Empowering Girls in Sri Lanka: Ericsson, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel and OUSL Launch “Connect to Learn” in Badulla

Published in Telecommunication
Director, Regional Educational Services, The Open University of Sri Lanka Dr. K. H. Jayawardana (addressing the gallery), Director, Centre for Educational Technology & Media - The Open University of Sri Lanka Dr. Jayantha Wattevidanage, Mobitel Chief Operating Officer Nalin Perera, Sri Lanka Telecom and Mobitel Chairman Mr. P. G. Kumarasinghe Sirisena, Minister of Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure Hon. Harin Fernando, Head of Ericsson Sri Lanka Mr. Dennis Brunetti and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, The Open University of Sri Lanka Prof. Kamal B. Gunaherath at the press conference and opening ceremony of the “Connect to Learn” lab in Badulla Director, Regional Educational Services, The Open University of Sri Lanka Dr. K. H. Jayawardana (addressing the gallery), Director, Centre for Educational Technology & Media - The Open University of Sri Lanka Dr. Jayantha Wattevidanage, Mobitel Chief Operating Officer Nalin Perera, Sri Lanka Telecom and Mobitel Chairman Mr. P. G. Kumarasinghe Sirisena, Minister of Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure Hon. Harin Fernando, Head of Ericsson Sri Lanka Mr. Dennis Brunetti and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, The Open University of Sri Lanka Prof. Kamal B. Gunaherath at the press conference and opening ceremony of the “Connect to Learn” lab in Badulla

Friday, 10th March 2017, COLOMBO; Ericsson Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel and Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) unveiled the “Connect to Learn” initiative in Badulla on 10th March. To mark the ceremonial launch of the project, Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure graced the occasion as special guest of honor.

‘Connect to Learn’ is the global education initiative founded by the Earth Institute, Ericsson and Millennium Promise, which leverages ICT for a 21st century education in developing countries. The state of the art technology deployed at the ‘Connect to Learn’ Lab in Badulla gives the teenage girl students and teacher’s access to 21st century educational tools and resources, cross-cultural understanding, global awareness and significantly improved employment opportunities. Bringing ICT technology to the service of education is a common goal of Ericsson, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel and OUSL, and the role each one plays in the project is important to its success.

Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure, said: “I highly commend the Ericsson team for functioning as a responsible corporate citizen and long term Nation Building partner to the people of Sri Lanka. The people of Badulla are proud to join hands with Ericsson, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel and the Open University of Sri Lanka for the historic inauguration of the ‘Connect to Learn’ lab in Badulla. We have always maintained a vision to uplift the living standards of rural communities and to enrich their livelihoods, and this initiative gives us the opportunity to do just that. The government has been at the forefront of reshaping education in Sri Lanka on a platform of technology to make our youth true 21st century citizens. We are committed to reducing the digital divide in the country and we are engaged in multiple initiatives that are putting technology into the hands of people at the grassroots, across all walks of life. We believe in the power of education and equal opportunity for all. By empowering female students from farming communities across the nation, we believe the ‘Connect to Learn’ initiative will invariably open up a world of new and exciting employment opportunities for all of them. I believe that when we empower a girl, we empower a nation.”

Denis Brunetti, Head of Ericsson Sri Lanka, said: “It gives me great pride and pleasure to expand our ‘Connect to Learn’ Sri Lanka initiative to Badulla in the presence of the Honorable Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure. The ‘Connect to Learn’ initiative marks the first milestone of Ericsson’s ‘Technology for Good’ program in Sri Lanka, and we look forward to joining hands in partnership with the government and the people of Sri Lanka in continuing to harness the power of ICT to fuel our collaborative Nation Building endeavors for the greater good and benefit of Sri Lankan society. An innovative public-private partnership of this nature provides the ideal way forward for Sri Lanka to achieve its vision of education for all, regardless of gender or race. The farming community in Sri Lanka forms the economic backbone of the country, and by empowering these communities with ICT skills, we hope to enhance their livelihood, whilst opening up new avenues of learning and employment for young girls from these communities. Ericsson shares the government’s vision of uplifting the lives of rural farming communities, particularly through an education in ICT.”