International Forum for Students (IFS) for the first time in Sri Lanka

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Gateway Graduate School, the higher education and professional development arm of the Gateway Group, in association with Pearson Edexcel, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) and Teesside University, UK is organising the inaugural International Forum for Students on the 30th of January 2018. The conference will feature prominent international speakers and panelists as well as local professionals with wide international exposure in diverse fields.

During the last couple of years, the organisers of this event held international conferences for teachers (International Forum for Teachers - IFT) and parents (International Forum for Parents - IFP) both in Sri Lanka and in the Maldives. The International Forum for Students (IFS) has been introduced with the intention of exposing Advanced Level students in Sri Lanka to aspects that are at the vanguard of change in the 21st Century and develop their skills in communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

Instruction, Imagination, Innovation

The theme for the IFS 2018 is “Instruction, Imagination, Innovation”: The event will explore the common thread between instruction or education, imagination and innovation as relevant to the contemporaneous as well as futuristic challenges and opportunities faced by the youth in a globalized world. In essence, the conference aims to inspire the minds of students through a series of thought provoking sessions. The objective of IFS is to get students to set goals for themselves and raise their aspirations for personal growth and success.

Instruction or education is about inspiring minds, to be the catalyst not only for learning from teachers and classrooms but way beyond. Education is about opening minds through explorations and enquiries. It is about asking questions; old and new and seeking answers that do not just consider the facts as we know, but engages every possibility and probability. In effect, education releases the imaginative potential of every individual in ways we may not know possible, yet. Imagination empowers us to create new knowledge and innovate novel solutions to problems yet unknown to mankind and complete new tasks in new ways.

The target audience

The audience participating at this conference will be Advanced Level students, prefects and meritorious non-prefects, from over forty leading schools in Sri Lanka. In keeping with the overall ethos of the past conferences, the organisers wish to make IFS, as inclusive as possible by inviting a mix of students from the state, private and international schools. The rationale is to provide a platform for sharing of innovative ideas that will cut across differences to find common ground.

The speakers

The speakers at the International Forum for Students 2018 include internationally renowned academics and successful Sri Lankan professionals:

  • Prof. Ganakumaran Subramaniam, Head of the School of Education at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus; Prof. Subramaniam will give the introductory speech on the topic “Your Future, Your Decision” and set the tone for the conference proceedings.
  • Ms. Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala, Mountaineering professional and women’s rights advocate; Ms. Kuru-Utumpala will speak on the topic “Climbing Your Own Everest” by sharing her experiences as a successful mountaineer who went on to become the first Sri Lankan to climb Mount Everest and inspire the participants.
  • Dr. Dave Morland, Associate Dean at the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law at Teesside University, UK; Dr. Morland will speak about “Instruction or Education in Relation to Imagination and Innovation” and bring in the academic perspective regarding the role of education in engendering imagination to accomplish innovation.
  • Mr. Rohan Pallewatte, Executive Chairman of Lanka Harness Company (Pvt) Ltd., and successful innovative entrepreneur; Mr. Pallewatte will address the gathering on the topic of “Innovation in a Globalized World” and share his insights about innovation and entrepreneurship in the present era of globalization.

The panelists

The forum will include a panel discussion towards the end. In addition to Dr. Dave Morland and Mr. Rohan Pallewatte, the panel discussion will feature two more eminent persons, one from the world of sports and another from the world of arts:

  • Mr. Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lankan cricket legend and world record holder for the highest number of Test match wickets; Mr. Muralitharan will share his vast experience, particularly the aspects of his career that relate to constant learning that have assisted him to be successful in the world of business.
  • Ms. Kishani Jayasinghe-Wijayasekara, International Operatic Soprano and Deputy Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre; Ms. Jayasinghe-Wijayasekara will discuss her views about the challenges and rewards of forging a career in the field of arts that have brought immense success to her both locally and internationally.

Each of the panelists will bring in different perspectives to make the session broad and interesting.

Please call Rushika / Imeshi on 0772256356/ 2695103/ 2695107 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information as well as to register for the event. Also note that there are limited seats available and it is a Free of Charge Event.

International Forum for Teachers (IFT) 2017

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Pearson Edexcel, University of Nottingham and Gateway Graduate School in partnership with a few selected partners will host the ‘International Forum for Teachers (IFT)’ on the 15th of September in Hulhumale, Maldives and the 16th of September at BMICH, Colombo, Sri Lanka. This teacher conference, the first of its kind, is held annually and is open to all teachers.

IFT’s mission is to help generate world-class teachers through global partnership and collaboration and this annual conference offers delegates the opportunity to network, exchange best practices and better understand the rapidly changing aspects of school education globally.

The event will include presentations from eminent International Speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities. This year’s theme, ‘Touching Hearts - Transforming Minds’ will focus on the magic in teaching and the wizardry of teachers that allow them to conjure a myriad of educational concoctions and enchanting wisdom to reach into the heart of every learner.

The goals of the Forum include:

  • Ensuring teachers understand the value of education for the mind and heart
  • Enabling teachers to acquire new insights and approaches to initiate active learning
  • Introducing teachers to the practice of brain-based learning
  • Allowing teachers to know how to construct their own learning communities


Prof. Dr. Ganakumaran Subramaniam

Ganakumaran Subramaniam is the Head of School and Professor at the School of Education, University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus. He is the President of the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association and Vice President of Asia TEFL. He holds a B.Ed. in TESL from University Putra Malaysia. He read for his Master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is a Fulbright Scholar with attachments in New York, Washington and New Mexico, USA.

He is currently also the Executive Director of the Bangladesh College Education Development Project (2016-2021). This project funded by the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank is aimed at improving the quality and standards of the higher education sector in Bangladesh by training 8,525 higher education college lecturers/teachers, principals, future leaders, managers and policy makers.


Professor David Shaw

David Shaw is a visiting professor at the Aberdeen Business School specialising in leadership, communication and wellbeing. He carries out work through his consultancy, Unicorn ARC, with organisations such as Edexcel, Petrofac, the Scottish Government, the UK’s National Health Service and the Dubai Police to deliver change, improved wellbeing and better operational outcomes. His focus at the moment is on creating psychologically safe working environments that bring huge benefits to employees and organisations. He holds a Cranfield Masters degree in Defence Administration and is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is a member of Chartered Institute of Public Relations. He was appointed CBE in 2012


Professor Mark Carroll

Professor Mark Carroll is Associate Dean (International & Engagement) for the Faculty of Arts, University of Adelaide, and Director of the University’s Elder Conservatorium of Music.  Mark is a passionate music educator, and an active classical and pop music performer. His research activities range from music and politics, music and society, to studies in contemporary popular music. Mark works closely with The Australian Ballet, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Opera of South Australia, State Theatre Company and Adelaide Festival Centre.

Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala

Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala is the first Sri Lankan, and first Sri Lankan woman to summit Mount Everest (8,848m/29,030ft), a double record she achieved at 5:03am on the 21st of May 2016. She is a mountaineering professional and women’s rights advocate. Since 2003, she has been professionally involved with the sport of rock climbing as an instructor, while simultaneously working full-time as a women’s rights advocate. Jayanthi is currently serving as the first ever Goodwill Ambassador for Women's Rights for the Ministry of Women's Affairs. Jayanthi holds a Master’s Degree in Gender Studies from the University of Sussex, UK.


Professor Andrew Walker

Professor Andrew Walker is President and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Interim) at Monash University Malaysia. Before joining Monash University Malaysia in late 2016, he worked at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.
Professor Walker has a strong interest in educational innovation. For more than a decade he has been exploring how new technology and forms of media can transform the ways academics share knowledge and promote learning. He is also committed to the importance of learning outside the classroom. He is an anthropologist specialising in the society and culture of Southeast Asia. Prof. Walker graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a PhD at ANU.


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cynthia Yolanda Doss

Cynthia Yolanda Doss is the Director of the Post Graduate Certificate of Higher Education Program at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.  She has taught ESP, Critical Thinking, Pragmatics, Cross cultural Interaction and Proficiency. In addition, she has been actively involved in teacher training, train-the-trainer programs, curriculum design, and materials production as well as teaching Business English and Mind Mapping courses for both the public and private sectors. She has presented papers at national and international conferences and co-authored several ELT books. Her areas of research interest are Brain-based learning, Literacy, Mind Mapping and Critical Thinking. She has also been an Education Consultant for Pearson’s and Oxford’s projects with the Ministry of Education Malaysia

Mrs. Nirmali Wickramasinghe

Mrs. Nirmali Wickremesinghe counts 40 years of experience in education from Government, Private and International Schools here and abroad. In December 2013, she retired from Ladies College following a successful tenure as Principal. Prior to serving Ladies College, she served as the Deputy Principal of Bishop’s College and the Head of the Teacher Training unit of the British School in Colombo. Presently, Mrs. Wickremesinghe serves as the Consultant to the Gateway Group of Schools.


Felicia Brown

Felicia joined Microsoft in 1992 and following successful roles in marketing and operations returned to her passion; education. In her current role as Asia Pacific Senior Teacher Engagement Manager, Felicia manages Microsoft’s professional development programs for both K-12 and higher education to help drive the effective use of technology in the classroom and deliver the 21st century learning to students.

Felicia began her career as an English and History teacher in Australia. She has a Masters’ Degree in English Language from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Arts in Education and History from the University of Sydney and Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management from Sydney TAFE.

Contact Details

Head Office

  • No 01 , 36th Lane
    (Opposite Devi Balika Vidyalaya),
    Colombo 08.
    Telephone: +94112695103, +94112695107
    Contact Person/s:
    Rushika de Silva, Imeshi Kandumulla

Kandy Branch

  • No- 496, Peradeniya Road,
    Kandy, Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94812203377