Country should adapt to 4.0 industrial revolution trends - Prof Manjula Fernando | Daily News

Country should adapt to 4.0 industrial revolution trends - Prof Manjula Fernando

Kelani Saviya program ensures quality professional technicians

From the country’s point of view there is a scarcity of technicians as most school leavers opt for soft jobs such as three-wheeler taxi operators. But there are many opportunities open to qualified Sri Lankan technicians locally as well as overseas, said Prof Manjula Fernando, Head of Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Peradeniya.On the other hand electricity is very important as far as households are concerned and in most cases women are engaged in the usage of electrical appliances in the daily chore.

Therefore, safety is of prime concern. But when one considers the common practice in the country, there is no proper mechanism to create a qualified electrician, while the normal practice is the profession passed on from father to son or bass to helper.

Prof Manjula Fernando

Kelani Cables PLC’s CSR –program Kelani Saviya which is conducted in collaboration with the University of Peradeniya, aims at training school leavers and self employees to become professional technical personnel(electricians). For that the Peradeniya University gives the technical-theoretical background and practical exposure to Kelani Saviya students to become qualified electricians (professional technical personnel). The individuals who qualify can then work by their own and get the experience in the field.

The Kelani Saviya is also important to the industry as there are technical personnel working in the industry also following the program. The world is now moving towards the 4.0 industrial revolution and the country too should adapt to that in the future. The courses are designed to go to the 3rd level which includes subjects like intelligent wiring in its modules where the theoretical background is provided and to understand the theoretical background, the practical exposure is also given.

Prof Fernando also opined that the gap between the industrial and the university sector of the country is gradually waning off with more collaboration with each other in the form of memorandum of understandings and agreements. For example he said the MoU between Kelani Cables PLC and the University of Peradeniya was to training electricians. Other MoUs, the tasks were different such as collaborative research, exchange of students, conducting programs and many more.

This was a vast improvement to what was two decades ago, he said. Prof Fernando said the University of Peradeniya has signed many MoUs with some of the main institutions such as the Ceylon Electricity Board, Sri Lanka Telecom, where its research lab was also there and firms such as Kelani Cables and Lanka Transformers which are related to the electrical and electronic sectors.

“We have the staff to teach the engineering aspects and the industry also have senior engineers with vast experience in engineering bringing them together and sharing each other’s expertise in research activities, which we are doing right now, will also help in bridging the gap between the university and industry,” he said.

The professor also said that solar and wind energy was the future as far as the world is concern and other countries were also pursuing that path. Sri Lanka was in a better position to follow that path because the country has more sunshine hours. Hence solar is definitely an alternative energy source which fossil fuel waning off and the emission of carbon dioxide to the air.

Prof Fernando said therefore from the world’s point of view and Sri Lanka’s point of view, solar was the solution. He however cautioned that there was also some negative aspects also related to alternative energy sources such as solar. He for example cited the inability to connect too much of solar energy to the national grid and there were other effects like harmonics and other things.

He also said that solar power is available in the day time, but electricity is requires in the night time particular the night peak time of 7-10 pm. Also the costs of solar panels were very costly and the investment could be recovered from the electricity bill and the recovery period was one of the concerns. (MFJ)


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