IT sector posers
THE asking rate is 5000 more Lankan IT professionals by 2011.
Is Sri Lanka ready to meet this need? This is the issue that needs to be
addressed by the State agencies and other sections handling IT-related
matters in this country.
The clichetic sentiment that the world "has gone IT" need not be
repeated here for the urgency of this issue to be driven home.
The crux of the matter is that modern living is impossible without a
knowledge of and expertise in IT. In fact, IT technology and its
products are in a most fluid state of change and even today's IT
equipment may be highly obsolete tomorrow.
Office environments in this respect are changing by the day the world
over and Sri Lanka would look pathetically helpless if it does not
provide for itself the necessary IT expertise, qualitatively and
These thoughts arise in us on reading the lead story in our business
pages yesterday which quoted the General Manager, Virtusa, Madu
Ratnayake as telling a press briefing that 5000 more IT professionals
would be needed annually locally to meet our shortfall in IT expertise.
If this need is met a 20 percent growth could be gained in the local IT
Ironically, the need for IT expertise is realised at the lower levels
of the local educational structure, such as primary and secondary
schools, but not to the desired extent at the tertiary educational
By saying this we do not mean that the entirety of our primary and
secondary schools are endowed with the necessary capacity and expertise
to impart an IT education to their wards. Nothing could be farther from
A vast number of our primary and secondary schools, particularly
those in the provinces, are yet to be empowered in this respect.
Nevertheless, some effort is being made at these levels to address the
need for an IT-based education.
However, turning out IT professionals as such is an entirely
different matter. It is only graduate and post-graduate programmes in IT
education which could meet this great shortfall and the institutions
which could meet it are universities and related tertiary education
Therefore, what is basically needed are such seats of learning which
would not only be a spur to the development of IT expertise but also
help in absorbing the aspirants to a higher learning who are left out of
the existing universities for no fault of theirs.
Taking Sri Lanka well into the 21st century has been the dream of
successive governments. If our success is to be measured in this
endeavour in terms of the number of IT literate persons the country
produces, then, much is left to be desired.
We are well short of the recognized targets. Accordingly, much and
bold forward planning is necessary. Economic development is not possible
without a productive and resourceful labour force and the latter cannot
be achieved without a degree of IT literacy.
The level of sophistication achieved by modern processes of
production is attributable to a great degree to the use of IT in them.
Accordingly, productivity is unthinkable without IT literacy. So, we
urge the educational and related authorities to put their thinking caps
on. They need to think "out of the box" before our brain drain could do
us greater harm.
As pointed out by British High Commissioner Dominick Chillcott, too
many young Lankans are drifting outside our shores in search of work
that excites and interests them. The rot could be stemmed if our work
environments manage to engage their energies.
Ethical values in a changing village
WITH the dawn of a new century and a new
millennium, we are becoming more concerned about what is in store
for us in the future. Social scientists predict that globalisation
will ultimately take us to a new village, a Global Village with new
hopes and aspirations.
Ajith Samaranayake - the end of an era
THE announcement last week of Ajith
Samaranayake's death took me by surprise, and created a great sense
of melancholia. Oddly enough, knowing nothing of the illness, I had
been thinking of him the night before, when I was looking through a
copy of the first New Lankan Review, the journal I had begun in
South East Asia no more a haven for LTTE gun-running
LTTE Leader V. Prabhakaran made his annual
speech on November 27. Unlike President Rajapaksa who celebrated his
first anniversary of Presidency with his people, Prabhakaran had to
deliver his speech confined to his jungle hideout in the Wanni.