Sihini Brings New Dreams to Gamini Public School, Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Sihini Brings New Dreams to Gamini Public School, Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka


Sihini Atalugama

Miss Sihini Atalugama is a Sri Lankan American teenage girl living in Tampa, Florida, the United States of America. Her parents, Lalani and Asela Atalugama had been helping Horizon Lanka since 2002 by providing scholarships to the students of Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya.

Last June, Sihini visited Mahawilachchiya with her younger brother Thehan Atalugama and her parents on a week-long volunteering assignment. Since Horizon Academy in Mahawilachchiya was grooming Gamini Public School as a “sister school” by providing foreign volunteers, IT related equipment, musical instrument, etc. to this school, the Horizon Lanka Foundation directed Sihini to volunteer at this school which brought immense benefits to the school.

Sihini and her brother taught English to the students here. Sihini also initiated a program to provide financial scholarships to the students of this school by launching Bright Light Foundation on her own initiative with little guidance from her parents. Visit www.brightlightconnect.org and assist her in this boundless initiative. She hopes to raise funds for the scholarships program through her website and direct the funding to brighten the lives of the students in this small school in which around 200 students’ study.

On top of all these Sihini’s parents donated money to the school to buy a few dictionaries, sports jerseys and shorts for the school volleyball team and also some school supplies and USB pen drives to the school. They also brought reading glasses from the USA and distributed them among the villagers in Dunumandalawa, Mahawilachchiya.

Sihini also hopes to raise funds to provide an air conditioner to Gamini School’s computer lab in the future. There are a few other projects lined up for the school if the school authorities show that the funds are managed transparently and utilized effectively for the benefit of the students and the school.

Pramodhya Gunarathna pramodhya.umayangani.gunarathna@horizonacademy.lk – Grade 10 – Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya

Sihini Atalugama with the students of Gamini Public School, Mahawilachchiya
Sihini Atalugama with the students of Gamini Public School, Mahawilachchiya
Sihini Atalugama in the USA
Sihini Atalugama in the USA
Distribution of reading glasses to the villagers in Duunumandalawa, Mahawilachchiya
Distribution of reading glasses to the villagers in Duunumandalawa, Mahawilachchiya

Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Jaffna Needs Your Support

Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Jaffna Needs Your Support

maniyanthoddam-girlsHorizon Lanka Foundation started its fifth Horizon Academy in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Nallur, Sri Lanka in June, 2018. Father S. M. Sebastian OMI, Parish Priest who is a dynamic priest who does a lot for the students and the community at large in the village through his hard work. He already had another academy called Eugene Academy and all we had to do was to use its premises and resources to establish Horizon Academy there.

The running cost of the Horizon Academy here per month is around 25,000 LKR | 156.68 USD | 133.90 EUR. This cannot be recovered from the students as their parents get a very low salary or in most cases, no salary at all. Besides, this is a village that was reduced to rubble during the bitter civil war and people still face a lot of financial issues. So, we have decided not to charge a fee from the students here till the end of December here. After that, we will charge 100 LKR | 0.63 USD | 0.54 EUR per month from a student. If we get 100 students per month, we would be able to get only 10,000 LKR | 62.67 USD | 53.56 USD. This will cover part of the monthly expenses from January, 2019.

Since we cannot afford to pay the teachers, we depend on local and foreign volunteers to teach English and ICT here. So far, three foreign volunteers have taught the children in this Academy. They were Ms. Clara Charriere, Ms. Pauline Oswald and Ms. Laurie Kuhne from France and Ms. Ashwini Balan from Singapore. Ms. Emilie Østmo from Norway is the present volunteer here. We expect more local and foreign volunteers to join us soon.

The foreign volunteers teach English free of charge in the public schools in the mornings and this is totally free of charge for all the students in those schools. The students come to Horizon Academy in the evenings. Foreign volunteers teach throughout the week days and local volunteers can help teach these students English, ICT, science, mathematics, fine arts and sports during weekends. For the local volunteers, the villagers will provide food and accommodation free of charge. (Foreign volunteers pay the host families for their food and accommodation.)

The students have to pay the above fee for attending Horizon Academy from January, 2019 as there are some costs involved in the Academy such as electricity, internet, telephone, stationary, transport, entertaining guests, etc. So, if any of you could help us with these expenses, please email us on info@horizonlanka.org. (All contributions and expenses will be recorded, audited and shared with the donors and other stakeholders.)

Nanda Wanninayaka, The Founder and the Chairman of the Horizon Lanka Foundation

Ms. Emilie Østmo, the Norwegian volunteer teaching the students of Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Jaffna
Ms. Emilie Østmo, the Norwegian volunteer teaching the students of Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Jaffna

Ms. Emilie Østmo teaching the students of Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka
Ms. Emilie Østmo teaching the students of Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka
The students learning English at Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka
The students learning English at Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka
The students of Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka
The students of Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka

Horizon Academy – Kirimetiya, Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya Needs Your Support

Horizon Academy – Kirimetiya, Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya Needs Your Support

Horizon Lanka Foundation started its fourth Horizon Academy in Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka in May, 2018. 

The general belief of rest of the country is that the children here in tea estates in the Up Country are not ready to learn and they dropout from schools at a young age and directly join the work at tea estates or elsewhere. But, what I saw was totally different. The kids and the parents here pay a great attention to education and some kids even speak some basic English.

Since we cannot afford to pay the teachers, we depend on local and foreign volunteers to teach English and ICT here. So far, three foreign volunteers have taught the children in this area. They were Mr. Alain Horst and Ms. Laura Horst from Switzerland in May and Ms. Balbina Gramespacher from Germany in July. We expect more local and foreign volunteers to join us soon.

The running cost of the Horizon Academy here per month is around 25,000 LKR | 156.68 USD | 133.90 EUR. This cannot be recovered from the students as their parents get a very low salary. One estate worker gets only an average salary of 650 LKR | 4.07 USD | 3.48 EUR per day. Still, if education is provided totally free of charge, they would not understand the value of it. So, we decided to charge 100 LKR | 0.63 USD | 0.54 EUR per month. If we get 100 students per month, we would be able to get only 10,000 LKR | 62.67 USD | 53.56 USD. We cannot expect that many students initially. Our aim is to attract that number of students by December, 2018.

The foreign volunteers teach English free of charge in the public schools in the mornings and this is totally free of charge for all the students in those schools. The students come to Horizon Academy in the evenings. Foreign volunteers teach throughout the week days and local volunteers can help teach these students English, ICT, science, mathematics, fine arts and sports during weekends. For the local volunteers, the villagers will provide food and accommodation free of charge. (Foreign volunteers pay the host families for their food and accommodation.)

The students have to pay the above fee for attending Horizon Academy as there are some costs involved in the Academy such as electricity, Internet, telephone, stationary, transport, entertaining guests, etc. So, if any of you could could help us with these expenses, please email us on info@horizonlanka.org. (All contributions and expenses will be recorded, audited and shared with the donors and other stakeholders.)

Nanda Wanninayaka – Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation

The students of Horizon Academy – Nanu Oya with the staff members
Students of Horizon Academy -Nanu Oya
Students of Horizon Academy -Nanu Oya
Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka with the students
Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka with the students
Desford School, Nanu Oya
Desford School, Nanu Oya

Introducing Basketball to Horizon Academies

Introducing Basketball to Horizon Academies

Children at Horizon Academy - Ralapanawa playing basketball

Horizon Lanka Foundation promotes 10 sports at its academies. They are cricket, volleyball, soccer, American football, handball, baseball, rugby, elle, basketball and martial arts. Students fell in love with basketball after watching the Hollywood movie “Coach Carter.”

Miss Clara Charrière from France brought a few basketballs and she also teaches the game to the students. Still we don’t have proper courts and hoops for the game. If any of you want to help us with them, please contact us.

Prabodha Kalotuwawa – Prabodha.sandeepani.kalotuwawa@horizonacademy.lk

Students playing basketball at Horizon Academy - Ralapanawa
Students playing basketball at Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa
Coach Carter Poster
Coach Carter Poster

151. Alain Horst – Switzerland

151.	Alain Horst – Switzerland

Alain Horst – Switzerland

Mr. Alain Horst from Switzerland volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in May, 2018.

TOUR REPORT 

“Dear Nanda

We thank you for the opportunity you gave us to teach English here in Sri Lanka. We learned a lot about the country and its people. We were astonished how greatly we had been welcomed in the village, especially in Segars house and how keen the children were to learn new things. Without knowing English and the western culture, Segars parents had been amazing hosts. Even though our stay had many positive aspects, we decided to leave earlier than planned, as the work was much more challenging and time consuming then described on workaway.info. We think that the Horizon Lanka Academy has a very good aim, but we also think that some points need to be improved for the next volunteers. Below we listed some points that may be improved.

Before Arrival

The communication before our arrival was very short, but as you referenced on your informative website, it was ok for us. The website has information about almost everything. As the website is only for the village Mahawilachchiya it was obvious for us that we will teach in Mahawilachchiya itself.

Our recommendation: As most of the volunteers do not teach in the village itself, it should be made clearly on the website that the academy is spread over whole Sri Lanka and many new branches are opening right now. The volunteers need to know, that the meeting point may not be in Mahawilachchiya.

Arrival

From Colombo we had a six hour bus drive to Anuradhapura, just to be informed that we could teach in Nanu Oya which was another six hour bus drive back to the south. We could have gone there directly from Colombo with comfortable two hours in the train.

Our recommendation: Plan and discuss already in advance where the volunteers should go and save a lot of time and energy of the volunteers. This time and energy should better be used for the work with the children.

New Guest Families

The culture of Sri Lanka and of the one from the western people is very different and we were happy to receive the code of ethics in advance. These rules are very good and very important. Unfortunately we had to learn that our guest family never received these rules. Also you told us that the family has no western toilet but you never mentioned that the family has no shower and the washing happens outside the house. Even though we had been very
surprised, it was no problem for us as we are used to this kind of washing trough our camping experiences.

Our recommendation: The code of ethics should be a high priority to new guest families and you should not just send it to them, but furthermore discuss it with them and make sure everything is well understood. We think it must also be clearly communicated how the situation with toilet and non existing bathroom is, as we are sure many volunteers will have some trouble with it.

Opening a New Branch

Organisation

When we arrived in Nanu Oya, the first day we had to visit the regional education director, the vice regional education director and as well the headmasters of the schools to explain them the organisation Horizon Lanka and what we are going to teach. We felt that neither the local administrator nor the school directors had been informed how Horizon Lanka works and what the volunteers are here for. We would have loved to know for ourselves what our
tasks here would be.

Our recommendation: If opening a new branch, make sure that all people involved know what the academy is about and what the volunteers are capable of and what not.

Working hours

On our arrival we had been asked to work five hours in the morning in four different public schools, four hours in the afternoon for the academy and the evening to improve the English of Segar. Also we had been asked to work on Saturday the whole day. The next day we discussed it again and lowered the working hours. But it was difficult for us to arrive and first have to say “no” to everything.

Our recommendation: Offer the volunteers the minimum amount of working hours and give them the possibility to teach more hours if they want. This gives them the chance to grow slowly in their work. Also we think it is much better if the volunteer work in the beginning just in one school to get to know the teachers, students and rules of the schools. More schools could be added, if the volunteer feels comfortable.

English Teaching Public School

From beginning it was expected of us to teach the classes without the help of a local English teacher. We explained clearly that this is not possible for us, as we didn’t know the level of the children nor how the school here works. Beside an English book (which did not fit to the level of the children), no teaching material was present. In the end, the English teacher did not show up the whole morning. Laura as an experienced teacher was able to teach the classes without school material for a whole morning. But it was extremely stressful for her. For volunteers without many years of teaching experience this would have been just impossible.

Our recommendation: As everyone can teach for Horizon Academy many inexperienced volunteers will come. We think teaching for them is just possible if they get the support of an experienced teacher, very small groups of children or at least good teaching material. If no English teacher and no material is available, the volunteers have to know this in advance so they can prepare themselves properly for the lessons.

English Teaching Academy Afternoon

In the afternoon twenty very motivated children had been there. We decided to teach English as the school headmaster clearly expressed that he would prefer us to teach English than dancing lessons. As we did not have any teaching material, we also needed to prepare the lessons for the afternoon which was very time consuming.

Our recommendation: If no teaching material is available, the volunteers have to know this in advance so they can prepare themselves properly for the lesson. It would be a good idea for the Horizon Lanka Academy to provide some material to the volunteers including for example ideas for games and songs.

IT Teaching

When we arrived in Nanu Oya we learned that no computers are available for the children and that I also should teach English. One school had computers but they were reserved for the teachers.

Our recommendation: If someone is sent to teach IT, make sure that some IT infrastructure is available.
If some of our mentioned recommendations could be put into practice, we are sure, that it could be an amazing experience for all involved parties. Thank you again for the great experience and all the best for the future!”

Explanation

Dear Laura and Alain,

Thanks for the valuable feedback. I understand that many things went disarray as Horizon Academy – Nanu Oya was not yet ready when I sent you two there. In fact, I had not decided to send volunteers there till I go there for a second time and ensure everything is in order. The rash decision to send you two there was based on the extremely hot weather prevailed in Anuradhapura during mornings. But, I should still have made better arrangements in Nanu Oya. I apologize and take responsibility for all these and thank you two a lot for doing a lot despite the unfavorable conditions you faced. – Nanda Wanninayaka (The Founder and Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation.)

Alain Horst from Switzerland teaching the students in Nanu Oya
Alain Horst from Switzerland teaching the students in Nanu Oya

150. Laura Horst – Switzerland

150.	Laura Horst – Switzerland

150.	Laura Horst - SwitzerlandMs. Laura Horst from Switzerland volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in May, 2018.

TOUR REPORT 

“Dear Nanda

We thank you for the opportunity you gave us to teach English here in Sri Lanka. We learned a lot about the country and its people. We were astonished how greatly we had been welcomed in the village, especially in Segars house and how keen the children were to learn new things. Without knowing English and the western culture, Segars parents had been amazing hosts. Even though our stay had many positive aspects, we decided to leave earlier than planned, as the work was much more challenging and time consuming then described on workaway.info. We think that the Horizon Lanka Academy has a very good aim, but we also think that some points need to be improved for the next volunteers. Below we listed some points that may be improved.

Before Arrival

The communication before our arrival was very short, but as you referenced on your informative website, it was ok for us. The website has information about almost everything. As the website is only for the village Mahawilachchiya it was obvious for us that we will teach in Mahawilachchiya itself.

Our recommendation: As most of the volunteers do not teach in the village itself, it should be made clearly on the website that the academy is spread over whole Sri Lanka and many new branches are opening right now. The volunteers need to know, that the meeting point may not be in Mahawilachchiya.

Arrival

From Colombo we had a six hour bus drive to Anuradhapura, just to be informed that we could teach in Nanu Oya which was another six hour bus drive back to the south. We could have gone there directly from Colombo with comfortable two hours in the train.

Our recommendation: Plan and discuss already in advance where the volunteers should go and save a lot of time and energy of the volunteers. This time and energy should better be used for the work with the children.

New Guest Families

The culture of Sri Lanka and of the one from the western people is very different and we were happy to receive the code of ethics in advance. These rules are very good and very important. Unfortunately we had to learn that our guest family never received these rules. Also you told us that the family has no western toilet but you never mentioned that the family has no shower and the washing happens outside the house. Even though we had been very
surprised, it was no problem for us as we are used to this kind of washing trough our camping experiences.

Our recommendation: The code of ethics should be a high priority to new guest families and you should not just send it to them, but furthermore discuss it with them and make sure everything is well understood. We think it must also be clearly communicated how the situation with toilet and non existing bathroom is, as we are sure many volunteers will have some trouble with it.

Opening a New Branch

Organisation

When we arrived in Nanu Oya, the first day we had to visit the regional education director, the vice regional education director and as well the headmasters of the schools to explain them the organisation Horizon Lanka and what we are going to teach. We felt that neither the local administrator nor the school directors had been informed how Horizon Lanka works and what the volunteers are here for. We would have loved to know for ourselves what our
tasks here would be.

Our recommendation: If opening a new branch, make sure that all people involved know what the academy is about and what the volunteers are capable of and what not.

Working hours

On our arrival we had been asked to work five hours in the morning in four different public schools, four hours in the afternoon for the academy and the evening to improve the English of Segar. Also we had been asked to work on Saturday the whole day. The next day we discussed it again and lowered the working hours. But it was difficult for us to arrive and first have to say “no” to everything.

Our recommendation: Offer the volunteers the minimum amount of working hours and give them the possibility to teach more hours if they want. This gives them the chance to grow slowly in their work. Also we think it is much better if the volunteer work in the beginning just in one school to get to know the teachers, students and rules of the schools. More schools could be added, if the volunteer feels comfortable.

English Teaching Public School

From beginning it was expected of us to teach the classes without the help of a local English teacher. We explained clearly that this is not possible for us, as we didn’t know the level of the children nor how the school here works. Beside an English book (which did not fit to the level of the children), no teaching material was present. In the end, the English teacher did not show up the whole morning. Laura as an experienced teacher was able to teach the classes without school material for a whole morning. But it was extremely stressful for her. For volunteers without many years of teaching experience this would have been just impossible.

Our recommendation: As everyone can teach for Horizon Academy many inexperienced volunteers will come. We think teaching for them is just possible if they get the support of an experienced teacher, very small groups of children or at least good teaching material. If no English teacher and no material is available, the volunteers have to know this in advance so they can prepare themselves properly for the lessons.

English Teaching Academy Afternoon

In the afternoon twenty very motivated children had been there. We decided to teach English as the school headmaster clearly expressed that he would prefer us to teach English than dancing lessons. As we did not have any teaching material, we also needed to prepare the lessons for the afternoon which was very time consuming.

Our recommendation: If no teaching material is available, the volunteers have to know this in advance so they can prepare themselves properly for the lesson. It would be a good idea for the Horizon Lanka Academy to provide some material to the volunteers including for example ideas for games and songs.

IT Teaching

When we arrived in Nanu Oya we learned that no computers are available for the children and that I also should teach English. One school had computers but they were reserved for the teachers.

Our recommendation: If someone is sent to teach IT, make sure that some IT infrastructure is available.
If some of our mentioned recommendations could be put into practice, we are sure, that it could be an amazing experience for all involved parties. Thank you again for the great experience and all the best for the future!”

Explanation

Dear Laura and Alain,

Thanks for the valuable feedback. I understand that many things went disarray as Horizon Academy – Nanu Oya was not yet ready when I sent you two there. In fact, I had not decided to send volunteers there till I go there for a second time and ensure everything is in order. The rash decision to send you two there was based on the extremely hot weather prevailed in Anuradhapura during mornings. But, I should still have made better arrangements in Nanu Oya. I apologize and take responsibility for all these and thank you two a lot for doing a lot despite the unfavorable conditions you faced. – Nanda Wanninayaka (The Founder and Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation.)

Ms. Laura Horst   from Switzerland teaching students in Nanu Oya.
Ms. Laura Horst from Switzerland teaching students in Nanu Oya.

135. Chiara Fürst – Germany

135.	Chiara Fürst – Germany

Chiara Fürst – Germany Miss Chiara Fürst from Germany volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in March, 2018.

Teresa and Chiara Fürst with the students
Teresa and Chiara Fürst with the students
Chiara Fürst in Ranpathvila
Chiara Fürst in Ranpathvila
Teresa and Chiara Fürst in Anuradhapura
Teresa and Chiara Fürst in Anuradhapura
Chiara Fürst and other volunteers interviewing students at Horizon Academy - Ranpathvila
Chiara Fürst and other volunteers interviewing students at Horizon Academy – Ranpathvila
Chiara Fürst with other volunteers in Tantirimale
Chiara Fürst with other volunteers in Tantirimale
Chiara and Teresa Fürst in saris with Namal Thissa
Chiara and Teresa Fürst in saris with Namal Thissa
Chiara Fürst iwith other volunteers and Namal Thissa
Chiara Fürst iwith other volunteers and Namal Thissa

131. Johanna Carina Schönborn – Germany

131.	Johanna Carina Schönborn – Germany

Johanna Carina Schönborn – Germany

Miss Johanna Carina Schönborn from Germany volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in March, 2018

Johanna Carina Schönborn teaching the students of Horizon Academy - Tantirimale
Johanna Carina Schönborn teaching the students of Horizon Academy – Tantirimale
Johanna Carina Schönborn in Tantirimale
Johanna Carina Schönborn in Tantirimale
Johanna Carina Schönborn with her host family in Tantirimale
Johanna Carina Schönborn with her host family in Tantirimale
Johanna Carina Schönborn shopping with Manon Quintin in Anuradhapura
Johanna Carina Schönborn shopping with Manon Quintin in Anuradhapura

Horizon Virtual Academy – Draft 1.0

Horizon Virtual Academy – Draft 1.0
Veronika Sykorova from The Czech Republic

HORIZON LANKA VIRTUAL ACADEMY

CONCEPT PAPER

By  Nanda Wanninayaka,  Nalaka Gunawardene and Mark Frazier

This concept paper developed by Horizon Lanka Foundation (www.horizonlanka.org) is aimed at creating a web-based repository of instructional and educational videos initially for free access to anyone, anywhere through a virtual academy. The project will also livestream both indoor and outdoor classrooms through the project’s website for anyone during its first year (2018) and for a nominal fee from 2019 for its subscribers. We propose to do this in the local languages of Sri Lanka – English, Sinhala and Tamil at the beginning and later add more languages using the 100+ foreign volunteer teachers who volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation since 2004.

THE PROBLEM

Since Independence in 1948, Sri Lanka has been trying to improve education in the country using various ways. Though education is free in terms of not levying fees, the money spent comes through the taxpayer. It has long been debated how Sri Lanka’s impressive rates of primary and secondary schooling can be matched by a corresponding increase in the quality of education.

The disparities in the public education system mean entrance to ‘popular schools’ entails much competition. Given the limited number of places, entering university is even harder. On average, only a small percentage of those who enter Grade One enters university.

Both students and parents are constantly looking for better educational facilities but the options available in Sri Lanka are limited. There is a big void in the education system.

Private tuition classes respond to this void. It is a thriving business so much so that the students and the parents pay more attention to private tuition than to regular school teaching. Students spend a significant amount of time – and their parents, money – for private tuition.

Even with the option of private tuition, there remain gaps. Students are not able to access teachers/lessons when needed at their convenience. At present there is little opportunity for this.

Web-based lessons such as Dialog’s Guru.lk, Etisalat’s Web Patashala and Education Ministry’s, e-Thaksalawa have responded to this need. The Dialog and Etisalat solutions require payment, while the Education Ministry’s solution is only text and image based is not using voice – the most important element in teacher instruction. Besides, it doesn’t give an environment to interact with the teacher.

VISION

Our vision is to create high quality educational lessons based on video and upload them as both live and recorded files to a low-cost, public access video sharing platform so they can be available for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

MISSION

Our mission is to create video based educational content with the participation of talented teachers, and then promote their use as widely as possible.

THEORY OF CHANGE

Computer literacy in Sri Lanka is on the increase. Distribution of personal computers and mobile devices are also spreading throughout the country. Internet access costs are decreasing due to market competition. High speed internet, mobile broadband and 4G mobile coverage also are spreading fast. Both 3G and 4G coverages in Sri Lanka by the 5 mobile operators (Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat, Hutch and Airtel) and the 4 fixed line broadband operators (Dialog, SLT, LankaBell and Suntel) are encouraging and there is already a pilot run successfully to test 5G coverage too.

This augurs well for disseminating web-based video lessons. Our inspiration and model is the Khan Academy www.khanacademy.org, started by Salman Khan, an entrepreneur of Bangladesh origin living and working in the United States. It was launched in 2006 as a non-profit educational website to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. (In fact, Horizon Lanka Foundation initiated creating e-lessons and disseminating it to the students in 2005/06 era with the help of Mark Frazier from the United States of America and his organization Openworld LLC, long before Sal Khan started his initiative.)

The Khan Academy website features thousands of educational resources, including a personalized learning dashboard, over 100,000 exercise problems, and over 5,000 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube. These offer lessons related to a wide range of subjects and topics such as mathematics, history, healthcare, medicine, finance, physics, general chemistry, biology, astronomy, economics, cosmology, art history, economics and computer science. All resources are available for free. Khan Academy reaches about 10,000,000 students per month and has delivered over 300,000,000 lessons according to Wikipedia.

THE SOLUTION

The Horizon Lanka Foundation will start a website named www.horizonvirtualacademy.org and will live stream some of the selected classroom and outdoor lessons the 5 existing Horizon Academies in Sri Lanka do with the local teaching staff and the foreign volunteer teachers. Streaming would be done through both YouTube and Facebook and if there is any, other channels that stream free of charge. The users (students, parents, teachers) could subscribe to both YT and FB feeds of Horizon Virtual Academy and watch the lessons live.

The other method is to have a free access, web-based video lessons repository at the same website. The lessons are to be created in English, Sinhala as well as Tamil, using suitably expressive and experienced teachers.

Lessons could be created from Grade 1 to Grade 11 in the first phase and that can be expanded to high school level (Advanced Level in Sri Lanka) at a later stage.

Talented teachers would be invited and involved from both the government and private schools for creating video lessons. They should be paid a reasonable fee for their services. The videos would be filmed and edited by a professional video production team on a voluntary basis.

The lessons, most likely hosted on YouTube (which has advanced video streaming features enabling easier viewing), would be promoted by a dedicated website to be built and operated by this project (www.horizonvirtualacademy.org.) It will provide lesson menus, video synopses and other information that helps users to systematically use this free resource. Downloading videos for later, off-line viewing will also be allowed and encouraged.

Access to both live and recorded lessons would be totally free of charge for the subscribers initially but a small fee (around 150 LKR -1 USD) would be imposed for a month once the project gathers momentum and wins the confidence of the users. The subscribers would be able to pay for lessons through Dialog Axiata’s (www.dialog.lk) flagship e-money solution EasyCash.

ONLINE EDUCATION

We will give modern information using modern technology which will attract students towards studies. Our aim is to standardize the education, keeping our rates low so that a maximum number of students can take advantage.

Aims and mission of video lectures It is proven from researches that video learning methods help students to learn better than conventional teaching methods. Students entice towards video lectures and this interest leads them to apprehend the content and concepts of lectures more deeply. Video lectures aim to enhance motivation level and the learning skills of students. Hence, it helps students in getting good marks. We will be making videos which will attract students to apprehend the lectures more deeply and enhance their learning skills. Their creative skills will also make students critical thinkers.

For Sri Lankan and global organizations seeking to launch new systems that enable students to create open source eLearning resources, HVA will also offer sponsorship opportunities and chances to support pilot projects.

Early pilots may include an open source “Learning Landscape” app, now being developed by principals of Openworld (USA) and DigiPerfect (India), to create interactive 3D terrains for peer learners in any field of knowledge.

A key aim of this app is to give users the freedom to explore interactive “knowledge trees” along the pathways. Users will have freedom to create new trees – or help fill out branches of existing trees.

New trees in the landscape can be auto-created by importing structured text files produced by Mindnode and many of today’s widely-used 2D mind map programs.

Each Knowledge Tree will be based on a heart-head-hands pattern (aka emotion-cognition-action), with an early focus on preparing students and jobseekers to succeed in online markets.

HVA also will explore partnerships with Teachur (www.teachur.co), a new platform for global sharing of eLearning content with Blockchain-recorded certificates of accomplishment, and other pioneers in innovative uses of information technologies for skills development.

HVA intends to assist such partners in conducting globally visible tests of new peer learning systems, and record and share their experiences on social media. Such projects can help global innovators refine their offerings and prove their value and embark on crowdfunding campaigns that lead to further opportunities for HVA expansion.

LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS FOR SUSTAINABILITY

The Horizon Virtual Academy will also explore new ways to fund the growth of eLearning linkages with partnering communities. It will give preference in its expansion of the HVA model to communities that agree to commit sites for “Endowment Zones” to fund increased access to internet services and online learning resources.

These sites can generate revenues via startup ventures. A near term opportunity can come through helping local partners launch AirBnb ventures, in locations with appeal as short-stay housing for foreign volunteers and/or as ecotourism destinations.  A portion of the rental income can be allocated to good causes such as microvouchers for eLearning and eHealthcare for families participating in the HVA initiative. This could be a way to meet the costs of internet access, to fund student-created eLearning content, and to encourage youth and others to pitch in with community cleanup/fixups, art/music festivals, and other initiatives that make the area more attractive as a place to visit as well as to live in.

SOCIAL IMPACT

Sri Lankan students will immensely benefit by such a project as they can access the lessons from anywhere when they want. This will be different from attending a regular class in the school or at a private tuition center. The students will be able to access lessons through computers, laptops, tablets or mobile phones depending on their access device. Many of today’s students already use the web for games, social networking, music, video, etc., and the presence of a virtual academy will justify their internet access expenses.

THE TEAM

Project Leader

Advisors/Mentors/Consultants

Designers

Programmers

Teachers

Technicians

Operators

FINANCIAL SUMMARY

Equipment

Maintenance costs

Website Expenses

Salaries, allowances

130. Manon Charlotte Zabot – France

130.	Manon Charlotte Zabot – France

Manon Charlotte Zabot

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot from France volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in March, 2018.

 

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya
Manon Charlotte Zabot and other volunteers at Tantirimale Rock Temple
Manon Charlotte Zabot and other volunteers at Tantirimale Rock Temple