‘Nenasara’ to bring IT knowledge to rural areas

Friday, 21 October 2011 03:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Devin Jayasundera

To uplift the IT literacy level in the rural areas of the country the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) launched the ‘Nenasara’ Mobile Library for Digital content yesterday.

This is aimed at the underprivileged sectors of the society to supplement them with the knowledge in information technology and to motivate them to merge technology in their daily lives to enhance the productivity of their livelihoods.

‘Nenasara’ mobile library is to cover all districts in the next two to three months and hopes to visit at least 135 institutions in each district. There has been a very positive and large response for this provision and already thousands of applications have been sent by schools, libraries government and non-government institutions requesting this service.

The mobile library contains digital copies of subjects ranging from agriculture, education small and medium businesses and an array of other subjects to be distributed among interested parties.

While distributing important software, applications and content free of charge to persons who require them, the project officers will visit the villages along with the ‘Nenasara’ and provide free basic training to the community about downloading and using these aids.  

Telecommunication and Information Technology Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya speaking at the launch touched upon the rapid progress that Sri Lanka has made in IT literacy in the last couple of years. “The IT literacy level has been increased from 5 per cent in 2004 to 35 per cent at present. Our aim is to get to the 75 per cent mark in 2016.”

He also highlighted the challenges to achieve this ambitious objective saying that the uneven knowledge distribution in IT among various parts of the country, the incompetence of the English Language among the rural youth and lack of opportunities available among the class stricken segments of the society are the main drawbacks to accomplish this target.

“The Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology has already planned to establish computer Labs in 100 schools in Anuradahpura and 600 teachers are already being trained in the field of IT. This venture has been carried further by computerising six Hospitals in Anuradhapura to deliver effective service to the public,” said the Ministry of Telecommunication Secretary Nimal Athukorala.

The ‘Nenasara’ mobile library for digital content project which comes under the e-Sri Lanka initiative hopes to follow the success of the ‘Nenasala’ project that provided IT facilities through stationary outlets for people in the rural areas.

 ICTA CEO Sri Lanka Reshan Dewapura reflected these achievements by highlighting the Weligama Fisher folk project where through satellite technology information was disseminated by SMS to fishermen to find out places of high concentration of fish.

He went on to say that these innovative strategies have helped to fulfill and solve the fundamental economic and social needs more effectively of the people in the country.

Pix by Upul Abayasekara