Business Times

Microsoft Sri Lanka takes IT to 1,000 rural villages

Microsoft Sri Lanka has implemented several programmes aimed at increasing Information Communication Technology (ICT) penetration into the rural sector of the country by its Gamata IT initiative, now established in partnership with the Tharunayata Hetak Movement, the ICTA, the Ministry of Education and Singer Sri Lanka.

This IT initiative is expected to reach 1,000 rural villages in the future. Gamata IT program has reached a further 80,000 people and trained 27,000, said Sriyan De Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka at a press conference held in Colombo to speak of the organization achievements over the past seven years.

Over the years, the company has contributed significantly to change the way ICT adoption permeates in Sri Lanka and thereby help the nation stand tall in the competitive global arena, he said. Among the new initiatives of Microsoft are funding the International Institute for Software Economics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incorporated (IISEIE), to conduct a high-tech Economy Survey for Sri Lanka. The purpose of this study is to better understand the needs and opportunities for the country’s high-tech industry development, with the results helping to develop programs that will enable the IT industry become a key driver of economic and social development for Sri Lanka.

In addition, Microsoft has pledged to deepen its engagement in Sri Lanka by donating over Rs. 5 billion worth of software which will benefit over 50,000 students and individuals and over 400 NGOs over the next three years, he said.

Further providing the younger generation with access to new technology, Microsoft and the Ministry of Education entered into a Schools’ Agreement that will enable schools to upgrade thousands of computers with latest technology including Windows 7 and other software, an initiative on which both parties will work closely in the years ahead.

It has also facilitated training and knowledge transfer to many thousands of students and teachers in schools while its software for the 21st Century initiative greatly benefits undergraduates. In addition, its assistance in training Secretaries of Ministries, Heads of Departments and other key administrators has helped increase efficiency and productivity in the public sector.

In 2004 Microsoft came to Sri Lanka with the hope of bringing the magic of software to all Sri Lankans, and positively transforming the local IT landscape. This year, the company marks seven years of empowering businesses and enriching lives of over 1.5million people across every corner of the country. This year also marks the celebration of successful partnerships and far-reaching affiliations, with the Government, the ICTA, the Ministry of Education, NGO partners, and leading Corporates that have helped Microsoft to take the role of a tiny pebble that sets off giant ripples across a vast pool that is the IT industry of Sri Lanka, he added.

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