20 May, 2022


Sri Lanka At The 65th Place In The Global IT Report

By Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

Asanga Abeygoonasekera

Asanga Abeygoonasekera

Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” – Steve Jobs

Free wi-fi with a 100MB limit in urban areas and villages may cast the impression progress in the field of ICT engagement and the public .However, strategic areas remain to be focussed over this noble government endeavour.

Sri Lankan authorities and stakeholders of the ICT industry should target their focus on the ten pillars of the Global Information Technology report (which was released in the 15th of April 2015 ). The Sri Lankan ICT sector needs improvement. Its important to develop strategies to improve each pillar.

The framework translates into the Network Readiness Index(NRI), a composite indicator made up of four main categories (subindexes), 10 subcategories (pillars), and 53 individual indicators distributed across the different pillars.

At this years NRI of World economic Forums Global Information Technology Report 2015 Sri Lanka has been ranked 65th out of 143 countries. Singapore at the top of the list followed by Finland and certain Nordic countries. European nations that dominate the leader-board, with seven top 10 places this year. Singapore is the sole remaining Asian Tiger. You have nations such as Estonia, Slovania, Malaysia and Qatar at the 20s and 30s.

RanilThe report scores nations on four indexes of based on their readiness to exploit new digital technologies first the regulatory and business environment, second the infrastructure, affordability, and skills, third the usage by businesses, individuals and government, and finally the social and economic impact.

The the top of the index chart, the Environment subindex, two pillars measure Political regulatory environment and the Business innovation environment. The second subindex, Readiness, has three pillars the infrastructure digital content, Affordability and Skills. The third Usage subindex has three pillars with Individual usage, Business usage and Government usage. The final Impact subindex has two pillars with Economic impacts and Social impacts. Sri Lanka demonstrates high scores on three pillars mentioned above. These are: Affordability,Skills and Government usage. In the case of the other pillars, Sri Lanka scores below 5.0. In an example of a case closer to home in Asia, Singapore maintains a high score above 5.0 in all ten pillars.

The success of Singapore may be attributed to one of the world’s best ranges of government online services and e-participation tools, among other factors. According to the report “Singapore offers the most conducive business and innovation environment worldwide and the second most digital-ready workforce (2nd, behind Finland.) With such fertile ground, it is not surprising that digital usage is so widespread: Singapore boasts the highest penetration of mobile broadband subscriptions per capita. Yet however, Internet uptake is surprisingly low: only three-quarters of the population use the Internet on a regular basis, far lower than leaders Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. This relatively low uptake does not prevent more than half the population being employed in knowledge-intensive jobs, the second highest after Luxembourg” (WEF GIT Report)

Free WiFi should have been prioritised. It step by step implementation should ideally begin with schools which lack e-connectivity for student development. The e-school a project to enable schools with Wi-Fi Internet was terminated soon after the last general election. Certain schools lacked the resources to sustain this promising venture investing in the future of nations youth, ensuring their connectivity to the wider world.

As we live in a modern tech world its important to first connect the village school so that the kids can learn from the online material rather than black & white text books. Internet to improve skills is another area the Government could focus and infrastructure for this is required with teachers to teach IT.

Despite Sri Lanka’s improvement a few places from last year from 76th to 65th there is much more improvements to be done for sectors such as the Number of applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) per million population under sub index Economic Impact Sri Lanka has got a value of 0.6 at 79th place while countries like Japan top the list with value of 300 above. Mongolia has a better score at 75th place with a value of 0.7, it’s strongly recommend the authorities to improve on R&D and invocation.

ICTA is the apex ICT institution of the Government which was established in 2003 under the leadership of the present Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe. Prime minister understands clearly the value and importance to develop the ICT industry of our country, he was keen to develop the BPO industry at that time and this author was working at Sri Lanka telecom assisting to setup the Telecom City and the largest BPO the HSBC outsourcing center in Rajagiriya. When the initial presentation to the Prime Minister was made about the BPO industry he was very much positive and supportive. Two years of hard work to setup the Telecom City a massive IT park was shelved after the change of government at that time.

Unfortunately, the loss was for the country. This farsighted initiative was to generate many jobs from this industry and we lost many investors who were ready to invest for this project due to inconsistency of policy. Again, another opportunity has opened up to rebuild the nation and with it and strengthen the ICT industry with the leadership. As Minister Eran Wickramaratne rightly points out “the new Government’s emphasis is on soft infrastructure in preference to hard infrastructure. A strategic advantage our island holds is its educated population, one of the best in the region. If soft infrastructure is developed, the country could achieve great progress, given its rich human resources and its unique geographic positioning in the world.” For this, a sustained strategy of investment in and trust in people will sow the seeds for growth in ICT and innovation sector.

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Latest comments

  • 7

    Ranil W had the vision re development of ICT and the importance of same for the benefit if our country. Unfortunately, some goons took over power during last 10 years and did not make any major progress, probably not much money they could make from this industry compared to the highways industry.

    In this short period Primer minister has initiated to provide wi-fi free of charge in many places and hope he could eventually provide same to the entire country which elevate the knowledge of country men forward and these modayas, mottapalas, rogues, criminals would be eliminated.

    • 1

      Dear Asanga Abeyagoonasekera –

      RE: Sri Lanka At The 65th Place In The Global IT Report

      “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” – Steve Jobs

      “that they’re basically (1) good and (2) smart, and if you give them (3)tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

      So there are THREE Requirements above, according to Steve Jobs. If you have 2 out of three missing, it will NOT help.

      Asanga, we have TWO Problems in Lanka, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, currently Populated by the Paradeshis, Paras from Baharat, Dambadiva, India.

      1. Basically Good. The current Paradeshis, Paras, the Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils, Para-Muslims and the other Paras are NOT Basically good, despite the Faiths they claim to follow. They All are inferior to the Egalitarian beliefs of the Native Veddah Aethho, to whom the Land belongs.

      2. Smart. The Paradeshis, the Paras, the Para-sinhala, Para-tamil, and other Paras are basically NOT smart. The Average IQ of the Paras is 79, and the average IQ of those who voted for mahinda rajapaksa is 65, including the former Minister Wimal Buruwansa, of 2/2 =0, “fame”.

      National IQ Scores – Country Rankings


      Sri Lanka IQ 79, Singapore IQ 108, Japan IQ 106.

      former Minister Wimal Buruwansa, of 2/2 =0, “fame”.
      Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s Speech on Wimal Weerawansa


      3. If you plot the Global IQ of a country with its, IQ you are sure to find some correlation. There was a correlation between the IQ and wealth of nations, with outliers for some oil producing countries. When their oil runs out they will fall into the curve, and those countries will become Ghost Countries, like Ghost Towns.

    • 1

      Asanga Abeyagoonasekera –

      RE: Sri Lanka At The 65th Place In The Global IT Report;

      The Average Q of the Modayas, Mootals and Fools who voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa is estimated to be 65.

      A Funny coincidence. If you want to improve the IT and IQ ranking, get the Modayas, Mootals and Fools away from Mahinda RAjapaksa.

  • 1

    “As we live in a modern tech world its important to first connect the village school so that the kids can learn from the online material rather than black & white text books” – well said sir. We are really need to be forcused on this.

  • 0

    So you think putting free WiFi in city centres , public places is the way to go. No plans to give cheap internet with wireless access to houses… People have to continue maintaining separate 3G access contracts for each device, …… gov give them free wireless access in city centres.. Doesn’t look like a visionary plan to me… I may be wrong, but Not seen in any develop country this sort of thinking… Getting kid out of homes and keep them in city centre??

    Main problem is Telephone Copper wires are not reliable and exchange looping may not be compatible… So no cheap Internet at homes… There are technologies to provide Internet via power lines, have you heard about it? ..German technology? We need something like that…we need high speed , unlimited internet at home at cheap price.. Rs.2000 or 3000 a month. Free WIFi access in public places will only increase Facebook usage and Google “Sxe” searches.. (SL is number 1 country in this category)

  • 1

    ICT aids education in Australia according to how a seven year old girl, daughter of one of my close relatives, does her homework. Children do not carry heavy parcels of books daily to school there now.
    They carry only a light weight laptop.
    Teachers at each class, in addition to oral instruction, at the same time convey the lessons taught to all laptops in the class, in addition to the home work assigned for the day.
    Children go home, do their homework on the laptop, and send it to the teacher’s computer, who assigns marks and conveys his comments back to each child.
    I hope our level of ICT will come to this level soon.

  • 0

    Internet/telephone charges are extremely high in SL. On to the bargain they put various levies on it. Ideally the rates must come down to 1/4th of the current rates. Otherwise no future for ICT in SL. Also with the present damned speed it is useless.

  • 1

    Thank you for this great informercial. I’d like to add the following:

    Yes. we do need more WiFi. The children should be taught to download more music, films, photos and ‘beautiful pictures of men and women doing various acts’.
    All social media should be given free full access as well. The speed of the network should be kept at least abreast with the required download speed or the new thriller games. All youngsters should be given a credit card so they could buy what they really need for their living. Essential items being more and more mobile phones, cosmetics and CDs.

    Games and web surfing should always be encouraged as well as spending time on all types of social media as these are proved to increase the brain capacity by making the cells swell. Only limitation would be the skull which covers it. The next election, if at all, should be handled through this brainy kids who do not contaminate themselves by going out and spending time with fellow humans. One of them should be chosen to run the Ministry of Education.

    I suggest that we should never teach the next generation to type in Sinhala and Tamil as both languages are archaic and destined to be useless. Let Google do the typing (in English to Sinhala and Tamil and translate)

    They need not learn to program the computer; never ever allow them to learn Java. It is dangerous. And never be directed to do things such as spreadsheets and writing articles and books. If allowed, this sort of activities will definitely slow down their interest in downloading and will have a direct bad impact on their, brains, future and the economy, of the USA and India of course. And the online sellers and dealers will suffer as a result and the whole country will go on a downward track.

  • 9

    I think the way of handling is completely wrong. It looks academically sound but practically another farce. World is far advanced in IT. Sri lanka is thinking in a different direction whether it is implementable, practicable etc., etc., Sri lanka is not thinking about using the brains of sri lankan youth.

  • 3

    right now, govt is not controlling IT use in Sri lanka. What will youth do first Watch pornography, look for anything bad that they also can do.

    So, things have to go hand in hand.

  • 0

    This Global IT report is as archaic as it is unimaginative and foolish. For instance it suggests that funds should be spent on teachers rather than on students, but anybody who knows about Khan Academy knows that by empowering students to learn at their own pace, spectacular benefits accrue to the educational process, especially in Mathematics related subjects.

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