Empowering rural students
Sri Lanka's education sphere entered a
revolutionary phase yesterday with the launch of Nenasa, a
modern concept that would induct the country's schoolgoing
population into the latest in learning techniques. This comes in
the form of a state-of-the-art Digital Satellite based Distance
Education Bridge managed and operated by the Education Ministry
of and National Institute of Education (NIE). The project is
facilitated by Dialog.
The move could be termed as a groundbreaking development in
the education sector helping it move out from its obsolete and
moribund systems that have produced poor results. The new
introduction it is hoped would galvanize the students out of
their lethargy and take to their learning with a new zest and
Distance Education was hitherto only the preserve of the
wealthy and affluent classes whose children logged onto study
courses disseminated from foreign universities and higher
learning institutes. President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be
lauded for taking the initial steps to afford this privilege to
the poor children of our rural schools and allow them to compete
on a level playing field with access to the latest information.
The project launched by the Presidential Secretariat to
provide English/IT education to the widest possible reaches of
the country can only complement the current facility to equip
the rural schools with the latest in learning methods.
As reported in our lead story yesterday, Nenasa will connect
1,000 rural schools in Sri Lanka to a high quality rendition of
the National curriculum, developed by the NIE, over a digital
satellite television broadcast medium.
Not only that, children with Internet access will now be able
to download Nenasa content under a Learning Management
System(LMS) which will effectively be the first time the Sri
Lanka Educational curriculum would become available on the
internet. Nenasa primarily will be dedicated towards
broadcasting educational content and cater to the O/L and A/L
syllabus in Sinhala and Tamil.
Fittingly, President Rajapaksa launched the program from a
rural school in Moneragala which let alone Distance Learning was
starved of even the basic facilities such as classrooms and
desks, school equipment and most of all teachers."Our Government
is making every effort to harness the potential of rural Sri
Lanka,with special emphasis on enhancing educational facilities
in remote regions including the liberated areas in the North and
East" the President said at the launch .
He said Nenasa is a gateway towards achieving an empowered
society in the country's march towards the future.
President Rajapaksa, no doubt realizes the importance of
keeping the country's youth in touch with the development of a
fast changing world.This is a must in the context of the new
independence achieved for the country after three decades of
The President is aware that the nation's future prosperity
lies in our ability to keep pace with the latest development and
advances in the global sphere. For, in this era of globalization
Sri Lanka cannot afford to be left behind in the Information
Super Highway that is careening at a frenetic pace.
Hence, his desire to provide a base for all to come out of
their retrogressive mindsets and gain access to these new vistas
and frontiers which were limited only to a privileged few in our
society, by opening up fresh avenues to a collective whole so
that the country would be better equipped to meet the emerging
Also with the three decade long war behind us, the time has
also come to experiment with fresh approaches in the educational
sphere as with all other fields of endeavour especially in view
of the vast development undertakings and hitherto untapped
potential to grapple with which calls for special skills and
This is another reason why the President wants a wider access
of knowledge to the present generation so that these demands and
challenges could be met with the available pool of talent in the
We should therefore ideally have in handy a vast pool of
skilled expertise that are in tune with modern methods and
advances. For, our rebuilding and reconstruction exercise will
essentially have to meet with the modern demands and
requirements in keeping with the new Independence achieved.
This necessarily means we would have to equip our the next
generation with the necessary wherewithal and know how which the
new education set up no doubt would go a long way in achieving.
With the North too now open to the mainstream the country can
look forward to a leap in the area of skills development and
This would also fulfil the President's oft expressed desire
to employ local expertise in the country's development
projects.In this regard the new generation of educated youth
equipped and versed in the latest development and methods would
come in handy if the President's frequent calls for Lankans
domiciled abroad to participate in the country's development
meets with the expected response, with war now over.