet the challenges of modern defence management. At the time of admission, cadets have the option to select their preference to the three Armed Forces, Army, Navy or Air Force for their future career.

Foreign cadets from SARRC countries possessing equivalent qualifications also get an opportunity to enter the KDU applying through the Foreign Ministry and respective High Commissions of Sri Lanka.

Eligibility test

Each SAARC country is offered with two vacancies and by now 25 such students graduated from Bangladesh, the Maldives and Nepal Citizens of Sri Lanka, men and women between ages of 18 to 22 are admitted to KDU according to the eligibility criteria for university admission laid down by the Commissioner General of Examination and fulfilling the requirements of at least an 'S' grade for all three approved subjects in GCE (A/L) examination, a pass in the common eligibility test for University admission and a minimum of a Credit Pass in English at the G.C.E (O/L) examination.

The uniqueness of this university is that it offers degree programs for students following all streams at the GCE (A/L) examination. Students following Biological Sciences, Mathematics, Arts or Commerce streams could apply for relevant degree programs according to their background. In addition, they should possess minimum physical standards in height, weight and chest, and show the required levels of physical and mental stamina. The entry requirements and other details are advertised in national newspapers, gazette as well as appear in the KDU web site www.kdu.ac.lk. A new batch of cadets is normally enlisted to KDU during October each year and applications are called in March.

The closing date for applications this year is April 9, 2010. During the initial four months cadets undergo an intensive course in English and a military orientation phase. They are provided with free uniforms, spacious housing and food in addition to a considerable living allowance during the undergraduate time. In 2009 (intake 27) 195 cadets were enlisted, which was the highest number admitted as a single batch during the history of KDU.

The management and administration of KDU is vested with the Board of Management (BOM) appointed by the President. The BOM consist of the Chairman-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order, the Additional Secretary of the same ministry, Chief of Defence Staff, Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Director General (Department of Budget, General Treasury), Commanders of the Tri Services of Sri Lanka, Army, Navy and Air Force. Vice Chancellor/Commandant of the University and the Registrar as the Secretary to the Board.

The Chancellor of the University is appointed by the President and presides over convocations of the University where the tenure of service lasts for a period of five years.

Faculties of Studies

Students at the language laboratory

The academic program of the University is carried out under the guidance of the Director of Academic Studies (DAS) who is at the level of a Professor, with the assistance of eight Academic Departments offering degree programs which were named in the introduction of this article. These are conducted using the services of a team of qualified academics consisting of both internal and visiting staff. At present there are 25 internal academic staff members and KDU obtain the services of many visiting lecturers and Professors from Universities including Moratuwa University which is in close vicinity. In addition, some lectures are conducted by qualified service officers from the tri-services. For the smooth functioning of the degree programs, KDU obtain the services of Consultants and Course Coordinators.

The Advisory Committees, Board of Examiners and Board of Studies are formed to assist in collective decision-making.

The degree program consists of two semesters of 21 weeks per year for three years whereas two years are spent at KDU and the balance time at their respective military academies. Approximately 75 percent of students contact hours is allocated for academic program while 25 percent is used for Defence Studies consisting of various military training activities.

The Faculty of Defence studies is headed by Commanding Officer (CO) assisted by Squadron Commanders in charge of each intake and Troop Commanders supervising each troop.

The cadets at KDU are subjected to military training whilst carrying out their academic program. The military training is designed and planned to educate, train and inspire cadets for an exemplary career as Commissioned officers of the three Services. The course curriculum in Defence Studies includes Weapon Training, Map Reading, Leadership Studies, Elementary lessons in Field Crafts etc.

In addition to a handsome living allowance, food, housing, uniforms and batman facilities, KDU offers the cadets many facilities similar to by other Universities in the country. Spacious lecture rooms, auditoriums, laboratory complexes and engineering workshops support in developing practical skills of cadets.


In addition, two language laboratories, a library and an IT centre facilitate their learning. KDU also provides the Cadets with sport facilities with a well-equipped gymnasium and a swimming pool for them to compete in different tournaments.

The extra curricular activities are supported by formation of various clubs like E-club, Photography club, Rowing club, Music and Dancing Club, Eco club etc.

University Crest and Anthem

The crest of KDU which is shown at the top of this article has a symbolic composition. It consist of the emblem of the Republic of Sri Lanka showing the loyalty to the country, the crosses of swords symbolic to the Sri Lanka Army, the Anchor and Wings which are symbolic to Sri Lanka Navy and Air Force, and the Torch symbolic to education.

The motto in the embalm reads 'For The Motherland Forever'. The KDU has its own anthem written by Dr S. H. Nissanka and music composed by Dr Premasiri Kemadasa.

The plans are underway to restructure KDU to a full fledge University in par with other universities in the country consisting of many Faculties. Plans are underway to initially establish four faculties consisting of a Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law and a Faculty of Defence Studies. These will be managed by Deans and administered by Assistant Registrars. Qualified staff at the level of Professors, Associate Professors, Senior Lecturers and Lecturers will be recruited to offer degree programs of international standards. The buildings for the Faculty of Medicine will be constructed soon at Ratmalana and a hospital in the vicinity will be developed as a teaching hospital.

For more information on admission requirements for Sir General John Kotelawala Defence University, visit our website www.kdu.ac.lk or call Director of Academic Studies at 011-2635201.

The writer is Director, Academic Studies, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Ratmalana

[ General Sir John Kotelawela Defence University ]

* Established as an Academy in 1981

* University status in 1986

* In 1996, KDA obtained membership of Association of Commonwealth Universities (UK)

Courtesy : Daily News

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