CDB empowers aspirations with Smart Computer Labs for Eastern Province

With the aim of improving digital literacy by enabling access to technology especially in rural schools in the country, CDB presented three Smart Computer Labs to schools in the Eastern Province. These were Mihindupura Vidyalaya in Trincomalee, Rethithenna Iqrah Vidyalaya in Batticoloa and Veppayadi Kalaimagal Vidyalayam in Ampara. These three labs now move towards the target of a total of twenty pledged for CDB’s Silver Jubilee.

The Smart Computer Lab project was initiated fourteen years ago and has in those years, seen a total of 6,000 students primarily from rural communities benefited from the project.   However, recognizing the crucial need to build a ‘smart generation’ with greater speed, CDB fast tracked the commissioning of a total of twenty Smart Computer Labs in its 25th anniversary year.

The Smart Computer Lab initiative is the flagship project in CDB’s Socially Conscious’ pillar in its sustainability agenda. The initiative aims to have labs across the entire island, ensuring that students from every part of the country will be equipped with tech skills and knowledge.

“With digital literacy being an imperative for the country to exploit multiple global opportunities, it is the responsibility of corporate stewards like us to build a collective of tech savvy youth who will drive the nation into the next phase of development and opportunity,” says MD/CEO of CDB Mahesh Nanayakkara. “The CDB Smart Computer Lab project has been founded on our sustainability ethos of empowering aspirations, as tech is not just a tool for the future, but is a key driver.”

These Smart Computer Labs pave a path for young people to become digitally savvy and gain IT skills and knowledge that will give them confidence to venture forth into today’s digitally emerging world. Nanayakkara says, “It must reiterated that this initiative is not just about enhancing digital literacy among the youth of today.  It is also about expanding mindsets, presenting survival tools and opening career opportunities with employable knowledge.  This is what we want for the youth of this country.’

With this as the overarching feature, Nanayakkara adds therefore that a dearth existed in access to IT in rural communities.  “Our focus is for every student to have access to

technology. These Smart Computer Labs ensure equality and accessibility to students even in the most difficult, rural demographic. Our aim is not just to improve access to technology and digital literacy, but to create a smarter and sustainable Sri Lanka, while moving our country towards meeting the UNSDG 4 which focuses on Quality Education.”

The project is a collaboration with the Ministry of education and based on a selection criteria that includes the school having ICT as a subject even with limited resources and the student body represents those from economically disadvantaged families.  In addition, it should be located within a reasonable distance from accessing ICT facilities.