Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education to deploy 10 Education Channels which are provided absolutely free over Dialog Television and in ViU App. In the first phase, four channels were launched on 7 September 2021, which will be increased to a total of ten in the coming months. These channels are accessible over Dialog Digital Satellite TV and on any smartphone by downloading the ViU Mobile TV app and it is made available absolutely free without any PayTV subscription charges or data charges.
The content for these channels are developed by the State Ministry of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion and the National Institute of Education as per the national curriculum. The new set of channels namely, Nenasa O/L Sinhala (Ch. 22), Nenasa O/L Tamil (Ch. 23), Nenasa A/L Sinhala (Ch. 24) and Nenasa A/L Tamil (Ch. 25) can be accessed by all Dialog Television customers as well as ViU Mobile TV App users without any data charges on the Dialog network. These four channels are dedicated to support all students to prepare for the upcoming G.C.E. O/L and A/L examinations and cover lessons conducted by the country’s best educators with immersive, engaging and innovative teaching techniques. Furthermore, the ViU Mobile TV App available on Andriod, IOS, and Huawei app gallery, provides the facility to rewind the TV channel for up to 2 hours and catch up past 3 days missed programmes to relearn important topics.
Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Education said, “Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the education sector was adversely affected, prompting us to find quick solutions to ensure the learning continuity of our children. This initiative by the Ministry of Education to ensure that every child has access to education through accessible, new technology will become a new revolution in the education sector.”
Commenting on the initiative, Hon. Susil Premajayantha, State Minister of Education Reforms said, “The National Institute of Education and the best educators of Government schools came together with the Ministry of Education, the State Ministry of Education Reforms and all other relevant State Ministries to develop this exceptional educational content in line with national curricula standards. We would like to thank Dialog for once again extending these convenient platforms free of charge to the Government bodies, the educators and all students.”
“I see this initiative as the biggest transformation in Sri Lanka’s education sector. I am very pleased that children from all across Sri Lanka will be significantly benefitting from this programme. The National Institute of Education and Dialog made a great deal of effort to compile the educational content. I am confident that this initiative will greatly service both the children and the country’s education sector”, said Former Minister of Education and current Foreign Minister, Hon. (Prof.) G. L. Peiris.
“The Minister of Education and the Ministry of Education were able to advance the national-level programme of digitising and modernizing the country’s education sector to the next level with Dialog’s ‘Nenasa’ initiative. It is our belief that education system restructuring should be integrated with technology. Together with Dialog, we look forward to preparing our children towards the next technological revolution in the country”, said Hon. Namal Rajapaksa – Minister of Youth & Sports and the State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development.
Commenting, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC said, “We are pleased to launch these education channels for free to all schoolchildren across the country as part of our efforts to enable uninterrupted education during these challenging times. Extending A/L and O/L content via the Nenasa Sinhala and Tamil channels is part of Dialog’s overarching efforts in providing schoolchildren across the country with equitable access to education to achieve their aspirations.”
This is yet another initiative by Dialog in its continued efforts of supporting students across the country with their educational endeavours. In addition to this initiative, Dialog powers a range of educational platforms under the national-level Nenasa initiative; Nenasa Smart School, Nenasa App and the toll-free 1916 distance learning helpline. In addition to extended free access to Nenasa TV channels, Dialog also extended free access to the Guru TV Channel (Ch.20) through Dialog Television and the ViU Mobile TV App. Dialog also endeavoured to provide 100,000 schoolchildren in need with Data Scholarships under the ‘Nana Diri Data Scholarship’ programme to facilitate their online learning from home. Furthermore, the company extended free access without any data charges to e-Thaksalawa, the National Learning Content Management System (LCMS)/Learning Management System (LMS) and to all official e-Learning platforms of State Universities under the purview of the University Grants Commission.
Self-Employed Traders petition SC over govt. favouring liquor dealers
By A.J.A Abeynayake
The Supreme Court has decided take up, on 04 Oct. for hearing a petition filed by the Association of Self-Employed Traders against the opening of liquor stores during the current lockdown.
The traders have requested the apex court to order the government to allow members of their union to engage in business activities since the liquor stores had been allowed to reopen during the lockdown.
The petition was taken up before a three-judge bench comprising justices L. T. B. Dehideniya, Shiran Gooneratne and Janak de Silva, yesterday.
The State Counsel appearing for the respondents said he had received the relevant documents pertaining to the case only last Friday evening. Therefore, the State Counsel requested the court to give him time to seek advice from the respondents who were many.
Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva, appearing for the petitioner at the time, said about 7,000 members of his client union had lost their livelihoods due to the decision by the respondents.
Therefore, Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva requested the court to give an early date for considering the petition.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court decided to take up the petition for consideration on 04 Oct and directed the lawyers of the petitioners to take steps to send notice to the respondents before that date.
The petition was filed by the President of the United National Self-Employed Trade Association G.I. Charles, its Vice President P.G.B. Nissanka, and Secretary Krishan Marambage.
The petition names 47 respondents, including the Director General of Health Services, the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of Excise.
The petitioners allege that under the quarantine law, the Director General of Health Services, who is the competent authority, issued a notice on Aug 20 prohibiting the opening of liquor stores.
The petitioners point out that steps were taken to open liquor stores countrywide contrary to the regulations of the Health Authority.
The Director General of Health Services, the Commissioner General of Excise and the Inspector General of Police have stated that they have not allowed the reopening of liquor stores.
The petitioners have also requested the Supreme Court to issue an order to the respondents to allow the members of their association to engage in business activities as the liquor stores are allowed to remain open.
Lankan born newly elected Norwegian MP Gunaratnam calls for investments here
Newly elected Norwegian Labour Party MP, Lankan born Kamzy Gunaratnam says she will ask the new Norwegian government to continue engagement with the country of her birth.
Speaking at a virtual media conference on Sunday night, Gunaratnam said that she does not believe that boycotting Sri Lanka is the way forward.
“I don’t believe in boycott. There needs to be investments. Only that will ensure employment,” she said.
Gunaratnam said that she is also prepared to meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, if invited, for talks.
She said that Norway must continue to assist Sri Lanka through trade, education and in other ways.
Gunaratnam said that she will also discuss with her party and the new Norwegian Foreign Minister, as well as the Norwegian Ambassador in Sri Lanka and see how best Norway can assist the country.
Gunaratnam said that Sri Lankans must also decide the best solution for Sri Lanka and not any foreign country. She said that Sri Lanka must not wait for foreign pressure to work on a solution.
The newly elected Norwegian MP also said that minority rights in Sri Lanka must be protected.
As a Norwegian MP she said that her main focus in the Norwegian Parliament will be to push for equality in Norway.
Going to IMF best solution, says Ranil
UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe insists that a programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is necessary to mitigate impact of the growing debt repayment crisis; homegrown solutions are not effective.
“Unlike in the past, Sri Lanka’s debt problem has increased at a time when there is a global debt problem. This makes the situation more challenging and complex. Sri Lanka is a highly import-dependent economy,” Wickremesinghe said during a panel discussion, organised by the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka on Saturday.
The UNP leader said that the government shouldn’t sell state assets to ease off the shortage of foreign exchange to have breakfast but reinvest those proceeds back in the economy. “Going to the IMF is the best solution,” Wickremesinghe said.
With reference to homegrown solutions, he referred to the mess caused by the government in promoting Dhammika peniya as one of the failed measures earlier on to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former Prime Minister said that Sri Lanka should use the current situation to forge ahead with structural and public sector reforms which were postponed due to political considerations in the past.
The former PM suggested that the re-opening of the country be delayed till mid-October.
In responding to the issue of debt management in Sri Lanka, the UNP leader said that the most pressing concern is addressing the dwindling foreign exchange reserves of the country.
He explained that the regional foreign exchange reserves were projected to increase over the course of the year, however, Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves were on a downward trend.
He also said that economic recovery based on a resurgence of the tourism industry would be uncertain, and until airline ticket prices were reduced it was unlikely that tourist arrivals would increase significantly.
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