In 1982, the Hydraulic Division of Department of Civil Engineering which is presently known as the Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering Division conducted the first Master of Engineering / Postgraduate Diploma Course of University of Moratuwa. This program in Water Resources Engineering and Management was conducted once in two years until the year 2006. In 2013 with the Initiation of UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Center (UMCSAWM) and the support of the South Asia Foundation (SAF), the Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering Division commenced the ongoing, Master of Engineering / Postgraduate Diploma in Water Resources Engineering and Management. This Master’s degree program which consists of two components as one-year full time and two-year part time offer eight fully paid Madanjeet Singh Scholarships funded by SAF to SAARC member countries and facilitate pioneer water management research in areas of relevance to South Asian countries. This postgraduate programme which is especially designed to teach Water Management in a regional context enables participants possessing a wide range of water management backgrounds to obtain a firm grounding in the principles, techniques, issues and practice of Water Resources Engineering and Management. This course is designed mainly for practicing civil engineers to update their knowledge and keep abreast with recent developments in hydraulic engineering and water resources management fields. The programme partly supported by the SAF is run as a self-financed programme where the course fee paid by the students is used as the main financial resource for recurrent expenditure, development of the course and laboratory facilities.
This programme is designed to systematically cover all taught courses within the first 12 months. During this period, students follow a series of intensive lectures, attend seminars, complete subject specific assignments, experiments and field visits. Lectures and other academic activities for full-time (international) students are conducted from Tuesday to Saturday while for part time (local) students, activities are usually conducted only on Fridays and Saturdays. The total of 60 credits required for the one-year fulltime program is comparable with any other international program usually conducted over a period of two years. This all-embracing program structure based on taught courses, research and especially with Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach common to all modules brings together the scientific study of water resources with practical planning and management skills, encouraging participants to study water management from a multi-disciplinary perspective and to seek integrated solutions.
The greatest strength of this postgraduate program is the individual “Problem Based Learning Project” that a student is required to complete to successfully complete each course module. Each of these individual PBL projects are based on real life data and experiences related to the water sector and to each specific subject module. These projects are the core of continuous assessment mechanism. World over almost all problem based projects are group activities. The problem based projects incorporated to the present program are hybrids because they are student driven, carefully guided, facilitated with time for group discussions and group working sessions, field data and literature backed, regularly supervised, closely monitored, and externally and internally evaluated.
This concept of problem based learning is new in the world, challenging in postgraduate programs, demanding at individual project basis and taxes additional time from academics. Over the last three programs, conducting and completing the PBL projects had been a great challenge. Determined efforts of Water Division Academics and commitment of UMCSAWM staff to achieve international dominance has made this effort a success.
In the recent three intakes the program has admitted 12 international and 7 fulltime students on scholarships, 40 part time local students out of which 06 have thus far graduated with a Master’s Degree while 04 have obtained the Postgraduate Diploma. The fourth intake of the program is scheduled to be commenced from May 2017 onward and this is quite an achievement in support of the ongoing UMCSAWM ESD_WI (Education for Sustainable Development of Water Infrastructure) program.
Dr. R.L.H.L. Rajapakse
Course Coordinator, MSc/PG Diploma in Water Resources Engineering and Management