(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Microsoft Sri Lanka and DP Education, the education arm of the Dhammika and Priscilla Perera Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently to empower the nation’s youth in digital literacy, knowledge to harness the power of technology, especially 21st century tech skills and secure pathways to a brighter future.
With Sri Lanka increasingly advancing towards a digital economy where comprehension of STREAM, coding and digital skills would be imperative, there is a critical window of opportunity for Sri Lankan youth entering the workforce over the next decade.
The MoU was signed by Dhammika Perera, Chairman and Founder, DP Education and Harsha Randeny, Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives in the presence of representatives from Microsoft and DP Education.
Driven by a mission to ensure students island wide receive an opportunity to learn AI, coding, robotics and computer programming free of charge, DP Education commissioned its project to the DP Education AI, Coding and Robotics Campus recently.
“Coding is the new language of the world, all including girls, should learn how to code and be part of the digital world. DP Education Coding School will produce one million Sri Lankan coders to build and drive the digital economy of Sri Lanka,” said Dhammika Perera, Chairman and Founder, DP Education.
Within the next three years, DP Education aims to establish 331 coding schools and robotics campuses in all Divisional Secretariats across the country enabling over 165,000 students the opportunity to learn AI, coding, robotics and computer programming free of charge. Centres will be equipped with over seven thousand computers and in addition, every location will be equipped with educational robots to enhance STREAM learning.
Microsoft is on a mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Accordingly, Microsoft has collaborated with the initiative to provide tech support and help to bridge the gap between the students and the DP Foundation as they rollout their programs island wide. Thereby connecting students to the courses and materials, bolstering their digital skills, and supporting the creation of a skilled workforce able to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
Microsoft 365 A1, the technology being offered to DP Education, includes a category of tools designed to help improve learning outcomes with actionable insights and enable the creation of an intelligent environment such as collaborative classrooms where educators can be connected wherever they are when delivering courses, and most importantly, to remain committed in offering an innovative learning experience to students. DP Education provides courses in all three languages to students from ages 3 years upwards. With the use of industry standard software and student-centred solutions such as Microsoft 365 A1, it ensures students utilize the power of educational technologies that go beyond the traditional classroom and are prepared for the future world where they are equipped with vital skills that employers prioritize and will be required of future jobs.
Unlocking student potential with the provision of education technology free of charge will help upskill youth and citizens, strengthening their tech knowledge and ensuring they have the tools needed, preparing them for the future of work in an ever-changing world, while contributing to reducing unemployment in the country.
Harsha Randeny, Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives said, “We are delighted to collaborate with DP Education on upskilling the youth of our country. The recently launched Microsoft Work Trend Index Annual Report for 2023 shows employers will be prioritizing a workforce with an aptitude for AI. It is imperative that we prepare our youth for the future of work by equipping them with the right skills the future workforce would expect. With our technology, we humbly aim to empower DP Education in fulfilling its ambition to produce one million young coders by democratizing digital education for all children of this country”.
In furthering youth education, growing their digital confidence, and increasing their employment opportunities, Microsoft will look towards supporting DP Education in promoting an inclusive culture which could help to produce half a million young girl coders in the future. Opportunities such as these for the Girl Child are promising, and Sri Lanka has made some progress regarding the same, as observed by the increase of the Female Labor Force Participation Rate from 31.8% in 2021 to 32.1% in 2022. While there has been improvement, there is no doubt that greater growth and visibility is essential. With the requirement of skills such as Analytical Judgement and Flexibility to rapidly adjust to the integration of AI in the workflow being on the rise, young coders island wide have the opportunity to prepare for the future and play an active role in the next transformational work pattern.
Over 20 DP Education AI, Coding and Robotic Campus Centres are currently open all seven days of the week and available for students to visit as required. In addition, the Centres are supported by teachers and centre coordinators to assist learners to maximize their STREAM learning potential.