The 2017 Budget presented by the Minister of Finance of the Government of Sri Lanka proposed provision of “free Tabs for almost 175,000 students who enter the Advanced Level (AL) classes and around 28,000 A/L teachers from 2017.” LKR 5,000 million was allocated for this purpose.
Given the fact that LIRNEasia had just completed a systematic review on ICTs in the classroom and had conducted an event to present the research to decision makers, we asked Kagnarith Chea, who participated in a related event to react to the government proposals. Kagnarith is
. . . the co-founder and managing director of Cambodia-based Edemy, which aims to provide English to all by lowering barriers of affordability and resource constraints using a model of offline learning with technology combined with instruction by local teachers. Kagnarith graduated with a Master’s Degree in English in 2010 from Arizona State University. He has been teaching and managing English language programmes for more than 12 years.
In a comprehensive contribution published in Sri Lanka’s largest circulation English newspaper, the Sunday Times, he says, among other things that:
. . . a more important question is ‘what content will be available on the tablets’? If there is content, what is the content? Can students understand such content since most of them are in English? If they can understand them, will the content be useful when they are not well-integrated with the existing curriculum? If students can understand the content and they are well-integrated, is there a budget for such content?