IT literacy rate to reach 75% by 2015 – Minister Siyambalapitiya

Information Technology (IT) will make a salient contribution to make Sri Lanka the “Wonder of Asia” under the government’s five-year development plan, said Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.

He said the IT literacy rate in the country will be raised to 75 percent by 2015 from the current 28 percent through the e-village and Nenasala programs.

The IT literacy rate has been raised to 28 percent from around four percent in 2005 following the launch of the e-village program by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“The 2011 budget has recognised the importance of IT development in the country and has allocated sufficient funds to develop the industry”, the Minister said.

Sri Lanka’s telecommunication industry has been a trailblazer in the South Asian region, being the first to launch GSM (Global Standards for Mobile) telephony, CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) fixed wireless telephone services, ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) Internet access, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), WiMax and 3G mobile broadband Internet services.

“Sri Lanka could be proud of having one of the most sophisticated telecommunication industries in the region which is on par with many developed countries”, Siyambalapitiya said.

He said the e-village program has helped take IT to the rural sector and improve the lifestyle of people through economic benefits.

“The Ministry of Telecommunication has a huge challenge to develop the telecommunication sector in the country and meet the goals of the government envisaged in the future vision of the President”, the Minister said.

IT penetration in the country has been low due to lack of expertise and high cost of connectivity in the rural sector. IT and mobile communication have developed extensively in the urban sector which has moved into broadband.

Sri Lanka lags in IT development and was ranked 72 at the last world survey. Awareness on the importance of IT for professional career development is vital to position the country in the world.

“More Nenasala programs will be held and facilities will be provided to promote IT education at school level to enable students to be IT savvy and meet vocational requirements”, he said.

Many players have entered the telecom market which has grown leaps and bounds since the end of the conflict that brought rich dividends for all industries.

The country’s telecommunication industry recorded a marked growth with the increase in the use of fixed line phones from 12 percent to around 85 percent. The land to mobile usage ratio which had been around 1:2 today is around 1:5.

The mobile communication sector has grown exponentially over the years with currently around 10 million users in the country.

“Islandwide programs will be held through Divisional Secretariats and provincial establishments to promote IT at school and village level next year”, Siyambalapitiya said.

“Sri Lanka Telecom, ICTA and the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission being under one ministry will help us achieve the targets set out for the industry”, the Minister said.

The Ministry of Telecommunication invites people to collaborate in its efforts to achieve the targets by accessing the website

Re-New Station, CEA sign MoU

Re-New Station, a division of ABC Trade & Investments (Pvt) Ltd. engaged in professional ink/toner cartridge recycling, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Environment Authority recently to ensure an e-waste free environment.

Re-New Station has commenced collecting used and empty computer printer ink cartridges and toner cartridges by placing bins at private and state sector institutions. These will be recycled with state-of-the-art technology.

ABC Trade & Investments (Pvt) Ltd. Director/CEO Jayaseelan said “When recycled quality will be on par with the original. Most of the institutions regularly discard their used computer ink cartridges and toner cartridges which is a waste of money and is hazardous. Our project focuses at reducing the e-waste incurred while protecting the environment and saving considerable money to the consumer.”

Four gallons of fossil oil is needed to manufacture a single cartridge which takes over 300 years to biodegrade. Reuse of the same cartridge multiple times prevents wastage of natural resources and landfill and saves foreign exchange.”CEA Chairman Charitha Herath said “E-waste is a rapidly expanding issue. With the steady growth of new technology and the extensive use of computer and electronic equipment, the quantity of electronic items for disposal shows a rapid increase globally. As a responsible regulatory agency for sustainable environment management, the CEA is pleased to collaborate with 14 private sector parties on launching this program on e-waste management.


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