ICT capacity building fulfilling vision for future
The New Year is an occasion for new resolutions for a new leaf in
life. It is also a good time to look at our scriptures, chronicles and
national policy statements. In such a context a look at the Mahinda
Chintana Vision for the Future the Government's national policy
statement is relevant.
Many aesthetic subjects that originated in these monastic centres of
learning greatly contributed to the knowledge foundation of the world.
History records that these centres of excellence in areas such as naval,
irrigation, management and architecture have served to spread this
knowledge throughout the far eastern continent".
Students going through registration formalities at the IT-BPO
career guidance fair in Kurunegala
Emphasising the role IT can play in empowering the youth the document
says:"The young generation of Sri Lanka need to be broadly empowered
with modern information and communication technologies. The future
market for employment will depend entirely on these skills. For these
reasons, our youth will be given more opportunities to improve their
knowledge in these areas and information and communication technology
will be introduced for accessing all services in the country".
Referring to a pivotal ICT development with positive value for the
whole country, His Excellency in his policy statement says: "By 2016,
Information technology literacy rate will be improved up to 75%."
The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the apex body responsible for
national ICT policy and implementation of the eSri Lanka Development
Programme is fully committed to meet these targets spelled in the policy
statement. ICTA implements this development programme via a six-pronged
strategy which encompasses building the implementation capacity,
building the information infrastructure and an enabling environment,
developing ICT human resources, modernising the Government and
delivering citizen services, and leveraging ICT for economic and social
development through public-private partnerships and eSociety.
Space will not be sufficient to explain about these six programmes
even succinctly in ar aricle like this. Therefore, attempt is made t
through the current article to disclose sufficient information to whet
the interest of readers. Here ICTA wishes to focus on on just one aspect
where the private sector could play a significant role in achieving some
of the national ICT targets. ICTA firmly believes that the development
of the Nation cannot take place without the participation of all sectors
and considers the private sector an important partner in progress.
private sector and capacity building
According to ICTA, "the Capacity Building Programme (ICBP) is one of
the core programmes under ICTA which facilitates the private sector of
the broader eSri Lanka initiative". The overall goal of the ICBP is: "to
strengthen, predominantly through private sector-led initiatives, the
existing ICT industry in Sri Lanka; to encourage emerging sectors of the
industry and entrepreneurship, to stimulate broad-based industry growth,
and to promote international competitiveness. The ICBP is intended to
provide benefit to stakeholders across the broad spectrum of the Sri
Lankan ICT industry, including, but not limited to, the software
industry, IT enabled service industry and the IT training providers. The
programme is also expected to expand employment opportunities within the
Industry", ICTA sources said.
The ICBP has three broad sub-components, (1) ICT Industry Human
Resource Development and Capacity Building, (2) Industry Promotion and
Development and (3) Creating an Enabling Environment for ICT Industry
Growth. These programmes facilitated with about 30 strategies.
ICT Human Resource Development and Capacity Building
This programme looks at strengthening the availability of human
capital across the ICT industry workforce, enhancing the skills and
competencies of those entering ICT the industry as well as those who are
already employed in it. Strategies which come under this programme cover
overseas training, local scholarships, domestic professional courses and
in-house training and vendor accreditations. In the recent past over 30
training programmes were held and more than 1400 professionals were
trained under the domestic ICT learning seminar project. Also 2000 plus
individuals benefitted from the ICT Skill Development Project that
covered Microsoft, Oracle, RedHat. CISCO and SunJava certifications.
Promotion and Development
Industry promotion has as its broad goal to provide funding and
technical assistance support which will enable Sri Lanka to identify and
take advantage of domestic and global business opportunities in the ICT
The key areas of focus were, Initiatives to facilitate market
penetration in the case of emerging sectors of the ICT industry,
initiatives to expand market share in more mature market sectors, and
initiatives to promote the use of domestic products and services.
The Research and Innovation Endeavour of ICTA also focused on
apparel, information security and mobile technology.
This was short in the arm for Sri Lanka's thrust industries like
tourism, gem, jewellery and ornament industry and the apparel industry.
Business linkages were created and 18 missions were carried out
including UK, Australia, Europe and Africa. In addition company
accreditations were effected totalling 45 companies covering ISO 9001,
ISO 27001, COPC, CMMi Level 3 and Carbon Neutral Certification. Under
industry promotion and development startup grants were also given and 11
startups benefitted from the project.
an Enabling Environment for ICT Industry Growth
The strategies in this programme of activities recognise that
development of ICT human capacity and promotion of the ICT industry will
require an enabling environment for it to be effective. Strategies will
support the accreditation and capacity building of national ICT training
providers and improving the profile of the ICT industry and the skill
base of entrants into the ICT workforce by familiarising career
counselors with the skills, attitude and knowledge expected by private
sector ICT employers. Under this project 300 plus trainers were trained
while more than 27,000 children from the Anuradhapura, Badulla, Colombo,
Galle, Jaffna, Kandy, Kurunegala and Matara districts were given
awareness about IT-BPO. This led to a large number of students opting
for IT-BPO as a career of choice parallel to or even excelling the
traditionally prestigious fields of medicine, engineering and
ICTA is keen on what was said at the beginning of this write-up: "to
strengthen, the existing ICT industry in Sri Lanka; to encourage
emerging sectors of the industry and entrepreneurship, to stimulate
broad-based industry growth, and to promote international
The senior ICTA spokesperson said that software development as well
as ICT personnel development were important areas ICTA was keen to
promote. These are areas that go a long way in total ICT development.
There are many opportunities open to the keen developer. Enthusiasts are
urged to inquire.
Their proposals may fall in line with about 30 strategies for ICBP
and ICT development that have been adopted. ICTA will be only too happy
to offer its full support to ICT development and capacity building
adhering to simple guidelines prepared in the best interests of all.