‘Lanka’s distance learning methods ahead of regional peers’ | Sunday Observer

‘Lanka’s distance learning methods ahead of regional peers’

In the wake of the global pandemic, Sri Lanka has shown more resilient Distance Learning Methods (DLMs) compared to regional peers in South East Asia, Founder and Managing Director of ESOFT Computer Studies, Dr. Dayan Rajapakse told? Sunday Observer Business.

Dr. Rajapakse who has hands-on experience in the higher education sector in regional countries believes that access to education in rural areas in Sri Lanka is comparatively stronger than neighbouring countries.?

“But this does not mean, Sri Lanka is at the top in? distance learning,” he said.

Access to DLMs, cost of data, and the readiness of youth, are some of the challenges Sri Lanka faces in extending DLMs. “Even though we are better compared to countries in the region, we have a long way to go to develop accessibility of the rural community to digital learning platforms,” he said.?

Cost of data has also been a barrier to the smooth functioning of DLMs, Dr Rajapakse said.

Some higher education institutions even bear the cost of data to engage more students with the new platforms, he said. “State universities are provided concessions to reduce the cost of? data. As the private sector caters to 50 percent of Sri Lanka’s higher education needs, we call on the Government to include private educational institutions into the same data white list,” he said.? The readiness of youth to adapt to DLMs is a major challenge to developing DLMs. “They are trained to be spoon-fed. Getting them accustomed to DLMs is not an easy? task,” Dr. Rajapakse said. As the new normal is assumed to go on for some time, authorities should look beyond conventional ways of delivering education. “A well trained human resource to fulfil the needs of the era would be a timely investment,” Dr. Rajapakse said.