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SL to launch digitisation pilot project in March 2024 aiming educational reform

February 20, Colombo (LNW): Education Minister Susil Premajayantha announced the forthcoming launch of a pilot project aimed at digitising education, scheduled to commence in March 2024.

Addressing a briefing at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) yesterday (19), the Minister disclosed that Microsoft will be assisting in training teachers for this initiative.

Furthermore, the Minister confirmed the dispatch of school textbooks for the year 2024, emphasising complete coverage as all relevant materials have been sent to distribution stations.

The President’s Media Division (PMD) has outlined plans to finalise distribution at the school level by March 1, with an allocated expenditure of Rs. 12 billion for this purpose.

In addition, Premajayantha highlighted collaboration with the Chinese government, facilitating the acquisition of 80 per cent of required cloth for school uniforms, totaling Rs. 05 billion.

Distribution is underway, with the remaining 20 per cent expected shortly.

Efforts are also underway to prepare school timetables and term notes for the current year, with arrangements being made to conduct the G.C.E. (A/L) level examination as scheduled by year-end.

Detailed instructions regarding these activities will be disseminated to schools via circular within the next two to three weeks.

Concerns have been raised regarding decreased school enrollments due to a decline in birth rates, impacting children’s absence from school.

Additionally, the Minister addressed teacher shortages, with legal proceedings causing delays in recruitment.

Pending court decisions, efforts are underway to swiftly fill vacancies, including 20,000 teacher positions and 13,500 provincial-level vacancies.

Examinations for science and technology level vacancies are scheduled for the first week of March, with recruitment expected to conclude by month-end.

A budget of Rs. 16 billion has been allocated for school lunches, with agreements signed with USAID to provide meals to 200,000 children.

Initiatives have also commenced to engage parents through class meetings, focusing on guidance in areas such as road safety, drug prevention, and safeguarding against abuse.

Plans are in place to launch career and technology guidance courses across 300 centers nationwide, coinciding with the release of Advanced Level examination results.

Moreover, preparations are underway for the pilot project for digitalising education, scheduled for launch in March with support from Microsoft for teacher training.

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