Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka and Ministry of Education
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2016, April 28
ITU "Girls in ICT Day", 28th April 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka
The ITU "Girls in ICT Day" is held annually on the fourth Thursday in April and this year it was held on 28th of April. Just like the other countries that have hosted this event, Sri Lanka too, hosted it eventfully. In Sri Lanka, the tendency to pursue ICT as a career is far less in the minds of girls than boys. However, there have been a few success stories where women have excelled in pursuing ICT careers and TRC decided to bring them forward on this day to enlighten the minds of the girls who have chosen ICT as a stream for their G.C.E Advanced Level Examination, which is the primary qualification for their career. Before the program began, during registration we interviewed a few invitees, teachers and students at random about their current experience on ICT and after the event they were interviewed again on whether this event has helped them in dispelling any doubts or fears they had about ICT when they first entered the hall.
The opening ceremony took place according to the traditional Sri Lankan customs, starting with the playing of the national anthem and lighting the oil lamp. Afterwards, the Director General of TRCSL Mr. Sunil S Sirisena delivered the welcome speech, followed by a speech by the Guest of Honour Mr. W M Bandusena who is the secretary to the Ministry of Education. Mr. Kumarasinghe Sirisena Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom and Dr. Prasad Samarasinghe CEO of Lanka Bell graced the occassion.
A new web portal titled "Girls in ICT" was launched by the Director General to inspire each and every student for a career in ICT.
The keynote address was delivered by Ms. Dedunie de Silva, Head of Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Etisalat Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. Her speech focused mainly on why there is a need to make people aware about the leading roles girls can play in the field of ICT. Women have so many diverse and different capabilities, which would enhance and be complementary to men. Therefore, the keynote speaker addressed the line of events that the day would uncover and how to succeed in this field as an empowered woman.
A one-hour panel discussion focused on the following five topics:
• Changing Attitudes
• Facing Challenges
• Expanding Horizons
• Career Paths
• Women in Business
The panelists at the session were Dr. Pradeepa Samarasinghe (Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology), Mrs. Deduni De Silva (Etisalat Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.), Mr. Harindu Nanayakkara (Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd.), Mrs. Shakila Kamalendiran Attanayake (Bharti Airtel Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd), Mrs. Nadeesha Sanjeewani (Dialog Axiata PLC) and Mrs. Thushari Seneviratne (Sri Lanka Telecom PLC). The moderator was Mrs. Tharalika Livera (TRCSL).
A Q&A session was followed after the panel discussion. For this Q&A session we invited officials from the Education Ministry, National Institute of Education, University Grants Commission and a few Universities all of whom are related to the field of ICT. This granted the children the opportunity to resolve many of the problems they had regarding their school curriculum, higher education and career paths. What followed was an interesting and interactive session, where students and teachers were able to raise and resolve many of their issues and concerns.
During registration each student and teacher received a flash drive and the book "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg, one for each school courtesy of TRCSL. They also received corporate gifts from PSTN operators. After the Q&A session, token of appreciation was awarded to each of the panelists, teachers and students. In addition, the students were given a certificate for their participation.
The event was a success. The students and teachers appreciated everything that they experienced and gathered knowledge on. They further requested that this event to be held in other provinces in the country, but it had already been included in our action plan.
The entire event was coordinated by Mr. Mohan Jayasekara, Director/Policy International Relations & Licensing of Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka and supported by the Officers of Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka.