News & Info
CEO`s Visit to Herzing University
Mr. Upul Daranagama, CEO of Horizon College International paid a visit to the US recently to meet up with officials from the Herzing University in Milwaukee, USA to enter into an agreement with the university to promote their Degrees, Masters and MBA programs in Sri Lanka related to Business Management, Information Technology , Software Development, Technology Management among a host of other areas thereby giving more options to the youth of Sri Lanka in Higher Studies.
Congratulating our students on their achievements at the primary & lower secondary Edexcel achievement Tests - June 2012
Horizon students shine at Edexcel exam
Horizon College International (HCI), marked its fourth anniversary in September 2012 and since venturing into the field of education, she has once again in this short period of time, achieved a remarkable feat at the Primary and Lower Secondary achievement tests for those within 8-14 years in English, Mathematics and Science conducted by Edexcel. The students who sat the exam brought honour to themselves as well as the school as the results showed 100 per cent success, achieved by the students who were put through their paces by their dedicated and diligent teachers who work to ensure that the students under their guidance are given the best, scholastically.
This was the first time that Edexcel, which is the largest awarding body for academic and vocational qualifications in the United Kingdom that provides students access to universities and career opportunities in over 90 countries worldwide held this specialty test in the given subjects so as to recognise the standard of education that students reach through their respective educational institutes. As such, Horizon College International can be justifiably proud that within four years, all 20 students who sat this special exam passed in all three subjects while some went on to reach greater heights by winning special awards.
At the High Achievers’ Award Ceremony 2012, which was endorsed by Pearson Qualifications International and held at the Musaeus Auditorium on November 26, 2012, Punsara Tennekoon won the Primary Award for Mathematics and Science, and was also placed 7th in the world in both subjects. She was further recognised for Best Performance June 2012 at the Primary achievement, based on the highest average. Thus this double winner – Punsara – (a student of Horizon from the very inception), has proved that the education and mentoring that students at Horizon College International receive are on par with the best available, anywhere in the country.
In addition to this remarkable achievement, four other students too were Best Performers – at the Primary level it was Sakshi Vyas, and in the Lower Secondary, Nirasha Kavindi Jayasekera, Maneth Fernando and Tharushi Ratnayaka were so recognised.
Encouraging students to sit this international exam, the management of Horizon College informed the parents to submit the application if they so desired since there is a fee involved. Students whose parents so responded got the opportunity to sit an exam conducted at international level, at the Horizon complex as the officials of Edexcel, having vetted the environment and the facilities available at Horizon’s purpose built school, approved its examination hall as a suitable venue to conduct the exam with the sectional head of the senior section being the invigilator.
The Edexcel exam was conducted under the aegis of the British Council in Colombo. Premila Paulraj, assistant vice president, Pearson Edexcel, Indian Subcontinent, said that this is the first time that Edexcel has recognized Primary and Lower Secondary students for their performance at the achievement tests held this year. “These achievement tests are held in several countries and provide Sri Lankan students the opportunity to sit for public exams and compete at an international level from a very young age. These tests will no doubt strengthen the competency level of students between 8-14 years, and help them improve their performance at international GCSE’s and beyond,” she said. While congratulation the winners and their teachers for all the hard work that led to these remarkable achievements, she added that the exceptional growth in the number of students who sit these Edexcel exams is a clear indication of the high level of performance Sri Lankan children are capable of at world class examinations.
Also adding his sentiments in his message published in the souvenir Tony Reilly, OBE, country director, British Council, Sri Lanka who said that acquiring an international recognised qualification from the UK opens up a wealth of opportunities, not only educational and professional but personally as well. The results achieved by the Sri Lankan students are not just impressive by local standards but shows that these students are among the best in the world. As such, all these achievers should be extremely proud, he said.
From the very beginning in September 2009, Horizon College International had set its targets and goals – for without a goal one would not know in which direction to proceed to. Thus, with sheer dedication and diligence, underscored by a professional approach, and at the same time being conscious of the correct values, the management and staff at Horizon College International has strived to inculcate the best in the children who came under their care and guidance. In the 4th year since its inception, they have been able to mould the students to accept good values that can make them good human beings who know what is right and what is wrong, so that they become responsible citizens who would one day not only serve, but perhaps even lead their country.
Horizon College International
Three years towards the cause of value education
"Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world"
- Maria Montessori
It has been three years since our inception, but our vision has remained the same – to mold a young generation through education towards a better community.
At Horizon College International (HCI), we believe to free a young child’s potential it is essential that the best available resources and an atmosphere conductive to fostering curious minds is the key, Our school offers a setting that merges both while focusing on value education.
Now in our 3rd year of operation, HCI’s unique multi-cultural, co-ed international private school located amidst the lush greenery of the outskirts of Malabe has pressed on with this commitment with much vigor. We believe that opportunities to learn should be available to every child, so why not to those in Malabe?
Today, our purpose built school is open to youngsters from the play the school age group to the Advanced Level. Towards this end the school consists of an elementary, primary and secondary school.
In addition, we also provide students the option of following British syllabus (Edexcel curriculum) in the English medium up to the Advanced Level.
Our primary school is equipped with the following – modern library, science laboratory, computer lab, music room, drama room, IT facilities and a swimming pool (which will be completed by end December 2012).
A child care facility was opened on 13th of July 2012 and children from 3 months to 8 years are being looked after by qualified experienced personnel. This facility is a home away from home is being patronized by working parents in the area as well as the teachers.
All this and more against the backdrop of beautifully landscaped greenery that is stimulating, healthy and embracing nature, prompting any youngster to learn.
HCI believes in nurturing academic excellence and value education amongst our students providing them with the best possible opportunities. That’s why we offer a broad range of programmes that will imbibe qualities of leadership and develop interpersonal and interactive skills within each student which will serve them in the years to come.
At HCI, to us – every child is a gift with limitless potential eager to explore.
We await to nurture this treasure...
Horizon College marks three years of successful operations
September 16 marks Horizon College International’s third anniversary – three years of nurturing the hundreds of children under their care at the purpose-built school in Malabe, surrounded by vast open spaces and an abundance of greenery, so in tune with nature. And in this short space of three years, the college has grown in leaps and bounds – posting a 300 per cent growth in admissions, a feat that the management of Horizon can be justifiably proud of.
The secret of Horizon’s success could be attributed, in the main, to the fact that the school authorities have given, and continue to give the highest priority to discipline of the children on roll, and it is that discipline, instilled in the students from the first day they enter the portals of this educational institute, and underscores every academic and extra-curricular activity, that has helped the students reach great heights – both academically as well as in non-academic spheres. While every facility needed to provide quality education is available, other areas of activity including a wide range of sports, as well as singing, speech and drama, music, dancing, et al., are available within the premises. All of these have made Horizon College International much sought after by parents who have come to realize the importance of the value-based education it offers.
Managing director and chief executive officer, Upul Daranagama, with over 17 years of hands on experience in successfully running educational establishments that have had proven track records, had a dream – to establish a good, quality international school that would provide an international standard of education that would lead to world class qualifications, underscored by Sri Lankan values. Towards this end, he started identifying a suitable location on which a school could be built, to include and cater to every possible need to provide wholesome education. Thus the present location of the school (and subsequently Horizon Campus) in Malabe, away from the disturbances that schools and educational establishments in cities are subjected to, have served to provide quality education in ideal surroundings to the nearly 1000 students on roll at the college, at present. Currently, the campus caters to nearly 300 students and undergraduates who are following diploma and graduate programmes leading to world class qualifications, both diplomas and degrees. As such, under one roof, quality education is provided from nursery to primary to secondary, tertiary and post graduate qualifications.
The rationale behind this move that the MD/CEO Upul Daranagama mooted was to ensure that when a child joins Horizon at an early age, she/he is not only provided with quality education but their progress is monitored throughout; they are nurtured, their behaviour, well-being and activities are monitored, and they are guided to become disciplined and responsible citizens – two aspects that are so vital in today’s context. The management also ensures that it’s not only the children under their care but they too, the teachers, and the parents adhere to laid down stipulations vis-à-vis discipline, thus leading by example. The students’ are told, lucidly, ‘No discipline – no success!’ The emphasis on discipline at Horizon therefore has proved to be one of the strongest pillars of success.
Yet another facet of Horizon that has contributed towards its success in a short span of time since its birth is that communication – between all stakeholders – the management, staff, students and parents, is given priority. Lack of communication has led to many issues at all levels – as any professional, in particular, will vouch for. As such, the doors are open for all stakeholders to communicate with each other, as and when necessary.
The management of Horizon College International’s bold decision to set up its operations in Malabe, in itself, was a challenge – among the questions that begged answers initially were ‘who would want to come to a school this far?’ when so many other educational institutes are readily available in the cities and the suburbs. However, the decision to set up the school of which every classroom and every facility was built, on the bare land that was obtained for the purpose, has paid dividends as parents, most of who are professionals in various disciplines sought admission for their children, realizing that the best is available – from A-Z. The support of the parents has given the management added impetus to strive for even higher goals towards providing quality education, ably supported by the nearly 100 staff on roll, all of who have the necessary qualifications to impart knowledge to students under their care.
Maryann Hills, the principal of Horizon College International, also with years of hands on teaching experience, both in Sri Lanka and the overseas, has ensured that state of the art facilities are made available to the students to learn, and for the teachers to provide for the same, through restricted numbers in each class. A classroom generally has 20 students and in a given situation does not exceed 25. If the numbers were to go up due to demand, for example 30 students, the class is split to have 15 children in two parallel classes. And each class from the nursery to the primary has the two adults – the teacher and an assistant teacher. While the medium of instruction, overall, is English, the two national languages – Sinhala and Tamil are taught to all children up to the primary level as the importance of the national languages as link languages is mooted at Horizon. With the availability of French, taught from Grade 3 upwards, students at Horizon, from a very young age, are conversant in four languages – a rare feat in Sri Lanka’s education sector. When children reach the Ordinary Level stage, they are free to choose if they wish to continue with French or veer away, depending on their career path. In fact, Japanese and German are to be introduced in the near future, thus giving the students further opportunities of learning foreign languages that are bound to open many avenues when it comes to employment later on.
The fact that information technology is an important part of today’s climate has been taken into consideration at Horizon. The use of the computer is taught to children from the time they enter the nursery, and is continued through pre-primary and the upper school. Extra-curricular activities – music and drama are part of the curriculum as are activities pertaining to the four major religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Important religious festivals are observed with all the attendant activity with the participation of the entire school, thus each child learns to respect and appreciate the different religions and cultures, all of which promote peace and harmony among the students and their parents. To ensure that these are successfully conducted, students, staff, the management and the parents, as well as the neighbourhood become a vital cog to ensure that the whole machine runs smoothly, thereby contributing to the overall success of the event.
Thirty eight classrooms, well-equipped science labs, special chemistry labs, computer labs, library, reading room, clean toilets and other facilities make this school that nestles amidst lush greenery, stand out. The newly opened Child Care Centre – for infants from three months to five years has proved to be a boon to the increasing number of working parents who do not have trustworthy domestic aides to take care of their children when they are at work. The Centre, with a qualified and USA experienced teacher at the helm, extends its facilities to children from other schools as well whose parents have no reliable person to care for their children when their school day is over, and the Child Care Centre at Horizon has all the facilities to provide for such children to be so taken care of, including having a shower, engaging in their home work, reading, watching quality programmes on television, and transport too made available to fetch them from whichever point they would be, and brought safely to Horizon till the end of the day when parents can fetch their offspring and take them home.
Additionally, school transport is also made available on request – children are fetched from a point closest and brought to school and taken home at the end of the day. Eight school buses operate to various locations to provide this service at a minimal cost.
The college has a fitting complement of teachers, qualified and competent, who have in fact joined the Horizon family from other educational establishments, and who are dedicated and committed to the cause – that of meeting the expectations of providing quality education while instilling discipline to the children under their care. Students prepare to sit for the EDEXCEL IGCSE exams.
While daily assembly is conducted at every educational establishment, Horizon focuses on the four major religions during assembly at the start of the day, once again underscoring the important of religious acceptance and understanding of one’s belief by another. A ‘thought for the day’ is shared every day, or an item is presented by a particular class to instill discipline through the thought or the item that is delivered. The principal, according to the needs of the student, has directed that separate assemblies are conducted – one for the pre-school and the primary, and the other for the upper school, imparting sound advice to the separate groups of children.
Worthy of mention is that the management of Horizon discourages private tuition after school hours, stressing that the students under their tutelage are provided with the best education and as such, would not require extra coaching in any subject. This stipulation, though stressed is not enforced, yet parents welcome this ‘rule’ as they agree that as a result, children have the time to relax and engage in other stimulating activities after school, rather be forced to take extra lessons in given subjects.
While the swimming pool is due to be opened in the foreseeable future, basketball, table tennis, netball, chess and scrabble are actively promoted with the smaller children being encouraged to participate in mini basketball and mini soccer. A student had been selected to be a part of the national netball pool – yet another achievement that has added a feather to Horizon’s cap! Team spirit is instilled in the young minds of the students’ so that they learn at a very early stage that ‘it matters not whether you won or lost but how you played the game.’ Thus, a spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie is evident among children who take part in various sporting events.
The management has introduced guiding from this term, and the Little Friends are eagerly looking forward to their activities, under the stewardship of a full-fledged guide.
MD/CEO Upul Daranagama, with a view to having highly qualified teachers set up Diploma in English, Diploma in Education and Diploma in Psychology courses at Horizon Campus, primarily to cater to the staff at Horizon College International so as to enable them to obtain the requisite qualifications, knowledge and experience which they in turn can put to good use in the course of their work. These qualifications are internationally recognized and would therefore give the teachers at the college an edge in their chosen profession.
This year, as an experiment, the management conducted a summer camp over a period of three days in which nearly 200 children participated. While parents dropped their children in the morning and fetched them at the end of the day, the day time activities included cooking, entertainment, face painting and other fun activities, camp fires, dinners and visits to the zoo. A committee comprising teachers organized the camp, and had planned all the activities meticulously, which had turned to be an outstanding success. This would therefore be an annual feature in Horizon’s calendar of activities.
Plans are also afoot to provide accommodation and board to students who may require this service, thereby making the institution similar to those reputed colleges around the world that provide such facilities.
And so Horizon College International will be embarking on another year of academic and extra-curricular activities, while maintaining the momentum, and striving for further achievements in the year ahead.