In collaboration with Intel EM Limited, the Ministry of Education presented 20 schools in the country with 425 units of Intel-powered Classmate PCs yesterday at Isurupaya, Battaramulla. This was identified as an innovative scheme taken by the Ministry to incite IT education in the island following the government's recent announcement that 2009 be the Year of English and Information Communication Technology (ICT). The launch of these ambitious connectivity programmes has highlighted the skills and knowledge of school students in both rural and urban areas. These plans are working well according to the Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha. 'It offers school communities a localised electronic curriculum, internet accessibility, educational information sharing and promotion of use of emails as mode of effective communication,' said Premajayantha.
He also stated that the daily reach of Lankan students to Internet education websites through SchoolNet has reached an approximate number of 300, highlighting the distribution of IT knowledge through the connectivity programme.Minister Premajayantha also said that many schemes are underway to better promote ICT education to help realise educational reforms. 'Inline with National Year of English and IT, we have plans to promote number of innovative projects during the year,' he said, adding that, 'such as 1000 additional Computer Learning Centres, 800 schools with broadband connectivity under SchoolNet, relaunch of Teacher PC programme, Wi-Max and Wi-Fi wireless technologies with laptops for deserving schools.' Director of Secondary Education Modernization Project (SEMP), Anura Dissanayake assured that the e-Sri Lanka initiative began with a national commitment to empower 60% of nation's population with e-literacy by the end of 2010. Along with increasing broadband penetration, especially in rural areas of the island, the initiative plans to expand their service to provide 2800 Computer laboratories while connecting 1700 schools via the SchoolNet network and having a spread of about 200 websites in schools, and promoting career based ICT education for school leavers at 1500 rural computer learning centres.