|Wednesday, 4 February 2004|
IT knowledge essential part of education - Dr. Kodithuwakku
by Manjula Fernando
The mere knowledge of reading and writing does not conform to the modern definition of 'education.' Education must include self-confidence building, knowledge of IT, English and most of all it must create an employable individual who would not be a burden to society, Education Minister Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku said.
Minister Kodituwakku was speaking at the inauguration of the second phase of the Ministry's school Computer Learning Centres project, held at Rajasinghe Maha Vidyalaya, Bope on Monday.
The project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) envisages 1000 CLCs in schools throughout the country. During the second phase, 263 computer centres will be set up before the end of February at a cost of Rs.650 million and by May the number will be increased to 320. The ceremony also marked the presentation of the 25,000th Sisu Saviya scholarship which has been initiated to support children from very low income groups.
Minister Kodituwakku said the CLC project was initiated to promote the use of computers to teach mathematics, English and science to schoolchildren.
"The best place for a child to have primary education is the village school. The top 25 from the grade five scholarship examination last year came from rural schools. Not a single popular school came within that range although about 300,000 students from schools islandwide sat for the scholarship exam," Minister said.
He said small children were comfortable in their familiar environment and will not attend school drowsy or tired, if they were permitted by parents to go to the nearby school. "They will also perform well in their studies," the Minister observed.
"The competition for a popular school during senior secondary stage can be warranted since there should be laboratory and other special facilities for practical work for students preparing for the GCE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level," Dr.Kodituwakku added.
The Ministry expects to increase the number of scholarships to 50,000 at the end of 2005. Scholarship recipients receive Rs.500 a month from Grade 9 up to completion of their senior secondary.
Minister Kodituwakku opened a 20 unit computer centre and a multimedia unit at Rajasinghe Vidyalaya for which Rs.4.5 million has been allocated under the Secondary Education Modernisation Project (SEMP).
Deputy Finance Minister Bandula Gunawardena, Western Province MP Jayantha Ketagoda, Education Ministry Secretary V.K. Nanayakkara and School Principal W. Somadasa were present.
Produced by Lake House