Aiming at encouraging girls and young women to pursue an education and embark upon careers in the ICT sector, “Girls in ICT” Programme was completed successfully on the 14th of September 2016 at Mahamaya Girls College Kandy from 8.30am to 1.30pm. The event was organized by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) in collaboration with the ICT Branch of the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Provincial Education Department (PED) and Etisalat Lanka (Pvt) Ltd (Etisalat).
The programme was held with Forty three (43) students studying in the G.C.E. Advanced Level ICT stream invited from eight (08) selected schools in Central Province (CP).
ICT teachers in charge of those schools were also invited to participate so that they would be able to take back and share the lessons learnt from the programme with the other students of their respective schools.
The opening ceremony was initiated with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the principal of Mahamaya Girls College, officials from TRCSL, PED and Etisalat.
First and foremost, Mrs. Tharalika Livera, Deputy Director-Compliance of TRCSL gave a brief introduction on “Girls in ICT” day programme. There after Ms. Priyanthi Kodithuwakku, Assistant Director of ICT/Provincial Coordinator of MOE and Mrs. I. Withanachchi, Principal of the school highlighted the importance of having these workshops for students in their speeches. Mrs. Dedunie de Silva from Etisalat, Mr. Jagath Ratnayake from TRCSL were graced the occasion.
In her presentation, Mrs. Livera explained that the purpose of this workshop was to enlighten young school girls on the value and absolute importance of ICT, not only as an Advanced Level subject, but as a general lifestyle. It further hoped to break traditional mindsets and stereotypes, where ICT and related subjects were only considered as ‘male’ dominated fields and professions and hoped further to encourage girls to delve further into this area, as it is the future and also offers so much diversity and flexibility. Mrs. Livera elaborately discussed the essence of ICT for the socio-economic development of the country.
Etisalat retained two male presenters Mr. Dhanesh R Jayathilaka from Xitab and Stephen De Silva on purpose, as they felt that having MEN passionately espouse the empowerment of WOMEN, whilst highlighting the absolute importance, relevance and need for women to be involved in the field of ICT, made the message all the more pertinent. Mr. Jayathilake stated that, ICT sector continues to be generally perceived as a male-dominated industry, because most high-value and high-income jobs in this sector are occupied by men. This can be improved by creating an enabling environment for women and girls, and there are compelling economic reasons for engaging women more prominently. Improving the female to male employment ratio is good for economic growth.