Bill Gates foundation to help replace blackboards with smart boards?

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Minister of Education Dr. Susil Premajayantha stated that although it is an essential project to replace blackboards with smart boards in order to increase the technical capacity of identified Government schools, it is difficult to procure the necessary funds for the implementation of the project in view of the prevailing economic crisis.

Premajayantha, who is on an official visit to participate in the Transforming Education Summit in New York, USA, held a discussion with the Gates Foundation, founded by one time world’s richest man and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. 

The officials who participated in the discussion were informed by Premajayantha that in order to increase the technical capacity of identified public schools in Sri Lanka, where a policy of providing free education from the first year up to university education is in place, it has become an essential project to install smart boards instead of traditional blackboards.

He said that the sustainable solution to the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka is based on education, but that it is however difficult to procure the necessary funds for this investment which must be implemented in the current crisis situation. He said that the Government is currently providing only the essential expenses in order to maintain the education sector.

Premajayantha also expressed his special appreciation for the global development programme implemented by the Gates Foundation for the development of the education sector in developing countries, and therefore requested the Foundation to support the use of modern technology for the educational activities of public schools in Sri Lanka.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an American private foundation founded by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates. Based in Seattle, Washington dC, US, it was launched in 2000 and is reported as of 2020 to be the second-largest charitable foundation in the world, holding $ 49.8 billion in assets. The primary goals of the foundation are to enhance health care and reduce extreme poverty, and to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology in the world.