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Etisalat partners with STC to launch ‘Web Patashala’

Sri Lanka's first digital school makes education more interactive and interesting with personalized education at affordable prices.

‘Web Patashala’ sees the State Trading Corporation (STC) tie up with Etisalat to change the face of education in Sri Lanka and bring electronic learning (e-learning) to a mass local audience for the first time in the nation's history. Launched recently to an audience of over 3000 students and teachers at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, Web Patashala, is an online, e-learning tool that will allow students and teachers to access educational material from the national syllabus. Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, Minister of Education, Bandula Gunerwardena, along with other representatives of the Education ministry, Etisalat and the STC were present at the unveiling.

Etisalat is the driving force behind the development and maintenance of the e-learning platform itself, and through their 3.75G mobile broadband network, will provide the necessary Internet connectivity for the product. The content itself will be constantly reviewed to ensure that the highest standards are maintained by the National Institute of Education (NIE) under the guidance of the Ministry of Education. The nation's regulator of educational standards; the NIE will assure that all content meets the mandated benchmarks.

The e-learning platform is aimed at addressing problems that the education system in Sri Lanka is facing. One issue is the scarcity of teaching staff and educational material available to students in rural areas.

‘Web Patashala’ will allow these students greater access to educational material and increase the capacity and capability of the teachers that are available. To kick start the project notebook PCs with Web Patashala will be donated to 342 national schools around the island.

Commenting on the initiative Etisalat's CEO, Dumindra Ratnayaka, said, "This launch is a landmark venture for us as a Telco. At Etisalat we drive innovations that cause meaningful changes in people's lives. We looked at improving education, because an investment in our children is an investment in the future. ‘Web Patashala’ is not meant to replace teachers, but rather augment the learning and teaching potential of students by providing them with a wealth of learning material that will be accessible through the Internet."

Web Patashala is also an alternative to parents and students in Sri Lanka who are dependent on extra-curricular tuition at the cost of a significant financial burden. Web Patashala allows students to study on their own by providing them with access to lessons and content that goes beyond that of the school syllabi. With text materials and study guides, this innovation will act as a strong supplement to school lessons at a much more affordable cost that tuition.

The Chairman of the STC, Mr. Pradeep Gunawardana, commented on the timeliness of the venture,’ The role of the Internet in education is becoming increasingly paramount globally. In Sri Lanka we have one of the highest computer literacy rates amongst South Asian developing nations so we are poised to take advantage of this changing trend. If properly deployed the Internet becomes a powerful tool for Educating the next generation, and that is what we have achieved through Web Patashala, with Etisalat.'

Web Patashala will be sold as a bundle which includes: a notebook PC, an Etisalat mobile broadband connection, modem, the E-Learning content and Net Nanny; the leading parental control software. Net Nanny is known the world over as the best content-control software brand on the market; it allows teachers and parents to control access that children have to the Internet and make sure that it is a safe space for children to learn in.

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