(2 March 2022, Reading Time – 2 minutes)
In March 2021, National Library of Sri Lanka (NLSL) successfully completed the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Workforce Recovery Scholarship programme, producing more than 4,300 learners who earned 21,343 certificates from world renowned universities and institutes. NLSL also partnered with COL’s Skills for Work scholarship initiative which began in April 2021 and ends in March 2024. The first cohort of this initiative ended in 30 September 2021. For both programmes NLSL collaborated jointly with diverse local organisations such as Vocational Training Authority, public libraries and educational institutions.
A feedback received from past and current learners is their inability to afford internet connections, and constraints in data usage as online lessons require a lot of video content. This prevented learners from maximising benefits from this wonderful cost free learning opportunity.
To address the issue, NLSL approached SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT, solutions Provider in Sri Lanka and requested them to partner with this national initiative. The support requested was primarily in the form of providing free data for eligible learners. Recognising the socio-economic contributions of the project, and fulfilling their corporate social responsibility, SLT-MOBITEL graciously agreed to partner with the project.
Under this partnership, SLT-MOBITEL provides 40GB worth free data for SLT-MOBITEL home broadband customers during the scholarship programme (i.e. October 2021 to March 2024 – 5 Cohorts) to access course contents.
SLT-MOBITEL agreed to sponsor maximum 2000 learners per cohort which is worth of approximately US$ 27,000/- (40GB = LKR 3000/- x 2000 learners). To ensure that the development objectives of the initiative will be met, the progress of the learners will be monitored and whether or not learners are eligible to receive their quota of free data will depend on the progress they make each month within the course work.
The NLSL-SLT partnership initiative will enable learners to actively engage in their studies and complete courses in time.