The highest ranking professional in global IT industry to visit Sri Lanka, Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barrett arrived in the island 8 th December 05. His arrival marked growing investor confidence in Sri Lanka as a destination for technology adoption and ICT enabled development. Intel has been working in close partnership with Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and recently announced the launch of the “eSri Lanka PC”, a programme that seeks to improve PC penetration and usage in the country.
The purpose of Dr. Barrett’s visit is to meet with His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to signal Intel’s growing commitment to Sri Lanka. In a swift response to His Excellency’s request in October 2005, Intel is now embarking on a national teacher training programme, Teach to the Future in partnership with ICTA and the Ministry of Education. During this visit, Dr. Barrett congratulated His Excellency for setting up an apex body, the ICT Agency, to oversee ICT development of the country, an achievement even the US has not been able realize.
Intel’s Teach to the Future programme is a worldwide effort to help teachers to integrate technology into instruction, to develop students’ higher-order thinking skills, and enhance learning. The ultimate goal is 100,000 trained teachers. Intel will also undertake to set up regional training centres, to ensure localisation and translation of training content and create teacher networks to ensure teacher support and motivation following their training.
Dr Barrett addressed a gathering of over 750 members of the Sri Lankan ICT community at a grand event held in Colombo on the 9 th of December 05. During this multimedia presentation, he outlined Intel’s vision of working towards a digitally advantaged Sri Lanka. The artfully structured presentation was interspersed with video presentations and onstage interactions with Sri Lankans who have taken ICT to the next level in several fields. In the field of entrepreneurship, Harsha Purasinghe, CEO Microimage, presented his work with local language mobile applications. Rural ICT, and the real potential of, was demonstrated by Nandasiri Wanninayaka and his students of Horizon’s Lanka Foundation. Video presentations showed progress of the ICTA Nanasala project and highlighted the ultimate possibilities achievable through technology, as narrated through the Kandurupitiya Kudathammanava viduhala story. The highlight of the event was the live demonstration of WiMax technology through a video conferencing between Dr. Barrett and the Mayor of Galle.
The Government of Sri Lanka has shown a great commitment to using ICT as an enabler for development. Sri Lanka though its e-Sri Lanka project implemented by ICTA has sent a clear message to the world that the country is a serious player in the ICT arena. Dr. Barrett’s visit to Sri Lanka is a clear indication that the world is ready to take Sri Lanka seriously!