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Sunday, 17 April 2011

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Intel/Ministry ensure local communities benefit from IT



John E Davies and Minister of Higher Education Bandula Gunawardana exchanging the MoU

Sri Lanka has laid the foundation to be an ICT driven nation and now it has to be action, said Vice President of Intelís Sales and Marketing Group and General Manager of Intelís World Ahead Program, John E. Davies.

Low cost of broadband connections, establishment of a knowledge commission and elimination of taxes on IT related equipment are some of the forward looking moves taken by the Government to promote the use of information technology.

Davies said that the cost of broadband connections in Sri Lanka is low compared to other countries.

This is an advantage as it makes it more affordable, be it in homes, businesses or education. There is a need to get more computers to people.

He said that the knowledge commission consists of groups representing the fields of IT banks and government. In other countries you donít get this much of coverage which is a positive sign.

Davies said that Government from the last budget eliminated the taxes on PCS and on internet connections.

Laptops for undergrads

*The Ministry of Higher Education is planning to give laptops to students who enter universities on loan.

*Students are expected to pay back once they become employed.

* Expressions of Interest were sent out and distribution of laptops will commence, an official of the Ministry said.

These are forward looking moves. He said that the world over there is not enough highly qualified science and engineering graduates but there is a high demand for them.

During his visit to Sri Lanka, Intel and Sri Lankaís Ministry of Education signed two Memorandums of Understanding that are intended to strengthen science and maths education in Sri Lanka, aiming to empower the next generation of Sri Lankan students.

As part of the first MoU, Intel hopes to see its school e-learning program, which is currently available in English, be made available in a Sinhalese-language version.

In addition, Intel and the Ministry of Education expressed a shared desire in the second MoU to see the Sri Lanka Science and Engineering Fair (SLSEF) take place again this year. The two MoUs aim to give Sri Lankan students the opportunity to develop and showcase their maths and science skills, and to strengthen the use of technology in the classroom.

Intelís school program, initiated in 2007, offers teachers and students e-learning tools and resources that are designed to be more engaging and improve the learning process. Making these resources available in Sinhalese, in addition to the existing English version, will make them accessible to more students in Sri Lanka.

This is a good opportunity for students to enhance their education through the use of technology and show results. Ensuring that local communities benefit from technology is an important step towards building a brighter future for Sri Lanka.

ďWe are working with local communities and educational institutions through our Intel World Ahead Program to ensure that these opportunities are realised,Ē Davies said.

The Sri Lanka Science and Engineering Fair (SLSEF) is held in December each year. Competitors for this fair are selected from the Science Research Project competition of the National Science Foundation (NSF) of Sri Lanka and the annual Junior Inventor of the Year (JIY) competition held by the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL).

The ten best projects from these are brought together to compete at SLSEF.

 

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