Microsoft Sri Lanka came another step closer to their mission of being an organisation of value to the nation when they joined hands with Tharunyata Hetak to provide IT and Leadership Training to 200 youth from the Killinochchi, Mullaitivu and Thunukkai areas, in the North of Sri Lanka.
In line with the Mahinda Chintanaya vision of making Sri Lanka a nation with a strong IT educated human resource which would help make the country an IT hub in the Asian region, Microsoft joined Tharunyata Hetak in organising a workshop titled ‘Rebuilding Your Community Through Leadership Skills and IT Training’; targeting potential youth leaders from three educational zones in the war ravaged Killinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts.
200 students who had passed their GCE Ordinary Level Exams were handpicked for the three-day programme which included a series of activities such as lectures on developing leadership and IT skills, leadership training games, physical education and roll plays. The programme also allowed some leisure time for fun activity in the form of touring the Colombo city (which was a first for most of the students), catching a movie in one of the city’s modern cinemas and being guests of the President of Tharunyata Hetak and Hambantota Parliamentarian Namal Rajapakse, who hosted the entire team for dinner.
Several educationists, senior journalists and IT specialists were instructors at the workshop and Microsoft’s Country Manager Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne who was in Bangladesh at the time connected with the gathering through Microsoft Lync, demonstrating some of the company’s most current technology to the participants. Addressing the gathering, he said, “Now that a time peace is upon us, it is time to take advantage of all the new things that can be learnt through information technology. It is also a fact that we lost a lot of our youth leaders in the last decade and it is time now to rebuild new youth leaders who are ready to take their positions in society as community builders. Microsoft’s mission is to take IT to every corner of Sri Lanka and this workshop brings us another step closer to that goal.”
Seelaratne Senarath, Editorial Director of Lakehouse Publications who addressed the students said, “You more than anyone understand the pain of war. Jaffna was a place, which produced many of the intellectuals in this country, which is unfortunately not the case any more. In a developing world IT is a most important part and IT education is a must; because there will soon come a time in this country when every student will go to school carrying a laptop. By providing this learning opportunity, Microsoft has done an immeasurable service to the children of the North and Tharunyata Hetak is greatly appreciative of that.”
The Mullaitivu Zonal Education Director, K. Wardaraja Moorthi who was amongst the delegation commended Microsoft and Tharunyata Hetak for organising the workshop for the students. “This was a great learning for these students. It clearly showed them the need to move away from defeatist thinking and forge a path towards a victorious future. There is no world without IT today and that was made evident in a clear and precise way by Microsoft,” he said.
Malini Veniton, Educational Zonal Director of Thunukkai also expressed her views saying that this training programme will help these students to face some of the challenges of the modern world and that they got some important insights into IT education. She further said that students in the North did not have much opportunity or interest in IT thus far and the training programme has managed to create that interest, which is a victory for both Microsoft and Tharunyata Hetak as much as for the students.
“We are thankful to Tharunyata Hetak and Microsoft for this great opportunity to learn IT and receive leadership training,” said S. Pranavan a student of the Killinochchi Pallai Central College.
Meanwhile, another student S. Karthika of Pudhikurippa Central College said that they had never had the chance of learning IT before and this opportunity has shown them the importance of having an IT education, which in itself is an eye opener.
Microsoft Sri Lanka who is involved in a number of educational programmes, both with the Ministry of Education and Tharunyata Hetak is the driving force behind programmes such as Gamata IT, Innovative Teachers and providing up to date technology such as Dream Spark and Worldwide Telescope to students. The software company will continue its IT and leadership education programmes in line with the government’s vision of building an IT savvy, employable workforce in the country.