While Uva currently has the poorest IT literacy in the country, IT initiatives focusing on this and other areas have begun showing success.
As such, due to improved participation by teachers and students, especially from outside the Western province; IT in Sri Lanka now truly is emerging into a "national footprint", according to Microsoft Country Manager, Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne.
He was speaking at last week's "Partners in Learning Innovative Teachers and Students Competition 2009" awards presentation, a programme which showcased innovative use of IT by teachers and students in classrooms across an array of subject matter. His point was further reinforced by emerging trends showing that the highest number of entries for this year's competition were from the Southern province, 11,535 entries; while Central (10,046), North Western (6,945) and even Uva (6,197) also contributed significantly. Interestingly, the Western province only submitted 6,079 entries this year.
Meanwhile, the competition also continued to show significant increases in the number of entries year on year.
The current competition featured almost 54,000 entries; up from 36,314 the year before, 15,360 in 2007 and 4,811 in 2006. It was also revealed that the increasing number of entries had prompted the competition to expand next year to offering Innovative Kids categories. Additionally, according to Education Minister Susil Premajayanth, there are IT labs in 3,500 schools, with plans underway to provide IT centres to 6,000 schools by 2010.
Microsoft’s next education initiative, according to Mr. de Silva Wijeyeratne, would result in a further Rs. 100 million being spent in the next 15 to 18 months to equip 400 rural schools with IT capabilities.