Microsoft Sri Lanka Builds IT Skilled Labour Workforce
Microsoft Sri Lanka, together with the Sarvodaya-Fusion, have initiated a project to educate 5,000 youth from rural areas around Sri Lanka in computer science. Focusing on the areas of coding, computer application and computer science, youth from Gampaha, Ratnapura, Kandy, Kurunegala, Badulla, Monaragala, Jaffna, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Matara will be educated in three phases over the span of a year.
“As a developing nation, Sri Lanka is in the running to be a technology savvy leader in the South Asian region. The Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure strives to ensure that the people of Sri Lanka will have better connectivity and access to advanced technology. Organisations such as Microsoft and Sarvodaya-Fusion, with their projects, missions and goals are helping the effort by focusing on digitising the lives of rural youth. This project in particular will prepare youth and equip them with basic IT skills, paving the way for our nation to be tech-savvy and on par with global standards in the future,” said Hon. Minister Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure.
Development of outskirts in Sri Lanka has become a subject of interest both internationally and locally. To stay on par with the globally changing ICT landscape, Sri Lanka too has to be more equipped with advanced IT skills, especially in computer science. With strong support from the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure and the leading NGO Sarvodaya-Fusion, Microsoft aspires to enable and give opportunities to those who lack accessibility to technology.
The project will commence in Kurunegala on the 17th September 2016 and host 300 youth and parents at Kuliyapitiya Town Hall.
Advisor to Hon. Harin Fernando on International Affairs and Corporate Relations, Nishan Fernandopulle commented, “The Kurunegala District is advancing in terms of amenities as well as technology and this project will surely be appreciated by both the parents as well as the youth who will be in the learning seat. Driving change in the 21st century is a challenge as it keeps evolving. Youth in the Kurunegala District are enthusiastic on embarking on their new journey in the ICT landscape.”
The development of IT skills has been an ongoing conversation worldwide and one that is very relevant to Sri Lanka as well. Every day more products and services are becoming increasingly more reliant on technology and this means that there is a high demand for a technologically skilled labour force. As researched by CompTIA, the demand for ICT skills is expected to reach $3.8 trillion in 2016, from $3.7 trillion the previous year.
With a mission to enable digital access, digital literacy and digital benefits, for every person in Sri Lanka the General Manager of Sarvodaya-Fusion Sri Lanka, Isura Silva said, “With over 10 years of experience in the field of ICT, I understand the importance of ICT skills for all youth. As we commence this project, we hope to have a positive domino effect in the ten chosen districts and create an ICT ready labour force in the coming years. Aged 11 years to 18 years, the youth will be exposed to technology and taught coding as well as computer science in general, thus expanding their knowledge on the ICT landscape.”
Microsoft, together with Sarvodaya-Fusion is making a concerted effort to positively impact rural areas of Sri Lanka with ICT skills and knowledge. Microsoft Sri Lanka has given on-going support in IT adoption for national productivity and contributed immensely to the education sector in Sri Lanka. Microsoft have created opportunities for the youth to participate in international competitions, conducted courses for teachers and provided Office 365 software for schools to name a few. Partnering with local NGO’s such as Sarvodaya-Fusion, Microsoft has made a significant impact by providing sustainable solutions that address the development of an ICT skilled labour force.
“Abiding by our value to achieve national productivity and trust through digital transformation and innovation, under the grant of the cross-company initiative YouthSpark, we have embarked on this project to enrich the lives of the children who lack access to technology. Believing that equality and a better future for Sri Lanka is key, we at Microsoft have created platforms to help productivity be achieved at all levels,” commented Janakie Karunaratne, communications and community lead for Microsoft Sri Lanka.