Tsunami warnings within 20 minutes
Of late, we have been hearing a lot on early tsunami warnings. Now,
there is news that a centre has been set up at the Disaster Management
and Human Rights Ministry premises, which can provide early tsunami
warnings within 20 minutes.
The centre, working in coordination with the Meteorology Department,
the Hawaii Early Warning Center in USA, the Asia Pacific Early Warning
Center in Japan and the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center, will be
operational 24 hours of the day.
It will also be assisted by NARA, the Geological Survey and Mines
Bureau and the University of Peradeniya. Accordingly, if and when
disaster strikes, the alarm will first be sounded by the relevant
scientific or technical agency and then at national level to local
government officials, and then to the community within a short period
through public address systems, emergency broadcasts and other means.
There are also plans to set up seven early tsunami warning centres in
different parts of the island by 2007, so that disaster and hazard
warnings could be issued without delay. People will then have time to
run to previously demarcated safe areas.
Short, medium and long term strategies have been launched by the
Ministry to reduce the danger during disasters and improve public
safety. These plans will strengthen local and national governance
structures, emphasising national and community-based environmental
resource management for long-term risk reduction.
The government has committed itself to implement this national policy
effectively. It will provide adequate preparedness for a co-coordinated,
reliable and timely response to disaster at all levels.
Mangrove belt to be rehabilitated
We all heard of the massive damages inflicted on the Yala National
Sanctuary by the 2004 tsunami. A part of this sanctuary which was
seriously damaged was the mangrove belt of the Yala Lagoon.
The Department of Wildlife Conservation has now made arrangements to
rehabilitate this mangrove belt. Accordingly, over 25,000 species of
mangroves will be planted around the Yala Lagoon.
This project is being funded by the government of Spain. Over Rs. 12
million is expected to be spent over the mangrove project.
Online educational system for local schools
The SchoolNet online educational system will be launched by the
Ministry of Education. This is expected to improve efficiency and
increase academic achievements within the country's public schools.
SchoolNet will revolutionise the way school administrators operate,
how teachers teach, parents stay involved, and children learn. It will
allow teachers and students from over 1,200 schools to access reference
material, tutorials, e-mails and other educational programmes over the
internet. For the first time, teachers will also be able to access
several lesson plans on their computers.
The educational programme is established by the Ministry of Education
and the Asian Development Bank-funded Secondary Education Modernisation
Project. It allows SchoolNet communities prompt online access to
educational software and enhances the effectiveness of teaching and
learning in the educational environment.
Technological developments in audio, video and computer assisted
programmes along with computer-mediated communications offer new
possibilities for teachers to carry out activities around interactive
learning, watching related videos, online assessments and holding
conversations in real time.
The distribution of educational software will be cost effective
through SchoolNet. Educational materials related to the national
curriculum will be available for Computer Assisted Learning with the
guidance of the National Institute of Education. The infrastructure and
service provider for SchoolNet is Sri Lanka Telecom.
Each school will be connected to SchoolNet by using different access
speeds based on their requirements. This will particularly benefit rural
schools through access to information and education content. The main
hub of SchoolNet will be located at the University of Moratuwa.
CSDP members in Singapore
Members of Children Skills Development Programme (CSDP) were on a
cultural tour to Singapore as part of the Children's Day celebrations.
They also displayed some local cultural items at the Vinix Children's
Day Ceremony held at United Square, Singapore.
Members of the organisation will also participate, for the sixth
time, in a cultural pageant and Children's Camp to be held in India in
Meanwhile, another one in the series of electronic media workshops
being conducted by the CSDP in connection with the National Year of
Children will be held at the Sudarshi Hall, Colombo 7 from 8.30am to
3.00pm on October 24.
Experienced media personalities such as Edwin Ariyadasa will be among
the participants of this workshop, where video recordings will also be
made. Certificates will be presented to the winners of the announcing
and dancing competitions to be conducted at the event.
Participation is open to all school-going children free of charge.
Those interested in participating can write to No. 51, Sri Dharmarama
Road, Dematagoda, Colombo 9 or call 0112-672718 or 0112-689536 for
Young artist showcases her paintings
Mithila Udawatte, a Grade 12 student of Pushpadana Girls' College,
Kandy, conducted her first solo art exhibition titled 'Sudu Kalu' at the
D.S. Senanayake Library, Kandy on October 17 and 18. The exhibition
showcased over 40 of her drawings done in Indian ink.
Mithila, who is studying for her A/Levels in the Arts stream, learns
Art as a subject. She had been keen on art even as a small child and had
dreamt of holding her own exhibitions. This has now become a reality.
Despite having no formal training in painting other than what she learns
in school, she has succeeded due to her talent. Her ambition is to
become a great and recognised artist.
Mithila has won many art competitions at school as well as outside,
with the most recent being the competition held in connection with the
100th anniversary of the Co-operatives network. Here, she won the All
Island first place in the Junior Category and received her award at a
presentation held at the BMICH recently.
Mithila expressed gratitude to all her schoolteachers who had lent
School debating tournament
The Appropriate Technology Challenge Trophy Inter School Debating
Tournament, organised by Practical Action in association with the Royal
College Sinhala Debating Society and Tamil Debaters Council, was held
recently at the Royal College.
Students from 80 Sinhala and Tamil Schools from many districts such
as Kurunegala, Badulla, Kandy, Matara and Mannar participated in this
debating tournament. In its fourth year, the debating tournament was
conducted, not only in Sinhala, but in Tamil medium as well.
Ananda College and Isipathana Vidyalaya, Colombo qualified for the
final round of the Sinhala debating tournament, while Isipathana
Vidyalaya emerged winners. In the Tamil debating tournament, S. Thomas
College, Mt. Lavinia and Hindu Ladies College qualified for the final
rounds, while S. Thomas' College emerged as the winners.
Sandamadulla Madya Maha Vidyalaya, Badulla and Don Bosco Tamil
College were awarded scholarships from Microsoft as they were the best
performers from the outstation schools. The winners of the competition
received gift vouchers from the Association of Chartered Certified
Accountants of Sri Lanka.