Browsing by Author "Coomaraswamy, Uma"
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- ItemOpen AccessCapacity building of agriculture extension officers and farmers in ICT skills to minimize the digital divide and construct a sustainable social learning capital capable of using ICT for knowledge acquisition and sharing(2013-11) Senadheera, Prasad; Kulasekara, Geetha U; Watthewidanage, Jayantha; Perera, Pradeepa; Senevirathne, M A P K; Prabash, Dineth; Coomaraswamy, UmaTraditionally majority of the rural farming community in Sri Lanka rely on agriculture extension officers for advice, guidance and training opportunities on crop cultivation, particularly due to government assistance schemes in agriculture. Ongoing COL-L3F project implemented by the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) recognized that it was an essential pre-requisite to develop ICT skills in the officers involved with agri-extension services to establish a sustainable ICT based knowledge acquisition system in farming community. Preliminary survey revealed that 37 % of 175 officers who underwent training had prior exposure to ICT, whereas only 22% of them used it in extension services. Although 26% had an exposure to the internet, less than 10% used it for knowledge acquisition. Farming community had no prior knowledge in ICT. A programme was developed by OUSL to train 175 officers involved in agri-extension service in the Department of Export Agriculture along with some farmers from the farming community. The programme consists of a ‘bridge course’ in ICT, custom made modules on application of ICT in agriculture, knowledge acquisition through ODL and use of OER was offered by OUSL. Results of the summative assessments, quantitative and qualitative studies conducted by means of a questionnaire and interviews revealed that 80% of officers (140 ) have successfully completed the examinations and qualified for OUSL certificate on computer literacy. Sixty-six percent of them have planned ICT based activities for extension service. Sixty percent claimed that their ICT literacy level increased at least to ‘average level’ from ‘unfamiliar’ or ‘new comer’ status. Eighteen percent stated that they are at the level of ‘adaptation’ or ‘creative application’ on applying ICT in agriculture. Many have acquired skills in ODL and use of OER for knowledge acquisition. Motivated by the programme, farmers are in the process of building an IT resource center in the village. // Paper ID: 427
- ItemOpen AccessLife Long Learning (L3) for Farmers: A Pilot Project in Sri Lanka(2008-09) Coomaraswamy, Uma; Hirimburegama, Kshanika; Alluri, KrishnaPCF5 Sub-theme: Livelihoods // Over 75% of the population of Sri Lanka lives in the rural sector. More than 70% of rural women are involved in subsistence agriculture and production but lack access to information and are relatively weak in economic empowerment. Several decades of public investment in agriculture, irrigation and community development have not achieved lasting success in rural development. New strategic initiatives are needed to harness engines of pro-poor growth to enhance livelihoods, increased incomes, address gender issues and ensure access to essential services among the poor. // The vision of Lifelong Learning (L3) for Farmers in Sri Lanka is to evolve a self-generating, self-sustaining and self-replicating livelihood improvement programme among rural communities using technology mediated open and distance learning. This concept envisages a global and local partnership between knowledge institutions, ICT centres and rural communities and a win-win situation for all stakeholders. The L3 Programme was launched in Sri Lanka in April 2007 and pilot phase is taking place in three villages. // It is a tri-partite model with mobilized rural community in the centre for facilitating participation and as a base for knowledge management in the community. // The rural community is linked to: // a) location-specific institutional base through partnership with knowledge institutions with expertise in disciplines related to agriculture in a consortium approach. // b) rural ICT centres with appropriate technology to facilitate self-directed learning which is financially viable, economically feasible and socially acceptable. // c) banks for loans to farmers. // The L3 project is complementing the ‘Gama Neguma’ (village upliftment programme) of the Government of SriLanka thus deriving national support. // Presentation will share the experience thus-far gained in the three pilot villages. // Paper ID 108
- ItemOpen AccessPerformance Indicators for self-evaluation and quality enhancement(2010-11) Coomaraswamy, Uma; Rama, K; Hope, AndreaIn this context it is an urgent need to have a common, quality assurance framework and an international evaluation process for quality assurance in distance higher education including procedures for quality audits, evaluation, review and accreditation of distance higher education institutions/programmes, which would guide the Nations in ensuring their people get a meaningful and quality education.
- ItemOpen AccessQuality Assurance in Distance Education(2011) Coomaraswamy, UmaProf. Uma Coomaraswamy, Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka in conversation with Prof. Som Naidu, Charles Sturt University at the Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF6), Kochi, India, November 2010. Part of ten video conversations conducted by CEMCA at the Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning. (Duration: 10:32)
- ItemOpen AccessQuality Assurance Toolkit: Distance Higher Education Institutions and Programmes(2009) Coomaraswamy, Uma; Clarke-Okah, Willie; Rama, Kondapalli; Hope, AndreaThe massification of higher education in many countries is placing tremendous pressure on higher education institutions (HEIs) to open up their doors to increasing numbers of students as demand for access to higher education soars. In response to this trend countries are turning increasingly to distance learning. The challenge for HEIs is to keep their virtual doors open while sustaining a culture of continuous improvement in their research, teaching and community engagement functions. The Commonwealth of Learning is proud to partner with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Higher Education and UNESCO to produce this Quality Assurance Toolkit for Distance Higher Education Institutions and Programmes. The Toolkit has been prepared with three features.