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ICDL to Raise ICT Skill Levels in Education and Drive Economic Growth in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province

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13 December 2011

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Education, together with Microsoft, is commencing a programme of ICDL certification for teachers in east Sri Lanka. testIT (Pvt) Ltd., the ICDL National Operator for Sri Lanka and Maldives, provided the ICDL curriculum, testing facilities and certification for the participants.

This initiative is part of the government’s ‘Nagenahira Navodaya’ (Reawakening of the East) campaign, which is aimed at developing underprivileged areas of Sri Lanka, in order to foster their social and economic integration with the country as a whole.

The main objective of the Reawakening of the East programme is to bring about rehabilitation and reconstruction of Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, in order to improve the quality of life and economic prosperity of its citizens. One key element is the campaign is improving general levels of education through providing the region’s teachers with an internationally-recognised computer skills certification.

“We firmly believe that the knowledge of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) must be improved to take the students and teachers to the knowledge society of the 21st century,” said Mr. Anura Dissanayake, Project Director, Secondary Education Modernization Project II.
“So, with the worthy partnership of Microsoft Sri Lanka, under the ‘Partners in Learning Programme,’ we jointly launched the ICDL training course to teachers in the East. Once they are armed with the ICT qualification, I am sure it will spread throughout the education system with a rapid growth in ICT literacy and related activities.”

Under the Isuru Schools Development Programme, the Ministry of Education has begun to develop the physical infrastructure required for the programme of ICDL certification in 19 selected schools, by providing new teaching appointments, and equipping these teachers with ICDL certification. This represents the initial rollout of the Ministry of Education’s and Microsoft’s programme of providing ICDL training and certification for 2,300 teachers across Eastern Province. ICDL training will be held in certified training centres located in IDM (a private ICT training and testing network), and in Gateway testing facilities in locations throughout Eastern Province, including Kalmunai, Batticaloa, Akkraipattu, Trincomalee and Ampara. This special ICDL scholarship programme is a partnership between the ministry’s Secondary Education Modernization Project II, and is part-funded by Microsoft Sri Lanka’s ‘Partners in Learning’ programme.

By empowering the teachers and students of the East, the Ministry of Education hopes to provide students with the necessary skills to compete in the global workplace, and to fully experience the benefits of the information society. The Ministry of Education and Microsoft’s support for the programme of ICDL certification is an acknowledgement of the importance of a ground-up approach in tackling the digital divide facing underdeveloped, more isolated regions; people in underprivileged areas need to be provided with the necessary skills to utilise new technologies, in order to partake of the opportunities provided by today’s knowledge economy.