The Year 2009 had been
named the ‘Year of English and ICT’. The year is coming to a
close. Hence, it would not be inappropriate to dwell on various
aspects of development related to Information Technology. As the
world has entered a new stage in which knowledge itself has
become a productive force it is essential that developing
countries such as Sri Lanka should also aspire to create a
knowledge based society.
Sri Lanka as a developing nation has to overcome a
long-standing backwardness. The gap between it and developed
countries has been widening. The technology gap is enormous. Its
result has been further backwardness. The digital revolution has
given an impetus to developed countries. At the same time a new
digital divide has also arisen.
However, the revolution in Information Technology and
particularly the advances in digital technology have opened new
vistas for poor countries such as Sri Lanka to leapfrog to
Over the past few years Sri Lanka has made considerable
headway in the application of Information Technology. In
e-Governance Sri Lanka is among the best in Asia. It has made
government more accessible to the citizens. The Nenasala project
has made IT accessible at village level. It has made a signal
contribution in empowering the rural youth.
In the sphere of education much has been done and much
remains to be done. About 6,000 schools will be provided with IT
In addition free solar powered laptop computers are being
given to schoolchildren. This will open the doors to a vast
field of knowledge through the Internet. Rapid advances have
been made in communications. Mobile phones have become a common
household commodity. Internet penetration is increasing. It is
also being made accessible in the national languages too.
The Government has also taken the initiative to start a nano-technology
park. The use of nano-technology will enhance the productivity
of industry and agriculture. It would assist the country to
bridge the digital divide as well as the traditional divide.
Sri Lankan youth are highly intelligent. This is witnessed by
the many international awards they have won in international IT
competitions et al. It is necessary to provide them
opportunities to use their talents creatively and profitably.
Innovation and entrepreneurship should be encouraged through the
education system and by other means.
In the export sector Sri Lanka has a vast potential to
develop software exports. Also attempts should be made to
attract Sri Lankan expatriates proficient in both software and
However, not everything is rosy. There are drawbacks and
shortcomings. For example, most Government websites opened with
fanfare and huge publicity are not updated or properly
maintained. Though computers are made available to Government
institutions optimal use is not made of them.
Most developing countries, including those in Africa make
better use of the electronic media for education and citizen
In contrast, though the electronic media in computers are
made available to Government institutions optimal use is not
made of them. Sri Lanka seems to be too commercialized. Nothing
but profit seems to be its only objective.
It is time to draw up plans for the future to keep the same
momentum to spread the knowledge of ICT. It would be respecting
the people’s right to information and knowledge.
Swine swine flu
The widely spreading AH1N1 pandemic was originally known as
swine flu. However, it was a misnomer as it had nothing to do
with swine. It started spreading from human to human. Had it
been not for the timely intervention of the World Health
Organization, millions of swine would have been culled. News
from the wire services yesterday reported the first instance of
AH1N1 affecting swine. Swine in five farms in South Korea and
breeder swine imported from Canada were found to be infected
with AH1N1. They have contacted it from humans.
So not contended with blaming the poor creatures at the
outset humans have now managed to transmit the disease to the
poor swine. Fortunately for humans, they are not vindictive as
to cull humans in revenge.