SIBA is a unique liberal arts higher educational institute set up within a monastic and eco-friendly environment. It is both national and international in scope, grounded on Buddhist principles and, designed to produce local, national, and international religious, social, and political leaders who are at the sametime Dhamma practitioners and disseminators. Its educational programme aims at producing graduates who are:
- Knowledgeable in Buddha-Dhamma through study, practice and experience;
- Conversant in both humanities and social science disciplines;
- Fluent in English, Sinhala, Tamil, a research language and a foreign language;
- Equipped with management, communication and IT skills;
- Unbiased, unprejudiced, exemplary, positive, active, creative, and dynamic in character;
- Diplomatic, tolerant, sympathetic, empathetic and accountable in their dealings;
- Enthusiastic in maintaining a proper balance between moral and material development;
- Committed to maintain law and order, and discipline in society and enhance social, economic, political, and religious well-being of all individuals and social groups and communities;
At the core of the academic programme of SIBA is a philosophy of active and co-operative learning, critical thinking and critical analysis, for finding viable solutions to the world-wide human and environmental problems and ethical crises in a spirit of collaboration, enquiry and multicultural understanding. This philosophy asserts that knowledge is not acquired merely through passive reading of texts or listening to lectures, but requires students to be actively engaged in reading, reflecting, writing, discussing, and problem-solving. Through active learning, students develop higher-order knowledge and thinking skills that enable them to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, personalize and create.
Academic activities at SIBA emphasize Buddhist perspectives, and are also designed to help students explore new avenues and methods to become socially engaged in the task of a desirable social transformation and development both at home and abroad. SIBA also prepares students to
engage in self-directed learning and employs critical thinking skills with equal facility in English, one's own mother language, Sinhala and Tamil (in the Sri Lankan context, Tamil for those whose first language is Sinhala and Sinhala for those whose
first language is Tamil) and
one or more foreign languages. It is hoped that when equipped with such linguistic and other skills the graduates of the Academy would work as leaders in corporate, governmental, or non-profit environments in Sri Lanka or in other countries and continue their academic or professional training further at postgraduate level at home or abroad.
The Academy will serve as an international higher educational institute for Buddhist learning and research aimed at producing educated monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. It is not intended to be an institute which merely provides book learning and theoretical knowledge but aims at giving an education based on the sublime teachings of the Buddha that will be conducive to the emergence of future leaders who give proper moral direction to the community for the amelioration of the human predicament in all aspects of living such as economic, social, political and religious. The fundamental philosophy on which the Academy is based is the
Buddhist principle that ignorance and confused thinking is the root cause of most social
problems and moral crises. Hence an effective education leading to the practical consequence
of transformation of
human behaviour through the development of understanding and insight will be the primary objective of the Academy.
The main educational programme of the Academy is aimed at young people who truly want to become leaders and make a difference in the religious, social, political, and economic institutions in Sri Lanka and abroad. SIBA expects that its young graduates will give leadership to an active process of a desirable transformation of the institutional structures of society and their actual operation in the coming decades. This would be possible only if a real inner change at the psychomotor level of personality and behaviour takes place in those who are trained to play leadership roles. As a preparation for this change, SIBA also expects to prepare the ground by educating the existing leaders and inculcate new values in them. It is for this reason that SIBA expects to organize various short term training courses and workshops for Buddhist monks, nuns, local lay leaders and also foreigners who visit Sri Lanka as tourists, pilgrims, explorers, researchers, and spiritual seekers.