Microsoft Sri Lanka recently unveiled a project entitled 'Software for the 21st Century' recently in Colombo which was attended by university vice chancellors and faculty deans from a number of universities. The unveiling was presided over by Chris Atkinson, Vice-President, Microsoft South East Asia. 'Software for the 21st Century' will provide all Sri Lankan Universities with the latest software that will enable each of these institutions to expose their students to the best of world-class technology. Microsoft Sri Lanka donates this range of software to these universities free of charge. In addition this programme will enable the students to obtain genuine versions of the software free even for their personal and home use, during their university tenure. Faculty members can also enjoy the same benefits. The total value of the software donated runs into several millions of rupees.
As part of the extensive national programme to increase ICT awareness and ensure positive effects for all Sri Lankans, MSDNAA (MSDN Academic Alliance) will be offered to the universities as a free programme for three consecutive years (download only). This offer will be extended to the eligible departments of educational institutions as it will add value to the existing education programmes offered at the university. With the implementation of Live@edu – a free web-based e-mail and collaboration platform, through ELMS (e-academy License Management System), users can harness the added benefits offered by Microsoft through its 'Home User Rights' programme, which allows them to have their own set of product keys for multiple software, free of charge, while enrolled at university. Rupa Malini Peiris, Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education speaking about the programme said that Microsoft Sri Lanka's investment in this free program is a blessing for students in higher learning for the opportunities for broadening the knowledge which addresses the employability. This is very timely and opportune in the year of English & IT in Sri Lanka. The universities of Colombo, Peradeniya, Jaffna, Kelaniya, Moratuwa, Ruhuna, Sri Jayawardenepura, Wayamba, Sabaragamuwa, Uva Wellassa and Eastern have enrolled to benefit from this initiative Software for the 21st Century' consists of four key initiatives provided absolutely free of charge. MSDNAA, which will provide all students and the faculties for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Visualization, Illustration, Design and Arts Departments of local universities, access to the latest in Microsoft software. This software can be utilized by students to develop any coursework/assignments and personal non-commercial projects. Software offered under MSDNAA includes Windows Server, Visual Studio, Windows Client (Vista & XP), SQL Server, Exchange Server, Expression Studio, Project, Visio and MSDN Library.