Ericsson and the National Mobile Service provider, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Ericsson, Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) and Mobitel - to deliver Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training to teenage girls from farming communities in Sri Lanka - through Connect To Learn, the global education initiative founded by the Earth Institute, Ericsson and Millennium Promise, which leverages ICT for a 21st century education in developing countries. The Honorable Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapakse, First Lady of Sri Lanka graced the event in support of the initiative.

The Connect to Learn Sri Lanka program includes delivery of laptop computers, broadband internet access, online educational resources, and relevant training. The technology deployed will give students and teacher’s access to 21st century educational tools and resources, and the ability to connect to other schools around the world to foster collaborative learning, cross-cultural understanding and global awareness.

Bringing technology to the service of education is a common goal to Ericsson and the Connect To Learn Sri Lanka partners – Mobitel and Open University of Sri Lanka, and the role each one plays in the project is important to its success.

Ericsson is set to provide the ICT equipment required to implement the project, in addition to project management, systems integration and remote support capabilities. Mobitel, in its endeavor to accelerate growth of the female digital economy in Sri Lanka in line with GSMA connected women program, is providing the mobile connectivity required to facilitate the ‘Connect To Learn’ initiative.

Further, Open University of Sri Lanka, supported by Commonwealth of Learning, is responsible for providing the teachers, learning facilities and content focusing on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training for teenage girls with the aim of equipping them with knowledge and skills in these areas.

Denis Brunetti, Head of Ericsson Sri Lanka, said: "In recognition of the International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October, the Connect To Learn Sri Lanka initiative marks the first milestone of Ericsson’s ‘Technology for Good’ program in the country. We look forward to continuing this collaboration through the use of technology and the expertise of employees across all three organizations to make positive impacts in the communities we serve."

Ranjith G. Rubasinghe, Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel said, "Mobitel considers it a pleasure to join hands with Ericsson and Open University of Sri Lanka to begin this special initiative. We believe that our partnership will not only increase our commitment to enrich society through goodwill initiatives such as this, but it will also allow us to further strengthen our ties with Ericsson and Open Universality of Sri Lanka. Mobitel has always stood in the forefront in a quest to bridge the digital divide in Sri Lanka, and a programme of this nature is a testament to the contribution towards enriching the livelihood of the farming communities through technological advancements. We hope to extend this initiative to the rest of Sri Lanka in the near future so that larger communities could benefit from this program."

Notes to editors

About Connect To Learn

Connect To Learn is a non-profit initiative launched in 2010 by The Earth Institute at Columbia University as scientific advisor, Ericsson as lead ICT partner, and Millennium Promise as implementing partner. A growing portfolio of other organizations and individuals around the world are now providing vital contributions. Connect To Learn was designed as a public/private partnership to promote access to a 21st Century secondary education for everyone with a special emphasis on girls. The initiative’s gender focus addresses the challenges girls face in completing their education globally, despite the enormous economic and societal benefits gender parity in education enables. Connect To Learn aims to propagate practical solutions to ensure that people worldwide have access to education, providing secondary school scholarships and other support to keep girls in school, and implementing mobile broadband connectivity in the schools they attend to improve access to teaching and learning resources not only for them, but for their teachers and fellow students.

For more information, please go to www.connecttolearn.org

About Open University of Sri Lanka

The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) is the premier Open and Distance learning institution in Sri Lanka where students can pursue their studies through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) methodologies.

Established in 1980, under the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 and OUSL Ordinance No. 1 of 1990, as amended, the OUSL has the same legal and academic status as any other national University in Sri Lanka. According to the Public Administration Circular No. 16/92, dated 13.03.92, issued by the Ministry of Public Administration, Provincial Councils & Home Affairs, the degrees awarded by The Open University of Sri Lanka are treated as equivalent to degrees awarded by any other University under the purview of the University Grants Commission.

http://www.ou.ac.lk/home/

About Mobitel

Mobitel is Sri Lanka’s National Mobile Service Provider and a fully-owned subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom. The company offers mobile telephony services, high-speed broadband, Enterprise Solutions, IDD services and a host of Value Added Services. Mobitel was the pioneer in South Asia to launch a Super 3.5G network, to successfully demonstrate HSPA + MIMO technology and successfully trial 4G/LTE technology. The recent introduction of Dual Carrier HSPA+ technology and 4G-LTE service makes Mobitel’s broadband speeds the fastest in the country. Mobitel’s coverage spans the entire island, with international roaming available in over 400 networks worldwide. Fuelling over USD500mn worth of investments to-date, Mobitel has shaped the ICT landscape, experiencing exciting growth – poised to lead the industry into its next phase of development. A customer base of well-over 5 million, stands testament to Mobitel’s strong focus laid on customer centricity, emulating its credo of "We Care. Always." For more information, visit www.mobitel.lk or dial 1717 to reach the Customer Care Hotline.