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Shilpa Sayura Application FormSayura e-School aims to be an ICT4D foresight

Gamini Pathirana
28 Feburuary 2011
Siyambalanduwa, Sri Lanka

Innovation in reality is like travelling through unknown spaces, believing on a simple idea and a vision of a pathfinder. Most innovation efforts fail to keep on course to reach intended destinations. Shilpa Sayura e School seems to be an innovation with a clear idea and a vision that many others can follow in real world.

Shilpa Sayura e School e learning solution was demonstrated to public at a charming event held at remote villlage, Siyambalanduwa in Monaragala district of Sri Lanka on 28th January 2012. The event was participated by rural youth, educators and Telecentre operators. e School is an upgrade of global award winning "Shilpa Sayura Project" initiated in 2005. The new development done by Shilpa Sayura Foundation after winning Lien I3 Challenge 2009, Singapore. Shilpa Sayura e-School has been deployed in 50 Telecentres island wide during 2010-2011, and now expanding to schools in deep rural territories for changing how rural youth learn national carricullam.

Shilpa Sayura e School upgrade adds new content in local langauges covering primary and secondary education with over 12000 lessons and 7000 test questions for learning 16 subjects of the National carricullam. The multimedia rich, interactive pedagogies and e learning facilities aims to engage rural students in effective self and group learning providing an alternative means to access quality education. "The content base has grown from 4GB to 10 GB and keeps on growing, It improves everyday, yet we maintain a thin architecture in the system to run on low powered computers like ones run with solar energy. Hence increases the Shilpa Sayura possibilities of reaching underserved youth in any location" said Gamini Chamara, Content Manager of Shilpa Sayura.

"The ICT and Math learning through video lessons is a very good idea. It will help students to improve their ICT and Math capacity through repetitive learning. It is like bringing in virtual teachers to rural telecentres and school class rooms. It is also a valuble resource for teachers who are working in isolated communities without resources to teach” commented Dammika Samarawikrama, a Teacher using Shilpa Sayura e School in Muthukandiya school in Siyambalanduwa.

The students who attented the awareness workshops were overwhelmed with new learning experiences.

"We have been able to complete much needed content with the assistance of the Lien Center funding. e School is a significant improvement from the previous version 2009. It can be used to help develop rural youth through self and group e learning. Now our challenge is to scale and spread the usage" said Anil Withanage, a government teacher and Shilpa Sayura regional coordinator for central province. "The school that I teach has no Sinhala Teacher, Its amazing to see how students learn Sinhala from Shilpa Sayura" he added.

"The initial tests of Shilpa Sayura e School by students showed significant improvements in learning retention. It's designed on 5E concept to develop thinking, personal and social personal skills spefified in National Carricullam. It makes a very good reason for Shilpa Sayura e School to be a value added solution to School ICT labs currently lacking local language content" said Yamuna Ratnayake, a government teacher and President of Shilpa Sayura Foundation. "Over 1000 School labs setup by Ministry of education can benefit from Shilpa Sayura e School development" she added.

"The new Shilpa Sayura e School has been designed to be used in school wide networks to enable e learning in classrooms connected over wireless networks. e School is a personalised learning solution for the under served youth. We see increased interests among educators after becoming aware of the idea and seeing how student enjoy learning. Shilpa Sayura is changing the learning behaviors among rural youth. It exites, inspires and engages in self and group learning activities. Not only students, even we are exited as it builds on. Therefore we intend to develop a new path for rural youth to enter knowledge society with innovative learning" says Niranjan Meegammana, founder and project director of Shilpa Sayura.

"The success of Shilpa Sayura comes from dedication and commitment of all stakeholders who designed, developed, supported and deployed it in rural communities including funding organizations who supported. ICTA, Lien Centre for Social Innovation, e fusion CSR played a major role in making the Shilpa Sayura idea a practical solution" said Yamuna Rathnayake.

Yapa Chandralatha, a female Telecentre manager speaking at the event said "I used Shilpa Sayura to train students for e learning, which helped our Telecentre to become sustainable with growing number of users". Similar success stories shared by several Telecentre operators at the event providing remarkable evidences of Shilpa Sayura impact on rural youth communities. They explined how shilpa saytura helped them to develop education in their communities. Srimal Iresh a student explained how he developed to become a Software Engineer through Shilpa Sayura and Telecentre. "Shilpa Sayura can help thousands of youth like me in rural areas" He said. Chaminda Samarawikrama, one of the most successfull Shilpa Sayura implementors from Siyambalanduwa said "we were able to improve O/L math pass rates to 78.2 among studen

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