Sri Lanka’s successful transformation of 65 schools into ‘smart schools’ capable of deploying digital learning protocols is to be showcased in the Asia Pacific region by Microsoft.
The global technology giant recently Guru.lk, the company that coordinated the country’ssingle largest deployedsmart schools project, to present a case study on the initiative in Singapore to Microsoft country representatives from the Asia Pacific region, Microsoft education partners and officials from Microsoft’s head office in Redmond, USA.
Guru.lk collaborated with Commercial Bank of Ceylon, Microsoft Sri Lanka and the Western Province Education Ministry over a six month period to complete the transformation of the 65 schools, including training and helping more than 1,000 teachers in the use of the hardware and software required for digital format education.
Presenting the case study on the project, Headstart (Pvt) Ltd CEO Hasitha Dela, Headstart being the company that owns Guru.lk, pointed out that it was completed in record time despite Sri Lanka’s digital literacy rate being 26 percentwhich is lower than middle income countries in the South East Asia region such as Malaysia and Thailand. It was also noted that the transformation encompassed schools of varying sizes, standards and locations.
Sri Lankan teachers have earned more than 12,000 Microsoft badges, one of highest figures for countries in the Asia Pacific region. These badges signify the interaction of teachers with technology for teaching and learning. Many teachers who took part in the programme had had very little interaction with technology before, which makes the technology adoption by the country’s teachers particularly noteworthy.
Many of the teachers trained by Guru.lk for Sri Lanka’s smart schools programme are now capable of creating digital content themselves for the purpose of teaching their students, Delasaid.
Commenting on the success of the smart school’s project in Sri Lanka, Microsoft Asia Pacific RegionEducation PartnerDirector Dr. Rani Burchmore said: “Headstart has created something awesome that empowers some of the most important people in education – the teachers. It is through partners such as Headstart that Microsoft aims to help deliver such solutions on a large scale, to truly make a difference in global education.
As one of the partners in the smart schools project, Microsoft Sri Lanka provided free Office 365 licences for the participating schools and also invested on teacher training for the project.
Guru.lk provided the student Learning Management System free of charge, provided content, conducted teacher training and coordinated the implementation of the project. The company was also responsible for monitoring progress and activation at ground level in the 65 schools in the Western Province.