Himantha Karunaratne, the CEO of ESOL College, started his schooling at Sudarshana Model School, while he was residing at Matara. Exceling with flying colours at the Grade 5 scholarship, he was able to enter Richmond College at Galle which he regards to him as a second home, inheriting the ability to get on well with others and building up a rapport within his school. Himantha pursued a computer diploma at NIBM and in the meantime, he was also selected for a degree in Marketing Management at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
During the 3rd year of his degree, Himantha started his career as an instructor in an educational institution. Moving forward, he took up the position of Marketing Manager at leading educational institutions, during his career where he continued to be employed until his marriage. After uniting with Amali, both Himantha and Amali took over the business. Amali Jayasinghe is a focused woman who was a pillar of support, determined to develop the educational institution. “We had a crowd of only 100 students and one teacher at the initial stage, when Himantha joined. This has now grown into one of the leading educational institutions in Sri Lanka with 4 branches comprising over 5000 students and 150 lecturers”.
At the inception of ESOL, Himantha and Amali focused on providing superior and quality service to both students and parents. To make sure that they give a wholesome education experience, they procured quality classroom environments, textbooks of high calibre, and well-recognized affiliations. A bond was instigated with the English Assessment Department at the University of Cambridge – UK, and ESOL was the first Sri Lankan Institution to join Cambridge Assessments in the year 2006. ESOL College, affiliated with British Council, has found numerous ways to enrich operations, by even providing workshops for teachers every six months and conducting quality checks to maintain education standards.
The dynamic duo also launched a new company known the CELA Global UK, registered in the UK with the vision of providing the service of the best of teachers from various parts of the world to students across the globe including Sri Lanka. “We currently employ teachers from nine countries, including USA, England, South Africa, Australia, Finland, and Denmark. There are around 200 plus students currently enrolled from Sri Lanka alone and CELA Global UK strives to provide an international study experience”, they add together.
Their next hope is to establish the first “Language University” in Sri Lanka and provide an avenue for everyone to learn several languages including English, French, Japanese, and Chinese.
The Director & Principal of ESOL College, Amali Jayasinghe has a variety of experiences beginning from her time at St. Paul’s Girls School, shifting to Rajasinghe Central College from 7th grade to Ordinary Level, where she passed G.C.E Ordinary Level with 9 Distinctions. She pursued the Bio stream for her Advanced Level at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya. Amali had no interest in attending the local university but chose to study CELTA the highest qualification for teachers, at British Council. All the hard dedication and support put into the initial years of her career exposed her to the world of teaching.
“I thought I could teach the language more interestingly and effectively to the urban students as well as the rural students who has difficulty in manipulating the language through fun ways of learning,” said Amali. These motivating thoughts helped her to initiate the first step towards her dream by starting an institution – a first of many, at Hanwella in the year 2006 with only 06 students and named it ‘ESOL’.
A support system is what all entrepreneurs need but which many fails to receive! Amali was lucky enough to find Himantha who was not only supportive of her dream but also another who was passionate about making it a reality. Together they have come a long way in achieving their goals. Currently, the academic section is handled by four Master of English graduates. Under Amali’s guidance, the talented team at ESOL College is dedicated to the betterment of their students and teachers while uplifting the quality of teaching and learning.
ESOL College maintains a culture where the employees feel heard, appreciated, respected, and valued. This leads to a productive and efficient working environment. They have diverse but dynamic and pleasant employees on the team. Amali states that they are specialized in providing a wealth of corporate experience for the well-qualified and intelligent freshers that they do recruit.
Amali shares 3 of her core values, hoping to inspire the youngsters. “Determination, Sensitivity, and Perception are vital for growth”. She reiterates the importance of quality over quantity, of products and services. Most entrepreneurs are worried about gaining qualifications and capital when starting up a new venture. But Amali believes that changing one’s attitude and attributes is a crucial aspect that many don’t focus on. “It is bound to take you higher up in your journey”.