Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tribute to the champion behind the ICT industry in Sri Lanka

It was sad to hear the demise of the most valued person in the ICT industry in Sri Lanka, Prof. V.K. Samaranayke last week [1, 2]. He was instrumental in taking IT to the rural areas of the country. Among numerous initiatives in his 4 decade long commitment to IT industry in Sri Lanka, we will never forget his immense contributions to computerize national election, take IT to rural villages through programs like nanasla, standardize Sinhala character set, enhance Internet connectivity in Sri Lankan universities, introduce the BIT (Bachelor of Information Technology of Colombo University) external degree program. Many a awards he received during this period are good evidences for his contributions.

Before the introduction of BIT, only a few students from high schools get the opportunity to study Computer Science/Engineeing/IT in state universities. More than 99% of student population is denied of getting into this field due to limited resources. I, being a lecturer for this external degree program in 2005 and 2006, have met many talented students because of this initiative.

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