General Sir John Kotelawela Defence University offers range of
Bright prospects for
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
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
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
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
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
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