Background

In Sri Lanka, the rural economy has traditionally been based on agriculture and the low-income families depend heavily on government subsidies. A main cause for this situation is the great disparity in level of education between the urban and rural areas of the country. There is an acute shortage of skilled high-school teachers in the outback areas, and the pace of learning is very slow. In Sri Lanka the education system is such that only one out of every two children excels in higher studies, and these students more often than not are the products of city schools. In an effort to bridge the widening rural-urban digital chasm in the education system, Dialog piloted the Digital Bridge distance learning initiative across rural schools in partnership with the Ministry of Education (MoE) of Sri Lanka. The project completed a two-year pilot stage and through many technological and educational modifications was launched by H.E. The President Mahinda Rajapakse on the 20th of July 2009.

Objective

The Digital Bridge project is aimed at giving rural marginalised students the opportunity to engage in interactive learning from experienced teachers.

The project targets connecting 1,000 schools (roughly 10% percents of the total schools in the country) by providing them television sets and decoder units to enable them to access a satellite educational channel, ‘Nenasa’ (wisdom).

By doing this, nearly 500,000 rural students will be provided with access to high quality educational contents/materials for. It is hoped that an improvement in the level of education in the country will be accelerated through ‘Nenasa’ and also the interactive learning feasibility would be further strengthened via a supplementary interactive online Learning Management System (LMS) supported by Dialog Broadband

Launch

His Excellency The President Mahinda Rajapksa launched ‘Nenasa’ a state of the art Digital Satellite Television based distance Education Bridge, managed and operated by The Ministry of Education and The National Institute of Education. The launching ceremony took place at Ranjan Wijeratne Maha Vidyalaya, Pelwatte, Monaragala on the 20th of July 2009.

Milestones

  • 2009 February – Handing over the Televisions sets to schools.
  • 2009 July – Launch of ‘Nenasa’ TV by His Excellency The President Mahinda Rajapksa.

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