Being an Engineer by profession, Rahman, while completing his degree at the University of Peradeniya followed by a short stint of higher education in UK, had a vision of establishing an educational institution in Sri Lanka. He envisioned the standard should be second to none to some of the most recognised universities in the UK. As a result, in 1999, British College of Applied Studies (known as BCAS Campus) was born, strongly driven by a vision of practicality. Speaking on its inception, Rahman says, “what motivated me to come into this line of work was mainly my understanding and the concerns I had about career development of Sri Lankans through globally recognised higher education.”
It had occurred to Rahman, while studying in the UK that only a selected few get to further their studies abroad and the average Sri Lankan had very few opportunities of getting a good, all rounded higher level of education in Sri Lanka. “Not every Sri Lankan student can move forward after completing his/her A Levels, into a university here, and many of the private institutions flashing higher education banners are neither affordable nor are they trustworthy,” he adds. He believes that another obstacle standing between local students and achieving their true potential is the language barrier. “I too was in university here, before my time in the UK, I knew students that had graduated with an Engineering degree, but couldn’t get a job because their English language skills were limited.” According to Rahman, if students are going to get access to higher education opportunities globally, then they need to overcome these sets of challenges, such as financial hurdles, language barriers and immigration restrictions. This is when Rahman came up with solutions for these through BCAS Campus with the rightly set vision of “building careers and transforming lives”.
Within the institution’s first four months of operation in 1999, BCAS Campus had achieved the inevitable, transferring its first batch of 12 students to complete their university education in the UK after successful completion of their Degree Foundation studies at BCAS Campus. This was made possible “through our affiliations with UK based universities” in what Rahman claims as a 100 percent success in achieving BCAS’ main objective. “All the 12 students were successful after their training here at BCAS Campus, and this gave us a lot of courage and motivation to further develop our system of education.” According to Rahman BCAS Campus made UK higher education accessible and affordable even to the average Sri Lankan student by structuring pathways so that a significant portion of the studies are completed right here in Sri Lanka at BCAS. This opened up a new route for majority of the students to gain undergraduate and masters degrees from reputed UK universities.
Today BCAS Campus houses several academic schools under one roof. School of Building Studies and Engineering has by far been BCAS Campus’s most popular areas of studies for students aiming for careers with high end salaries in professions like Quantity Surveying and Civil Engineering in the Middle East. At the same time, School of Law, School of Computing, School of Management and School of Health Sciences that offer degree level courses in Law (LLB), Computing and Software Engineering, Business Management and Bio-medical Sciences draw quite a number of students. School of Management Studies, in addition to BABM degree, currently offers a highly reputed MBA from the University of Wolverhampton, UK.
Each of these schools is equipped with essential English language courses, which meticulously aid the nature of the field being pursued. The unique feature of BCAS campus, Rahman emphasises, is that they (BCAS Campus) offer students the opportunity to move forward with the certificates and prevent stagnation after attaining their educational qualifications by making them immediately employable after completing their chosen course.
Firmly established in Colombo and Kandy with an overseas branch in the State of Qatar, BCAS Campus has now branched out to the main cities such as Kurunegala, Batticaloa and Jaffna, thereby facilitating the aspiring student to qualify in their field with ease and less cost at their doorstep.
Boasting collaborations with internationally acclaimed universities both in the UK and Malaysia, BCAS’ main path of education hails through their HND (Higher National Diploma) programmes awarded by Edexcel. With an overall student strength exceeding 2,000, “every student here gets continuous guidance and support to motivate them to move on to the next step through our student council. The council also plans many of the annual recreational events to foster culture and unity within the BCAS environment,” says Rahman.
With the strength of over 120 highly qualified lecturers, along with the HND, degree and MBA programme, BCAS will soon launch LLM and MSc in Construction Project Management which is to be accredited by RICS.
“We don’t compromise on the quality of the education we give our students under any circumstances. All what we are concerned about is career-oriented education to the average young man and woman of Sri Lanka and I am proud that I am able to provide that through BCAS,” Rahuman added.