Sri Lanka parliament full of digital luddites; laptop use 20-pct

ECONOMYNEXT- Less than 20 percent of Sri Lankan legislators use their official laptops or have registered e-mail addresses, and many opposed the government’s digitalisation attempts, a minister said.

"We have laptops on our parliament tables but less than 20 percent have used it," Telecommunication, Sport and Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando said.

He was speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies’ New Thinkers’ Symposium 2019 which was held under the theme ‘Technology and Economic Transformation’.

"I have the statistics, and I know they haven’t even registered an email address," he said.

Sri Lanka ministers are also opposing attempts at the use of advanced technology in the style of luddites of an earlier age.

Fernando said he tried to bring in digital cabinet papers but senior ministers opposed it due to a lack of digital familiarity.

He said some senior ministers are against digital penetration in the country, and do not want children learning in digital classrooms.

"The older generation (of ministers) thinks its completely weird and wrong and it will completely corrupt," Fernando said.

Most Sri Lankan legislators are luddites who fear innovation and are protecting legacy local industries which would be wiped out if faced with global competition. (Colombo/Mar22/2019-SB)





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