Microsoft's future public sector programmes in Sri Lanka will include billions of rupees worth of software donations, upgrading thousands of computer in schools and gifting its MultiPoint technology to a 1,000 rural schools, according to Ken Wye Saw, the company's Vice President Public Sector (Asia).
In an exclusive interview recently with the Business Times, Mr. Saw stated that "we have already launched many programmes that will see Microsoft deepening its engagement in the country and its people.
Some of these programmes include donating over Rs. 5 billion worth of software which will benefit over 50,000 students and individuals and over 400 non-profit organisations over the next three years. In the education front, the Schools Agreement entered between Microsoft and the Ministry of Education will enable schools to upgrade thousands of computers with latest technology including Windows 7 and other software, in the next few years. Donation of MultiPoint technology to a deserving school in the most remote areas of the country is a pledge under our Gamata IT initiative and with our tie-up with the Ministry of Education, Tharunyata Hetak movement and committed partners such as Singer Sri Lanka and ICTA, plans are underway to reach 1,000 rural villages in the future...”
He said, “through these partnerships that leverage the strengths of each partner towards a common goal, we have been able to make a greater sum total impact that no single partner could provide. This is a route we will continue on in order to make a positive impact on the community we live in, whilst making our best contribution as a single entity that brings in cutting edge technology that fosters increased access to economic opportunities."
Mr. Saw also commented as to the larger purpose of these donations, saying: "Our plans for Sri Lanka continue to revolve around capacity building and supporting initiatives to uplift the IT adoption across the country. We are encouraged by the commitment of the Government, the ICTA, as well as other key stakeholders towards making IT a common tool that help people do what they do better.
This widespread enthusiasm across segments helps us as a corporate entity to channel our resources where we can make the greatest impact. The strong partnerships we have formed have helped us achieve very important breakthroughs in this regard and we will continue to invest in these areas that will help bring the country standards higher. Our key focus areas in the public sector include education and enabling jobs and opportunities for youth where we work closely with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training Authority and Foreign Employment Bureau."
He also added; "All our efforts in this area of capacity and skill building, be it providing free licenses [or] curricular support, [focus] on providing essential tools and skills required to face the 21st century with confidence [for] our children, whether they are in primary education or in higher education. Our efforts together with the government’s initiatives in this sphere have seen to a dramatic increase in the use of technology in the teaching and learning methods. Other efforts in Sri Lanka focused on the public sector, such as the training we provide under Gamata IT, are carried out to help public sector enterprises improve efficiency, reduce costs which leads to improved citizen-services delivery."