Establishment of Nanasalas

1. e-Sri Lanka Initiative

The e-Sri Lanka Initiative initiated by the Government of Sri Lanka aims to provide access to “diverse and unrestricted sources of information and means of communication” to all the citizens.

The Government of Sri Lanka recognizes the great potentials that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can play in:

  • strengthening the democratic processes in the country, 
  • the advancement of the peace process,
  • improving the quality of life of the people, and
  • enhancing the social and economic development

2. ICTA’s 1000 Nanasala(Knowledge Centre) Project

The Nanasala Project is one of the projects implemented under the e-Sri Lanka Initiative. Formally known as the “Nanasala Project (Nanasala)”, ICTA has incorporated it under the “Nanasala” label to introduce several models of the telecentres or knowledge centres to be established in all parts of Sri-Lanka to spread ICT services to the rural and semi-urban population.

The Project will aim to meet the infrastructure requirements in order to address the information and communication needs of rural areas in all parts of the country through the establishment of Nanasalas, and the provision of ICT based services.

ICTA will have 3 different types of Nanasalas or Knowledge Centres depending on the complexity and the type of services that will be offered

2.1 Nanasala: Rural Knowlege Centres – (Entreprenual or Commercial Model)

Running under the banner of “Vishwa Denuma Gamata” or “global knowledge to the village”, the key objective of this programme is to establish multi-service community information centres which provide access to internet, e-mail, telephones, fax, photocopy, computer training classes and other ICT services as well act as a hub of local, national and global information resources to provide an catalytic effect for the rural communities in poverty reduction, social and economic development and peace building while aiming at providing these services in a long-term, sustainable manner. Section 3(Phase one) of this report onwards explains the complete selection process of the locations and the owners. In the first phase, 100 centres will be created in Grama Niladhari Divisions in the South and North East regions with little or no access to Information Communication Technology by the end of 2005. Another 100 Centres will be implemented by 2007 in other parts of Sri-Lanka.

2.2 e-Library Nansala –Community Model

e-library will be a smaller version of the Rural Knowledge Centres but will follow a community model where some services are provided free with a few paid services to maintain the sustainability of the centre. These centres will have telephones and computers with high speed internet to access national, international and local information. Computer based training (CBT) media is available to use off-line in Sinhala, Tamil and English as well as a large e-library of books and periodicals for the use of students of all ages. These centres are in the process of being established in the centre of village, mainly in places of worship, public libraries and community centers. IT trained clergy will also be used as instructors. 800 of these Nanasala:e-libararies will be opened within the next 2-3 years.

2.3 Distance & e-learning Centres (DeLs)

A DeL centre will have distance and e-learning services inclusive of all infrastructure facilities such as video conferencing room, multi-media computer laboratory and a playback room. The overall objective of the DeL Centre project is to provide new information sharing and learning opportunities to a large spectrum of users in the country, through the establishment of an interactive, multi-channel network linking to existing domestic e-learning networks, and global networks for distance and e-learning, such as the Global Development Learning Network. DeL centres will aim at raising the skill levels of a broad spectrum of the population in key urban areas outside the Colombo area. ICTA is currently in the process of implementing 4 DeL centres inclusive of Jaffna University and South Eastern University, Oluvil campus.