An Echelon Media Company
Thursday July 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka tech campus drives online exams in Covid-19 lockdown

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, a fee levying tech campus said nearly 10,000 students sat for exams online during a Coronavirus lockdown.

Over 95 percent of students from the faculties of Computing, Engineering, Business, Humanities & Sciences, Graduate Studies & Research, School of Architecture, School of Law, School of Hospitality and Culinary had sat for the online exams.

“It is unprecedented in Sri Lanka’s higher education system, for such a large number to complete the full stretch of exam papers,” The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Nimal Rajapakse said.

“The papers were divided into multiple-choice, short answer questions, and the longer 3 to 4-hour papers which had to be answered on paper, then scanned and uploaded to our servers.

We had lockdown browsers and other tools and methods to ensure the integrity of examinations.”

He said Eduscope, a tech start up led by Malitha Wijesundera, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences had played a key role in online delivery of lecturs and exams.

The exams, which were conducted over a period of thee weeks, had each student sat for between four to six subjects.

The institute had to invest heavily in its IT infrastructure to handle the online delivery of lectures and examinations. “We see the value of this investment and plan to do more to give the best learning experience to our students,” says the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

“Like any other institution, we had some concerns because it’s the first time something like this was being done on this scale locally,” Rajapaksa said.

“Even international universities with sophisticated online tools had faced challenges, so in that sense, we had some worries – that there could be technological problems, low rates of participation which are issues that cannot be disregarded in a virtual environment.

“In a physical examination, students would raise a hand to clarify something which was not a possibility with online although we had hotlines managed by staff taking queries on the phone.

“Many of the exams had vivas and both academic staff and students had to put in a lot of work to do these online.”
The process had to be designed to treat everyone equally and their performance during the entire academic year could be judged fairly.

In some courses there was 100 percent participation, but in others there had been power outages and connection problems.

Those students would be given another opportunity to complete the exams. For pass/fail grades the choice of writing a regular in-class exam during the next semester would be given.

“We looked at student concerns and international best practices and designed the system around them, taking care not to create any disadvantages to students,” Rajapaksa said.

“They were sitting for exams from all over the island, so we had to consider that. We created a hotline where a student facing an issue such as a technical glitch, power outage, or any other, could call us and register the problem.’

SLIIT Vice Chancellor, Lalith Gamage, the institute had gained knowledge and experience. SLIIT is looking use know-how to enhance online learning and expand portfolio of courses to reach a wider section of society.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka airport will need tech to cope as volumes set to top pre-Covid levels: SITA

ECONOMYNEXT – Passenger traffic at Sri Lanka’s main airport in Katunayake is set to exceed pre-pandemic volumes by year-end and technology can be used to address congestion, an international aviation technology company said.

Self-service check-in, biometrics, reducing passenger touch points and off airport processing are some of the strategies now used to boost efficiency.

Passenger traffic, which includes regional transit passengers, at the Bandaranaike International Airport has topped 4 million by April and is likely reach 9.5 to 10 million passengers by year, which is more than the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

“The message is positive on Sri Lanka,” David Lavorel, Chief Executive, Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA), a company that was founded by airlines and is currently serving carriers, airports and border agencies.

“You have growth coming. Of course, you have challenges if you do nothing. But I think your authorities are working on taking action.”

Sri Lanka airport agency, the immigration department and SriLankan Airlines have a unified approach to solving coming challenges, Lavorel said, after meeting Sri Lanka authorities.

SITA provides communications backbone that allows airlines to check-in passengers and move and track baggage across global airports.

ITA technology is also used by airline back-office and air traffic controllers to track and manage aircraft as they move around the world, using Inmarsat and Irridium satellite services as well ground stations that are contracted with the company.

Sri Lanka is building a second terminal with Japanese funding which was delayed after Sri Lanka defaulted on its debt and is now three to four years away. Meanwhile an attempt to build an interim airport is also bogged down.

Sri Lanka to build temporary terminal at BIA

The airport can use existing space more efficiently by using new technology and re-engineering passenger processing by reducing ‘touchpoints’ which is currently at seven, according to SITA officials.

SriLankan Airlines has deployed self-service kiosks using SITA technology.

Already about 20 percent of SriLankan passengers are using the self service check-in kiosks, Sumesh Patel, President, Asia Pacific said.

Biometrics is another technology that is used to process passengers fast, by border agencies as well as airlines.

Using biometrics British Airways reduced boarding an Airbus A380 from 50 minutes to 20 minutes, Patel said.

SIA has also discussed using optimal technology in the second terminal but detailed design of technological deployment is perhaps two years away.

Deployment of passenger processing, including self service depends on the needs of airlines, where some budget airlines prefer more self service and the strategy of the airport.

“Once the airport airport has decided, and we come with advice on the technological side,” Lavorel said.

SITA was already serving airports across the world, passenger profiles and help airports come up with optimal tech use.

Sri Lanka’s airport in addition will could also continue to grow 10 to 12 percent year on year, until the second terminal came in. All over the world airports faced infrastructure constraints as it was simply not possible to expand terminals to keep up with passenger traffic.

“We look at what current constrain on the infrastructure is, what is the passenger growth expected, what are the technologies that can be deployed and also the passenger profile.

“Not all airports we can do 100 percent self-service, because there are different passenger profiles.” (Colombo/July18/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka to conduct threat assessments for presidential candidates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a cabinet paper proposing security measures for presidential candidates and former presidents, following the recent attack on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in the USA.

“This proposal suggests the appointment of a committee to conduct threat assessments and provide necessary security for Presidential candidates as well as former Presidents,” a statement from his media division said.

The committee will include the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security as Chair, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of National Intelligence, and the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police/Elections.

A Deputy Inspector General of Police will be appointed to oversee all security arrangements.

The committee and the designated officer will work closely with the Election Commission to ensure seamless coordination of security arrangements, the PMD said.

After today, July 17, Sri Lanka’s Election Committee is empowered to announce a date for the presidential polls due to be held this year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry has said the election will be held on October 5 or 12.

Members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have said that the government should be accountable for the security of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the SJB’s presidential candidate. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.80/304.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed almost flat at 303.80/304.00 to the US dollar on Wednesday, from 303.70/304.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday, dealers said, while bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.60/75 percent, down from 10.82/92 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.60/38 percent, down from 11.65/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.72/78 percent, down from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.05/10 percent, down from 12.05/20 percent. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

Continue Reading