Historical Back Ground: Affiliated University College of the North Western Province

yapahuwaDuring the first few months of 1991, the University Grants Commission in collaboration with relevant universities examined the viability of Kuliyapitiya Technical College, to be established as an Affiliated University College in the North Western Province. Subsequently, the idea was mooted to seek some premises within the Kurunegala municipal limits, as the space available at the Kuliyapitiya Technical College was deemed to be inadequate. Subsequently, 07 acres of land that belonged to the Divisional Engineer’s Office on the Vidyala Mawatha, including the buildings thereon, together with 02 other buildings that belonged to the Department of Buildings were earmarked to be taken over to establish the proposed Affiliated University of the North Western Province.

After the officers of the Divisional Engineering Office vacated the premises on 9th August 1991, the renovation of the existing buildings, effecting necessary changes to suit the University Courses of Study and the requirements of the University administration, were undertaken. The In-service Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture at Makandura, had been reorganized, with all facilities to suit the requirements of an Agricultural Studies section under the direction of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Peradeniya.

After the renovation of buildings, a University College, named as the Affiliated University College of the North Western Province [AUC-NWP] was ceremonially opened on 20th November 1991, together with the other Colleges of the Affiliated University College System of Sri Lanka. The NWP Affiliated University College was inaugurated on that day under the Section 18 of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978, cited as the North Western Province Affiliated University College Ordinance No. 10 of 1991, which came into effect on 20th November 1991.

The NWP Affiliated University College was initiated with two academic sections namely; Home Science & Nutrition, affiliated to the University of Kelaniya, and Agricultural Studies, affiliated to the University of Peradeniya. The academic work commenced in both Sections on 23rd March 1992 with 98 students in the Home Science & Nutrition Section and 88 students in the Agricultural Science Section.

On completion of the Foundation Courses of studies for the students of the Agricultural Section, conducted at the Affiliated University Premises at Kuliyapitiya, they were transferred to the Makandura Center on 23rd May 1992. In the meantime, it had been found that the Mathematical Science Diploma course, conducted by the Western Province Affiliated University College, affiliated to the University of Kelaniya, was not functioning well. As such, arrangements were made to relocate the Mathematical Science Diploma Course, in the NWP Affiliated University College. This proposal was recommended by the Board of Management of the NWP Affiliated University College on 13th November 1993, which received approval of the University Grants Commission on 09th December 1993. Accordingly, the academic and non-academic staff, who conducted this Course, and a group of 18 students, were absorbed into the NWP Affiliated University, with effect from 18th January 1994.


Historical Background : Wayamba Campus of the Rajarata University

The Wayamba Campus of the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka was established on the recommendation of a Committee consisting of Hon. Wishva Warnapala, Deputy Minister of Education & Higher Education as Chairman.  This Committee was appointed by the Hon. Minister of Education and Higher Education Richard Pathirana on 22ndDecember, 1994 to report on the Affiliated University Colleges.  On the recommendation of the above Committee, nine Affiliated University Colleges spread out in various provinces of the country were merged to form two national universities, the Rajarata and the Sabaragamuwa Universities of Sri Lanka on 07th November 1996.

The Affiliated University College of the North Western Province, which consisted of two academic sections namely; Home Science & Nutrition and Agriculture, originally affiliated to the Universities of Kelaniya and Peradeniya respectively, were merged to form the Wayamba Campus and established in terms of the provisions of the Sections 18 and 47 (1) of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 and the Campus Board Ordinance No. 3 of 1995.

As provided in the Act referred above, two Faculties were set up to form the Wayamba Campus namely, the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and the Faculty of Applied Sciences I, each with three Departments of study.

The Faculty of Agricultural Sciences consisted of the Departments of Plantation Management, Horticultural Sciences and Food Technology & Agricultural Engineering, while the Faculty of Applied Sciences I comprised of the Departments of Mathematical Sciences, Industrial Management & Computer Studies and Nutrition & Community Resources Management.

Location and Facilities

The Faculty of Agricultural Sciences was located at Makandura, on 10 hectares land (25 acres) at the former In-service Training Center of the Department of Agriculture on the Kurunegala – Negombo Road, approximately 65 kilometres from the provincial capital Kurunegala.  The buildings of the In-service Center were modified to cater to the needs of the students and additional facilities such as the Dean’s Office & Administrative Unit, Plant House, Student Cafeteria and extensions to the Food Science Laboratory and Library were set up after taking over the Premises.

The Faculty of Applied Sciences I was located in proximity to the Kuliyapitiya Town on the Lionel Jayathilake Mawatha in 07 acres of land previously occupied by the Divisional Engineering Office and the Department of Buildings.  Several buildings, which belonged to the above department, were renovated and a new administrative block was constructed since the commencement of the academic programmes.  In 1997, two blocks of land with an extent of 02 and 47 acres adjoining the Faculty were acquired for the purpose of expanding the academic programme, hostels and other facilities of the Faculty.

The two Faculties at Wayamba located 18 km from each other, had created many logistical and administrative problems, it had duplicated some common facilities such as the library and transport.  In spite of this, the students of the Faculty of Agriculture benefited by staying in close proximity to the regional agricultural research center, as they were able to share research facilities and other resources, which were not available at the Faculty at the beginning.  This had also facilitated opportunities for the students to get exposed to the national agricultural research programmes and to be aware of current research problems in the North Western Province.

Academic Programmes

The Wayamba Campus developed several innovative degree programmes, most of which were not offered by the traditional universities of the country.  The main objective of the new degree programmes was to develop scientific skills and competence in the graduates to make them employable in both the public and private sectors.  The emphasis in both Faculties was directed towards human resources development to meet the demand of an open economic situation in the agricultural and industrial sectors.

To achieve the objectives stated above, both Faculties offered three year degree programmes based on the course unit system of instruction organized into two semesters per year, each of 15 weeks duration.  The medium of instruction in English language was made compulsory for all students and statistics, mathematics and development of computer skills formed a substantial portion of the curriculum.  Furthermore, to expose the students to the actual working environments, develop knowledge, skills and confidence in order to ensure employment, an industrial training of 3-6 months in a recognized and relevant private enterprise/plantation industry was built into the final year of the degree course.  This practice, which the other universities had not pursued at that time, paid dividends.  It was noted that many students following the agricultural sciences programme were successful in getting employment in the companies where they had received industrial training.

The Faculty of Agricultural Sciences offered the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Agriculture Degree in the following specialized areas:

B.Sc. (Agribusiness Management)

B.Sc. (Horticultural Sciences)

B.Sc. (Plantation Management)

B.Sc. (Agricultural Engineering)

B.Sc. (Food Technology)

The Faculty of Applied Sciences offered the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) General Degree in the following areas:

B.Sc. (Mathematical Sciences)

B.Sc. (Industrial Management and Computer Sciences)

B.Sc. (Nutrition and Community Resources Management)

General Admission Requirements

The admission requirements to both Faculties were based on the national admission policy laid down by the University Grants Commission.

The subject combinations for admission to the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences was similar to those of the other Faculties of Agriculture in Sri Lanka.  As per the revised admission criteria in 1998, the students should have offered Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Agriculture for the G.C.E. (A/L).

In the Faculty of Applied Sciences, the students should have offered Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry for the G.C.E (A/L) as a pre-requisite for following its degree programmes involving Mathematics, Industrial Management and Computer Studies.

For the degree programme in Nutrition and Community Resources Management (NCRM) the students should have offered subjects in Biological or Physical Science Streams for the G.C.E. (A/L).  Students who had offered Arts subjects for the G.C.E. (A/L) with Home Science as a subject were also eligible for admission to the NCRM programme.

It was noted that the students who had entered the NCRM Programme through the Arts stream had to face insurmountable difficulties in understanding the science-based course designed for this programme.  Although the above admission procedure would have been satisfactory for the previous Home Science Diploma offered by the then Affiliated University College, this admission procedure was discontinued to maintain the standard of the degree programme in NCRM.

Introduction of Degree Programmes

With the establishment of the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, the Affiliated University College of the North Western Province ceased to exist and as an interim measure, the students who had completed all the requirements for the respective two year diploma were admitted to the third year of the degree programme of the new university.  A special third year curricula and courses were developed for these diplomates to satisfy the requirements for a standard B.Sc. level degree in the Faculties of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.

Status of Academic and Non-Academic Staff

Well-qualified staff is an asset to any university to develop appropriate teaching and research programmes.  In this respect, the Wayamba Campus, unlike many of the other newly established universities in the provinces, was fortunate in recruiting qualified staff due to its closeness to the capital city of Colombo, availability of transportation and easy communication.  The Faculty of Agriculture was successful in recruiting a few senior staff and filled all its professorial positions from the very inception.  In the Faculty of Applied Sciences, the recruitment of staff was more difficult due to the dearth of qualified personnel in the areas selected for the degree programmes.  There were only two senior staff members in this Faculty and that too only in the Departments of Mathematical Sciences and Nutrition & Community Resources Management.

Establishment of the Wayamba University

uni plakThe need for restructuring of the degrees offered by the new universities was a priority in the governments’ national educational reforms. The major issue was that the degrees offered, whether by the traditional or the newly established universities, should focus on the future needs of the country and that they should develop appropriately trained human resources with necessary competence and skills to man development projects. Therefore the new universities were expected to develop new degree programmes encompassing appropriately designed courses which could cut across departments of study, adopt modern teaching – learning techniques and evaluation procedures, while rationalizing the human and other available resources. Therefore, the training of undergraduates in the conventional system was no longer viable and the emphasis was to make the best use of the investment on higher education by producing graduates who were employable in sectors where job opportunities would be available in the future.

In 1998/1999, the University Grants Commission appointed a Committee chaired by Prof. H.P.M. Gunasena, a former Rector of the Wayamba Campus, to address the above issues and make recommendations in the context of establishing a new university in the administrative district of Kurunegala.

According to the recommendations of the Committee and in consultation with the University Grants Commission, late Honourable Richard Pathirana, then the Minister of Education and Higher Education established the Wayamba University of Sri Lanka with effect from 01st of October, 1999 for the purpose of providing, promoting and developing higher education in the branches of learning of Applied Sciences, Business Studies & Finance, Agriculture & Plantation Management and Livestock, Fisheries & Nutrition.

Accordingly, the following Faculties and Departments of Study were assigned to the Wayamba University by the Government Notification in the Extraordinary Gazette No. 1093/8 issued on the 13th of August, 1999 in Colombo:



Departments of Study

Agriculture and Plantation Management

Agri Business Management




Horticulture and Landscape Gardening


Plantation Management


Applied Sciences

Computing and Information Systems




Industrial Management


Mathematical Sciences


Business Studies and Finance



Banking and Finance


Business Management


Insurance and Valuation


Livestock, Fisheries and Nutrition

Applied Nutrition


Aquaculture and Fisheries


Food Science and Technology


Livestock and Avian Sciences



Present Status : Wayamba University of Sri Lanka

uni adminThe Wayamba University of Sri Lanka marked a decade of existence in 2009 since being granted the autonomous status in 1999.  Over these years, the major consideration in designing degree programmes at the Wayamba University was the practicality and relevance of courses of study for emerging development needs of the country, with the objective of ensuring a high employability of graduates produced by the Faculties.  The Wayamba University graduates were expected to be enriched with scientific skills and competencies demanded by employers. 

The practicality of the courses was enhanced by orienting the course content towards practical needs rather than an excessive orientation in theory.  Nevertheless, the theory and principles of disciplines were not neglected but retained as the foundation in the initial years of study.  The specializations were in practical applications rather than in advanced theoretical knowledge, often inapplicable to the industry.  The employability of the graduates was further enhanced by subjecting them to six-month to one year period of industrial training during the last academic year, which requires the submission of a comprehensive report based on the hands-on experience gained by the students.  The respective Faculties arrange such industrial training components for their students through faculty level coordinators.

It is the well-qualified academic staff that provides the major impetus in delivering all academic programmes of the Faculties.  The junior staff is provided with training on pedagogical skills and other aspects of student-centred learning by the Staff Development Unit of the University.  Apart from the credit-based learning, directly facilitated by the Faculties, significant contributions are made by the English Language Teaching Units, Information & Communication Technology Centres and the Career Guidance Unit to enhance a variety of students’ skills to impart that competitive edge in finding suitable employment upon graduation.

The Libraries of the University have vastly improved their facilities to provide an ideal independent learning environment for the students, with both traditional and on-line access to library resources.

Further, the extra-curricular training provided by the Physical Education Unit through a variety of sports and games has been effective in the making of many versatile graduates enriched with sports skills and achievements at inter-university level.

The outcome of all these activities over the past years has been very impressive, as was revealed by a recent survey on the Employability of Wayamba University Graduates, conducted by the External Affairs Unit of the Wayamba University.  This survey has found the following employability rates of the graduates produced by the four Faculties:

Agriculture & Plantation Management



Applied Sciences



Business Studies & Finance



Livestock, Fisheries & Nutrition



It should be mentioned that the verity of the above figures has been confirmed in an independent study by the Higher Education for the Twenty-First Century (HETC) Project of the Minister of Higher Education, which has produced even better rates of employability among the graduates produced by all the Faculties of the Wayamba University.

The general & financial administration led by the Registrar & Bursar together with their Administrative Officers have immensely contributed to the development of much needed infrastructure facilities, which the Faculties have utilized fully to create more higher educational opportunities for the Advanced Level Students qualifying for university entrance.