Debt crisis stands out like a sore thumb due to lack of tech economy: ICT specialist


by Sanath Nanayakkare

Sri Lanka wouldn't be grumbling about its debt crisis so much if it had enough tech innovations, like in many other countries, whose tech innovations drive their GDP and add substantial financial stimulus to finance their debt and growth seamlessly, Dr. Dhammika Elkaduwa, Head of Department- Computer Engineering of the University of Peradeniya said at Dialog Axiata headquarters in Colombo at an event where the country's premier communication solutions provider launched Sri Lanka's first inter-school app-development challenges.

"Dialog Axiata PLC, the Ministry of Education and the University of Peradeniya have collaborated since 2014 to promote the app challenge across the country with a view to sparking this innovation drive in passionate schoolchildren to excel in areas of technology to generate revenue and become self-sustained individuals. We need to design and present to the world products of high intellectual property. May be we can't compete with bigger countries on scale but we can do so on quality scale. We have companies that compete on a global scale. London Stock Exchange apps back end were written in Sri Lanka and is managed by Sri Lankans. Likewise, the back-end for international hotels and WSO2 was developed here. They are selling it to the world. We don't have many natural resources. So, we must increase our role in the international value chain in this direction and make it contribute to the national economy in a much larger scale and that is what we are trying to do together as a team, Elkaduwa said.

The competition aspires to educate and ignite a passion for software development among Ordinary and Advanced Level students and create possible career paths at an informative age.

The Dialog App Challenge was previously conducted within the Central Province for two years and garnering the support of the Ministry of Education will facilitate an all-island challenge across all provinces in its third year. Students will be encouraged to brainstorm and develop technology based solutions to solve pressing issues in their respective communities. Real life solutions will be used as models to educate students and provide continuous mentoring. Schools will compete on a provincial and inter-school level, sustaining the future of the technology industry and growth of talent in Sri Lanka.

Students will compete in teams of five, with a minimum of two members expected per team to quality for the challenge. The top three innovations/product blueprints within the competition will be selected based on the use of technology for the solution, Ul and UX capabilities, flawless market ready product completion and on communicating the solution effectively. Champion, First-runners-up and Second runners-up will be awarded with prizes worth of Rs. 300,000, Rs. 150,000 and Rs. 75,000 respectively.

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