China represents one of the fastest growing economics in the world. At present China is the largest trading partner of Sri Lanka within the Asian region. According to the new consensus, the two countries maintain high-level diplomatic exchanges, enhanced political communication, and support each other's efforts in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Similarly, Chinese assistance is being provided to many major development projects in Sri Lanka. Further China has become the most important potential source of tourism. Chinese language and cultural activities are into Sri Lanka and interest in learning Chinese is growing rapidly among Sri Lankan foreign language learners.
Exchanges in education between with the granting of Chinese scholarships to Sri Lankan students in 1960, since then, an increasing number of Sri Lankan students have gone to China for further education annually.
The discipline of teaching Chinese language in Sri Lankan Universities dates back to 1974, presently there are two universities which have general and special degree programs. The Department of Modern languages of University of Kelaniya is the pioneer of Chinese language teaching institutes in Sri Lanka. In May 2007 the Confucius Institute of University of Kelaniya was inaugurated in order to strengthen and facilitate academic exchange, cultural cooperation and extend the promotion of teaching Chinese language in Sri Lanka. There is a continuously increasing number of Chinese learners in the universities and leading schools in Sri Lanka with a positive attitude towards learning Chinese for good job prospects. Further Chongqing Normal University in China supports Sri Lanka in launching Chinese language teaching at the secondary education level in order to meet the needs and demands of Chinese language in Sri Lanka and provides number of opportunities to learn Chinese language and culture for both students and lecturers who are reading for post graduate studies through University of Kelaniya.
As a result of the recently signed MOUs between the University of Kelaniya and a number of universities in China, the University of Kelaniya has volunteered to provide resources to initiate Sinhala language courses in these universities and to start student exchange programs.
There are more than twenty academics from many faculties of University of Kelaniya, who have obtained their post graduate degrees from the well known universities in China. Hence it is very important to establish an internationally recognized research centre of excellence in the University of Kelaniya in order to cater to the growing needs of language learners who prefer to follow the post graduate degrees in Chinese.