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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 interest.

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 ruin.

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 challenges.

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 aptitudes.

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 country.

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 academic achievement.

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.

Buddhism, International Law and K.N. Jayatilleke

In 1967, at the Hague Academy of International Law, late Prof. K.N. Jayatilleke delivered five lectures entitled “The Principles of International Law in Buddhist Doctrine”. The article explores what Prof. Jayatilleke precisely meant by International Law and Buddhist Doctrine.

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Reform strategy in higher education - Part II

It is on the basis of the improvement of the access that both quality and relevance could be developed within the system. The access, through the external degree program and enrollment in tertiary institutions, has expanded in the last several years. The expansion needs to be accompanied with inclusiveness, and it essentially means an increase in enrollment.

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Uva development on a new high

Uva, widely known as Uva Wellassa, is a historic area where thousands of our valiant heroes sacrificed their precious lives for the sake of the territorial integrity of the country in the ancient times. Uva serves as a catchment area for many rivers and streams nurturing agriculture and several waterfalls such as Dunhinda, Diyaluma, Rawana Ella. The landscape and the scenic beauty has been a huge tourist draw card.

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