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Towards e-learning for all in Sri Lanka - progress and problems in some selected Sri Lankan 21st century initiatives
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of Cambridge International Conference on Open, Distance and e-Learning, 2011Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the 21st century Sri Lanka and many other regions in Asia have shown a rapid but heterogeneous development in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).The difference in impact on urban regions and rural areas has sometimes been described as the internal digital divide. At the same time as the gap has diminished between cities in developing countries and the developed world the internal development gap has increased in many Asian countries. How can this gap be bridged? In this paper some Sri Lankan initiatives for islandwide dissemination are analyzed and discussed. The study is built on observations, recorded interviews and a literature study. In formal tertiary education we have chosen a nationwide online learning programme for a Bachelor of Information Technology (eBIT) and how the content and curriculum was developed and revised by the National e-Learning Centre (NeLC), at the University of Colombo (UCSC). Regarding primary school and informal learning we have selected the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative and the Nenasala Telecentre network. We find that these initiatives together have improved life for people in rural areas but that there still exists an internal digital and social gap that needs further bridging.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
Keyword [en]
ICT4D, Education for all, eLearning, Distance education, Telecentres, One-to-one computing, Sri Lanka
National Category
Information Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-63495OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-63495DiVA: diva2:450266
Conference
Cambridge International Conference on Open, Distance and e-Learning 2011, 25-28 September 2011, Cambridge, UK
Available from: 2011-10-20 Created: 2011-10-20 Last updated: 2014-11-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Education for All in Sri Lanka: ICT4D Hubs for Region-Wide Dissemination of Blended Learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Education for All in Sri Lanka: ICT4D Hubs for Region-Wide Dissemination of Blended Learning
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

ICT4D, here defined as the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in developing regions, can be seen as one of the most powerful and cost efficient ways to improve the standard of living in the developing world. Many regions in Asia have shown a rapid but heterogeneous development where information technology had a drastic impact on development but often with the problems related to ICT4D 1.0: lack of sustainability and lack of scalability.

This study analysed the Sri Lankan infrastructure for region-wide dissemination of blended learning in the 21st century based on the exploration of some selected ICT4D hubs and educational initiatives. The overall aim of the research was to observe, describe and analyse how the selected ICT4D initiatives and the creation of ICT4D hubs in Sri Lanka might support region-wide dissemination of blended learning and local development. A longitudinal case study has been the overall approach where a number of embedded thematic units were explored in long-term fieldwork conducted between 2006 and 2012. Data has been collected from a combination of observations, interviews, group discussions, surveys and document analysis.

Findings showed that several of the studied ICT4D hubs have contributed to the general development but the country’s internal digital divide has in fact grown, as urban growth has been so much faster than the growth in rural areas, leaving the country with geographic as well as socio-economic gaps. Some of the former war zones have definitely been left behind and there is a need for further support of the Eastern and Northern regions of the island. Sri Lanka has had an outcome that must be classified as better than average compared to other developing regions with increased opportunities for education and with some ICT4D hubs as multipurpose meeting points. Contributing factors to the successful development are the high literacy rate, the chain of ICT4D projects rolled out in the right order and a committed implementation of educational eServices. On the other hand there were other, more negative findings indicating that sustainability, knowledge sharing and inter-project cooperation and coordination have often failed.

The identified strength in the Sri Lankan model, which can be recommended for other parts of the world as well, is the way top-down management of infrastructure sometimes is combined with bottom-up grass-root activities. Other recommendations, that also are global, are to extend existing ICT4D hubs and upgrade them to more intelligent, autonomous and multi-service ICT4D routers that could also handle the future need for eServices in the fields of eHealth, eFarming and eGovernance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2014. 120 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 14-017
Keyword
ICT4D, ICT4D hubs, Digital divide, Sri Lanka, Blended learning, Education for All
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109061 (URN)978-91-7649-042-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-12-11, Lilla hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-11-19 Created: 2014-11-10 Last updated: 2014-11-13Bibliographically approved

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