IIT demonstrates commitment to Sri Lanka’s higher education sector and economy by rapidly transitioning to an online platform for uninterrupted services
Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), the pioneer in British higher education in Sri Lanka and the country’s premier IT and Business campus, has taken progressive steps to fulfill its responsibilities to the country and thousands of its students by rapidly shifting its entire operations to an online platform in order to ensure the smooth functioning of all aspects of the institute and mitigate the threat of the COVID-19 disease.
The ICT industry of Sri Lanka is optimistic of achieving USD 5 billion in exports by 2022, while creating 200,000 direct jobs and launching 1,000 start-ups in the process. This is an ambitious yet achievable target provided that the Government and the private sector work closely together to enable ICT companies to grow rapidly and ICT students are given all necessary resources to acquire the required knowledge, skills and experience in the shortest possible time. Leading education institutes such as IIT have a significant role in achieving this goal and it is imperative that students’ education is continued without interruptions, even during the uncertain of times such as what the country and the whole world is going through due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. A steady output of ICT professionals entering the job market will also give a much-needed boost to the economy which is expected to enter a period of negative growth owing to the current pandemic.
Having realized the importance of responding in a firm and positive manner to the lockdown triggered by COVID-19, IIT immediately took the necessary steps to shut down the entire operations at the campus and transitioned to a robust online platform for all its functions. In keeping with the directives given by the authorities and in view of safeguarding students and staff from the threat of the disease, IIT has taken numerous progressive steps to ensure the safety of all students and IIT staff. Currently, all lectures are conducted online as per the original schedules so that students do not fall behind on their respective courses and are able to sit for their exams on time. Having effortlessly transferred to a Working From Home operations, all administrative functions of IIT are also carried out online in an efficient manner by the IIT staff. As a result, students can make enquiries, enroll for courses and make payments online without having to step out of their homes. Those who are seeking to enroll for the upcoming Master’s programmes in May can do so easily using IIT’s online services where all aspects of the process, from interviews to submission of documents to payments, are conducted online. Additionally, IIT staff has continuously engaged with the students and ensured that all of them are kept up-to-date on the latest information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Sri Lanka.
In keeping with its objective to support ICT education at all levels, IIT has also elevated its ongoing series of support seminars in ICT, to an online platform, which helps prepare Ordinary Level (O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) students for their examinations later this year. IIT has been conducting these support seminars on a regular basis for several years with hundreds of schools and thousands of students across the island benefiting significantly. Given the current restrictions due to the lockdown, this timely arrangement provides an ideal platform for principals and teachers to educate their students in ICT thereby allowing them to continue with their studies without any disruptions and providing a much-needed boost to their attempts to cover their respective ICT subject syllabuses. The 2-hour seminars cover topics such as Internet of Things (IoT), Programming, Flowcharts and several others. They are conducted by a highly-experienced academic member of IIT and are of two types. The first type is specifically tailored to educate the audience on a topic put forward by a single school based on the requirements of their ICT syllabus. On average, around 100 students from a school participate in these types of seminars at any given time. The second type is a general seminar that covers a wide variety of ICT topics and is open to students from all schools across the island. Approximately 400 students took part in each of these seminars.
Expressing his opinion about the current situation, Prof. Jayantha Wijeyaratne – Director of IIT stated, “Being the leading IT and Business Campus means that we have always been prepared to shift to an online operation should the need arise. As a result, when the COVID-19 disease hit Sri Lanka, we made arrangements to transition to the online platform so that we can ensure that all students and IIT staff are safe and sound as they can now attend to all functions from the comforts of their home. A rapid response is crucial to ensure that there are no delays or disruptions in any of the courses as such a scenario would have negative impact not only to the student but also to the economy as it strives to bounce back from the downturn suffered during the lockdown period. We are taking all precautions and are fully geared to meet any challenges that we may encounter as this situation unfolds.”
IIT was established in 1990 as the first private higher education institute that awards reputed British degrees in the field of ICT and Business. IIT is an award-winning campus offering internal postgraduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Westminster, UK and the Robert Gordon University, UK. IIT has played a pivotal role in strengthening the IT and Business sectors in Sri Lanka over the years by producing world-class graduates. Since its inception in 1990, IIT has produced over 3,000 graduates that are now based in 25 countries. These graduates have gone on to become successful entrepreneurs and IT/Business professionals in both local and international corporate and government entities. They have played a pivotal role in empowering over 250 multinational and local blue-chip companies by holding key strategic positions while contributing immensely towards the growth of their respective organizations.