This message is from the organisers of the festival. Shilpasarura is an education software package that is being disseminated through the Nenasala network of the ICT Agency, Sri Lanka. Dear All, As we have reached completion milestone in implementing Shilpa Sayura, and launching its phase II, we are organising a public and media event on June 14 and 15th. We shifted the venue furthest Nenasala in Uva (in reaching), to have a focus on village and to get the villagers involved in its proceedings. We also want village people to learn about ICT benefits to overcome digital divide.
This letter to the editor is from a Jamaican newspaper. The content, however, is very relevant to us in Sri Lanka. The Editor, Sir: How can we, in clear conscience, begrudge a few million dollars more for pre-tertiary education when we have chronically neglected quality education for so long while we splurge on far less important matters, waste and corruption? Moreover, our poorly-managed economy does not offer parents, particularly the many poor ones, employment opportunities enough for them to afford school fees of thousands of dollars, on top of the daily lunch, transport and books and incidentals. Education cannot wait until our fortunes improve; it’s a burning priority and must be accepted as such by all governments.
May 24, Colombo: Sri Lankan graduates have again started agitations seeking employment in the already swollen public service despite the promises by the government to grant them employment immediately. Around 200 unemployed graduates started a protest in front of the Sanath Jayasuriya stadium in Matara amidst chaos vowing to continue their campaign until employments are granted. Unemployed graduates of the Central Province have also launched a similar campaign for weeks. The Minister of Education Susil Prema Jayantha answering a question raised by an MP said to the parliament on Tuesday that 10,000 graduates would be recruited to the public service before the end of June. They include over 7,000 teachers.
In Sri Lanka, pundits never get fed up reminding us the new subjects that ought to be included in the syllabi, from History to Disaster Management. Surprisingly none ever said the children should be educated about their own reproductive systems. As students we all learnt about eyes, ears, digestive system, circulatory system, pulmonary system and what not, but some of the vital organs of the body were completely ignored as if they did not exist. These were rarely illustrated in Science text books in Sri Lanka. Even if they were illustrated, the science teachers hardly bothered to get into the subject saying no questions about them would be asked in the exams.
Source :       40,000 teachers on leave daily Dharma Sri Abeyratne COLOMBO: Around 40,000 teachers are on leave daily out of the 200,000 teachers, said Education Minister Susil Premajayantha. “The teachers have to be on duty only on 201 days per year.
Since we have discussed ‘Digital divide’ in length, let me share this concept note from my electronic annals. This is an idea a private sector IT company had few years back, but due to various reasons never implemented. They suggest a method to convert the TVs to Internet enabled PCs as a way to bridge the digital divide, using something called a ‘set top’ box. Central Bank Consumer Finance survey 2004 had found over 75% of the houses have TVs while the PC penetration level was much lower. (Specially in rural areas it was like 1-2%) So converting TVs to PCs makes lots of sense.

Google bans essay writing adverts

Posted on May 23, 2007  /  3 Comments

By Sean Coughlan BBC News education reporter Google is to ban adverts for essay writing services – following claims that plagiarism is threatening the integrity of university degrees. There have been complaints from universities about students being sold customised essays on the internet. The advert ban from the Google search engine has been “warmly welcomed” by university authorities. But it has angered essay writing firms which say this will unfairly punish legitimate businesses. From next month, Google will no longer take adverts from companies which sell essays and dissertations – and the internet company has written to advertisers to tell them about the policy.
‘Digital divide’ may be a term which came under the spotlight quite recently, but what meant by it existed in our societies for centuries, if not millennia. Significant differences between banks of knowledge possessed by different sections of society were visible probably since medieval times. The ancient Hindu society was an ideal example. In that society, the supreme right not only to protect and nurture the knowledge but also to generate the same, to some extent was solely on the hands of the Brahmins. That was how they, not the Kshathriyas – the rulers – or the Vaishyas – the rich – formed the most important, most powerful and the most honoured layer of the society.
 Startling Figures of the GCE O/L 2006 results ·  52500 candidates sit for GCE O/L. · 48.7% pass ·  51% fail · 21813 candidates fail all subjects (4128 from Colombo District), (3564 from Central province), 3404 (from Southern province) (2668 from Sabaragamuwa) (2277 from Uva) (2056 from North Central) (2039 from North Western) (773 from Eastern) and 704 from Northern province. · 47 schools and 40 pirivena institutes did not have a single student qualifying for the GCE A/L (9 schools in Colombo), (3 schools in Homagama), (3 schools in Jayawardenapura), (12 schools in Galle, (7 schools in Ambalangoda), (13 schools in Ratnapura) · Of the 258,975 who sat the English language paper 63.18% failed · Of the 259,263 who sat the Mathematics paper 57.
A news item in Lankadeepa last week says that Grade 1-5 would be removed from National schools and set up as separate neighborhood schools for which admissions would be solely based on proximity to the school. At this point these are only recommendations made in response to a supreme court decision  making current system of admissions unconstitutional. At the seminar on “Year 1 Admissions” that the Education Forum held sometime back we indeed posed that option as a solution to the year-1 admissions problem. Should all government-run popular schools get out of primary education, reserving all class spaces, including those freed up by the closure of elementary schools, to those who pass the 5th grade scholarship exam? And we received support for the argument from those who gathered.