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Announcing the Winners of the Innovative Teachers & Students National Competition 2010

The Ministry of Education together with Microsoft Sri Lanka Recognizes and Awards Innovation in the field of Education

Announcing the Winners of the Innovative Teachers & Students National Competition

Announcing the Winners of the Innovative Teachers & Students National Competition

The Ministry of Education together with Microsoft Partners in Learning Initiative recognized innovative thinking and exceptional creative talents of teachers and Students island wide at this year’s Innovative Teachers & StudentsNational Awards ceremony held on the 29th of November at the Grand Ballroom of the Galle Face Hotel. The event was graced by Prof. TissaVitharana, Minister of Scientific Affairs, Mr. H. M. Gunesekera, Secretary, Ministry of Education, Professor P. W. Epasinghe, Chairman of ICTA Sri Lanka, Mr. AnuraDissanayake, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Mr. Channa De Silva, Public Sector Director, Microsoft Sri Lanka and other dignitaries.

Secretary to the Ministry of Education Mr. H. M. Gunasekera speaking at the occasion commented “We consider it our collective responsibility to annually appraise creative programmes such as this, that are conducted by the Ministry of Education and ICTA together with global IT sector giants, with the objective of increasing computer literacy rate to 75% by the year 2016 and make Sri Lanka a knowledge hub as outlined in the “MahindaChinthanaIdiriDakma” development plan.

Across the world, Microsoft’s dedication to IT innovation and development translates into the field of education through its global initiative Microsoft ‘Partners in Learning’. Through its activities the company focuses on developing all three areas of learning and education; namely teachers, students and schools with the objective of encouraging active use of ICT in classrooms on a day to day basis. In Sri Lanka this initiative takes life in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Secondary Education Modernization Project (SEMP), who organizes the Innovative Teachers and Students National Competition which culminates at this annual awards ceremony.

The importance of this program was further highlighted by Mr. AnuraDissanayake, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education / Project Director, SEMP II, when he stated that ‘This competition is the first and only national level competition to be held in Sri Lanka, exclusively for teachers. It motivates and recognizes teachers who actively use ICT in teaching and learning to create a powerful learning experience in the classroom. The objective of the competition is to jumpstart the use of ICT in schools, so that children become aware of the potential and benefits of IT from a very young age. It is hoped that these efforts will create an IT friendly culture in the local education system’.

The names of the national level winners were announced at this ceremony. Winning the 1st place in 1-8 Teacher’s category was Mr. T. G. R. Tharukaratne from SujathaBalikaVidyalaya, Matale with Mr. R.C.P. Wijewickrama - SiriMihinduMahaVidyalaya, Minuwangoda in second place and Mr. H.M. Wijewardena of RambukaMahaVidyalaya, Rakwana in third place. In the 9-11 Teacher’s category Mr. RasikaSampathEdirisinghe of Siddhartha MahaVidyalaya, Weligama was awarded 1t place whilst W. ChamathAbeygunawardana of All Saints’ CentralCollege, Fort, Galle was placed 2nd & D. PriyankaraGodage of Siddhartha MahaVidyalaya, Wellwaya was placed third. In the 12-13 category M.G.N.S.JayasekaraAnandaBalikaNationalSchool, Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa was awarded first place whilst D.M.L.D Senevirathna of St. Joseph’s College, Anuradhapura for second place and U.G.P Sirikumara of DarmaduthaMahaVidyalaya, Badulla was awarded third place.

In the students 1-8 category Ananthitha Johnson of St. Mary's College, Trincomalee was awarded 1st place whilst D.M.M.B. Dissanayake from St. Mary's MahaVidyalaya, Kegalle was awarded 2nd place along with M.D.S.P.S. Dasanayake of St. Mary’s MahaVidyalaya, Kegalle awarded third place. In 9-11 students category J.A.D.H. Aseka of Katukenda SriSangabodhiCentralCollege, Dankotuwa was awarded first place whilst B.A. BhagyaChathuranganiSwarnasinghe from AnandaBalikaNationalSchool, Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa was awarded 2nd place along with R.P.H.K. Ruwanpura of Weddagala South MahaVidyalaya, Kalawana for the 3rd place.

In A/L Maths category MudithaBandaraArambepola of Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa came 1st, U. ManikyaUdayangaSenarathna of AnandaMahaVidyalaya, Elpitiya 2nd and W.M.A. Sandamali of KudaKusumMahaVidyalaya, Bandarawela came 3rd. In A/L Bio category K.G. RivinduNishshanka of PitabaddaraMahaVidyalaya ,Pitabaddara received 1st place while W.W.M.M.T. MadushanBandara of KeppetipolaMahaVidyalaya, Keppetipola received 2nd and M.N. FathimaShihara of Tamil Girls' MahaVidyalaya, Badulla was awarded 3rd place. In the A/L Commerce category R.A. DasunChamara of NarandeniyaNationalSchool, Kamburupitiya came first along with T. Thivanika of SriShanmugaHinduLadiesCollege, Trincomalee in 2nd place and N.D.G. Shalika of TissamaharamaMahaVidyalaya in 3rd place. In the A/L Arts category T.G.D. Sandaruwan of KahagollaMahaVidyalaya, Diyathalawa was placed 1st while Abdul AzeezFathimaSasna of MuturMuslimLadiesCollege, Mutur was awarded 2nd place and H.A.S.M. Hettiarachchi of DelwalaMahaVidyalaya, Delwala received 3rd place.

Mr. Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager of Microsoft Sri Lanka said, “This year is truly an exceptional milestone of this event. I’m extremely proud to see all winners emerging from rural areas and from all corners of the country. That, together with 80,000 entries received for this year’s competition goes on to prove the popularity of the competition and gives us an indication of the number of lives we have touched through this initiative alone. We’re humbled by the participant’s enthusiasm and take pride in that we have contributed positively to transform the IT landscape of the country which was our objective when we launched this program 7 years ago with very humble beginnings’.

Winners of the national level Teachers Competition receive the chance to represent Sri Lanka and compete at the Asia Pacific regional event which will be held in Thailand in 2011. This will, indeed, be a great opportunity for local teachers to meet, share experiences and interact with their regional counterparts.

Another special highlight at this event was the handing over of special certificates of recognition to the Provincial Project Managers in appreciation of their dedicated service and commitment towards the education modernization efforts spearheaded by the Ministry of Education.

Mr. Channa de Silva, Director Public Sector, Microsoft Sri Lanka said, ‘The Microsoft ‘Partners in Learning’ initiative is built on the understanding that informed, empowered teachers are at the heart of meaningful and effective teaching and learning, transforming the way students absorb knowledge and engage with the world. Furthermore they influence how students adapt to new technologies and create a learning environment where ICT is the foundation of innovation in the classroom. This ultimately paves the way for modernization of the education process and ensures that our education system stays relevant to today’s world.’

The Innovative Teachers Program helps pioneering educators to identify which of the new methods are most effective, to share their knowledge and experiences with their counterparts around the world in order to ensure that new successful methods are adopted. Meanwhile, the Innovative Students Program has been developed with the intention of improving students’ creativity and IT skills. It is believed that this will enable them to access the latest in technology and gear them to face the challenges of the 21st century.

This year saw a significant 64% increase in entries for the Innovative Teachers competition and an astounding 180% increase in the entries received for the Innovative Students competition in comparison to last year. The increase can be attributed partly to the teachers competing in one more category this year, bringing the total to three. This categorization was made in order to create a better playing field for the teachers to compete in. This year in the student competition, five winners were selected from each of the four streams with higher cash prizes on offer, whereas last year only the first place winner received a cash prize. The objective of all these efforts is to foster interest among teachers and students and encourage them to utilize ICT in learning.

The competition is open to teachers of any subject from public and private schools, as well as international schools operating in the country. Entries are submitted in Sinhala, Tamil or English and take the format of a lesson plan of 40 minutes, developed in line with the national curriculum, using software available to the schools and the internet where applicable. The criteria for selection include exemplary and innovative use of technology and demonstration of an engaging and inspiring presence to motivate and impact students. The judging panel comprised of education and subject specialists, IT experts, and university lecturers.

Microsoft believes that ICT in education is a powerful catalyst to improve teaching and learning efficiency. Ultimately, education changes lives, families, communities, and nations. In a developing country such as Sri Lanka, where ICT is still concentrated in urban settings, these efforts are doubly beneficial as they open up avenues and create opportunities for students from rural areas who have hitherto been not been exposed to the world of IT and its many benefits. Therefore, Microsoft Sri Lanka believes that initiatives of this nature will give greater energy for our country’s march towards becoming an economic power house in the region.