Twenty one new rural telecentres have been opened in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka earlier this week as part of the Information Infrastructure programme of the Sri Lanka’s ICT development strategy, e-Sri Lanka.
These ICT service delivery centres, known as Nenasalas (‘nena’ means ‘knowledge’ and ‘salas’ means ‘shops’), are based on the vision of developing e-societies connecting community members to information and e-services.
Nenasalas serve as ICT hubs, linking the students, farmers and business owners to the internet and providing access to IT knowledge and skills with computer literacy classes. They serve as bases for radio broadcasts of market prices and agricultural information to farmers and telehealth facilities.
Moreoever, they have facilities for visually and hearing impaired individuals with audiobooks and hearing aids.
Chairman of ICT Agency (ICTA), Professor P. W. Epasinghe has said that the aim of the Nenasalas is to accelerate the process of equipping people with IT knowledge and facilities. The e-Sri Lanka strategy states the establishment of a network of 1000 Nenasalas to providing the communities with “affordable access to information and communications technologies”.
Epasinghe said that the opening of the new telecentres “coincides aptly with the economic development taking place in the North with the dawn peace in the country”, as the Northern Province recovers from the end of 25 years of civil strife.
There are currently a total of 699 Nenasalas across the country, with 19 more to be opened in the North.
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