In line with its mission to offer valuable Information and Communication Technology (ICT) education opportunities to rural youth, Sarvodaya-Fusion recently partnered with the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) and National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) to facilitate advanced ICT learning opportunities to students across the island. The Letter of consent with NIBM and the Partnership Agreement with OUSL was signed and exchanged ceremoniously in Colombo with the patronage of the heads of the two institutes Prof. S. A. Ariadurai, Vice Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka and Dr. D. M. A. Kulasooriya, Director General of National Institute of Business Management.
The Guest of Honour at the occasion was Professor Rohan Samarajiva, Chairman ofLIRNEAsia andInformation and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), while the keynote speaker of the evening was Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, President of the Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya ShramadanaSangamaya. Among the other invitees were the academics and senior members of OUSL, NIBM, Industry and Ground partners.
Sarvodaya-Fusion partners with the Open University of Sri Lanka with the mutual interest in expanding the occupational skills of the youth through vocational and tertiary courses using Open Education Resources (OER) developed and made available under Commonwealth of Learning (CoL).
“Since inception we’ve been able to make momentous changes in the way the ICT education and digital literacy help rural children to develop skills necessary for the 21st century. In the year 2008, at a time when ICT literacy was relatively low in Sri Lanka, we introduced ‘Fusion Education’ as the Sarvodaya-Fusion education unit, mainly targeting marginalized youth and providing them basic computer education. Today we offer them advanced academic and vocational training opportunities to be gainfully employed and achieve sustainable development”, commented Ms. Maithree Malwattegoda, General Manager of Sarvodaya-Fusion, in her opening remarks.
The partnership with NIBM opens up a pathway to those students who have completed the Diploma in Computer Science offered by Fusion Education to pursue a range of Graduate programmesrelated to multiple fields in ICT, at a discounted rate.
Delivering the key note address Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, President – Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya ShramadanaSangmaya, said, “While urban children have begun to hone their digital skills in readiness to be part of the fourth industrial revolution, children in rural area are still lagging behind. This status quo is the result of lack of opportunities. Our new partnerships with these reputed educational institutes will pave the way for children across the nation to perfect their innate talent and pursue success in the ICT field.”
Having developed a well proven model for educating and training rural & Semi-urban student masses and establishing a sustainable Grassroots educator network, the organization strongly feels that these two strategic partnerships will pave the way to many youth to obtain industry recognized qualifications and certification which will lead to direct employment opportunities. It will further enable them to gain access to higher learning opportunities attached to these renowned educational bodies going up to graduate and post graduate programmes in varied disciplines as per one’s choice.
“Sarvodaya-Fusion is doing valuable work in helping the future generation of Sri Lanka to discover their innate talent and become digital leaders. Our country is blessed with talented youth. Sarvodaya-Fusion is involved in building bridges to help youth in rural areas to reach the global IT arena,” commented Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, Chairman of LIRNEAsia andICTA.
With its undying efforts, Sarvodaya-Fusion will continue to venture into newer opportunities and partnerships to empower communities with supplementary knowledge, skills and resources on par with industry standards, which bring in economic and social uplift keeping in line with national development goals.
About Sarvodaya- Fusion
Sarvodaya-Fusion is a social enterprise focused on ICT for Development with the mission “e-empowerment of rural communities”. It’s a unit of Sarvodaya movement, the oldest and largest charity non-profit organization in Sri Lanka. In its scope of social engagement, Fusion has successfully designed and delivered programs providing Digital Literacy, Digital Access and Digital Benefits. Since 2009, Fusion has given ICT qualifications to over 18,000 students through our own Fusion Education curricular and courses offered through our partnerships with Microsoft Imagine Academy & CISCO Networking Academy.
The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) is the premier Open and Distance learning institution in Sri Lanka where students can pursue their studies through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) methodologies. Established in 1980, under the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 and OUSL Ordinance No. 1 of 1990, as amended, the OUSL has the same legal and academic status as any other national University in Sri Lanka. The University has six Faculties: Natural Sciences, Engineering Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, Education, Health Science and the Management Faculty.
National Institute of Business Management (NIBM), the premier business school in Sri Lanka has been functioning for over 50 years having established in 1968 under the purview of the Ministry of Industries and Scientific Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program and International Labour Organization (ILO) functioning as the Executive Agency. NIBM is currently functioning as a statutory body under the Ministry of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations.