Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Youth and Sports, State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development has instructed to accelerate the project to provide education opportunities free of charge through e-Thaksalawa to all children in the country, who are engaged in studies through the online methodology due to the Covid pandemic, without internet service charges.
The Minister emphasized this at a discussion held at Temple Trees June 11 to introduce a more suitable methodology to minimize the existing difficulties in the e-Thaksalawa methodology.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa instructed to take necessary steps to start online classes through e-Thaksalawa free of charge for students in 200 schools in the first phase by July 21, 2021.
The meeting, chaired by Minister Namal Rajapaksa, focused on the data delivery service charges as well as avoidance of other difficulties in educating children through online methods using various applications.
It was decided at this meeting that the e-Thaksalawa, which has already been formally established by the government, could be used as a solution to the relevant problems.
Accordingly, Minister Namal Rajapaksa instructed the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), which has established this system, to sufficiently expand technological infrastructure within the state cloud and provide access to a larger number of students at once.
There was also a discussion on maintaining a television channel and a radio service dedicated to education. It was revealed that the State Ministry of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Education Promotion has already obtained frequencies for such television and radio services.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa called on the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, the Independent Television Network and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to use the existing infrastructure to implement the relevant services.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa drew the attention of the officials to the need of short-term solutions for children who are helpless in the face of Internet coverage, economic hardship and lack of tools in accessing online education in addition to long-term measures, including the construction of new communication towers.
Accordingly, Minister Namal Rajapaksa requested that a program be prepared to provide a suitable mobile phone device for the education of children engaged in online learning activities in the midst of economic difficulties.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa instructed officials to considering the current issues regarding internet coverage convert centers such as community halls, Nenasala Temples and computer resources centers identified for teaching by e-Thaksalawa to “e-Thaksalawa Learning Centers” providing learning opportunities for small groups of students.
He said that measures should be taken on the recommendation of the Secretary to the Ministry of Education to identify the centers required to provide learning opportunities and to provide computer equipment for the relevant activities.
Minister of Education Prof. GL Peiris, Susil Premajayantha, State Minister of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Education Promotion, Piyal Nishantha de Silva – State Minister of Women and Child Development, Pre-School and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and Education Services Secretaries of the relevant Ministries, the Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka and the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka and relevant officials participated in the discussion.