Archive for July, 2009

The Special Assessing Teachers Awarding Ceremony – 2009

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There was a special teachers assessing and awardees ceremony in the school on 27 th of July in 2009. The teachers devoted their effort to bring the students up to national level.

The eight teachers those who worked from 2008 – 2009 to bring the students up to all Ceylon level were assessed and held an awarding ceremony for there. The teachers and the students of the school participated for this opportunity.

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* With the guidance of the teacher Mr.K.R.M. Asoka Gunasekara, the
student surekha Dulanjalee got the first place from 200m race and the 3
rd place form the 100m race which was held in all Ceylon level in
2009.

* Mr. Jayasinghe led the students for sinhala language competitions and won the senor school stage drama award among other school in 2008
* Mr.K.M.W.Bandara, giving the information of the school and the
village to the international level by conducting the e Village project
and oasisdamahana web.

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* Mrss. W.G. Rohini worked to increase the year 5 scholarship results in
2008.

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* In addition to that stuents Kapila Gunathilaka and Dhanushka kalyan
got best results from 2008, A/L examination to enter the university and
they were also assessed here.

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The Boy Scouts that fear no challenge

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“The Scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place; his first duty is to God. It is with this idea before us and recognizing that God is the one Father of us all, that we Scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the difference among us of country, creed, or class. We realize that in addition to the interests of our particular country, there is a higher mission before us, namely the promotion of the Kingdom of God; That is, the rule of Peace and Goodwill on earth. In the Scouts each form of religion is respected and its active practice encouraged and through the spread of our brotherhood in all countries, we have the opportunity in developing the spirit of mutual good will and understanding.

This is a statement made by Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout Movement.

Born in the United Kingdom in 1857, Lord Baden Powel joined the Army as a youth and fought in many internationally famous battles before starting the Scout Movement based on his experience gained from fighting in the wars.

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As a young boy Powel enjoyed outdoor activities like hiking, boating and trekking. It is obvious that in later days Powel used this skill and experience to take the Scouting movement to children. A key feature of the scouting movement is to expose children to outdoor activities that provide them opportunities and challenges that help shape character.

Joining hands with the world scouting movement, the local chapter was set under the leadership of F. T. Stephens in 1912 at Christ the King College, Matale. Ever since, the movement has actively spread across the Island allowing large numbers of children to join it and earn themselves awards and accolades engaging in various activities at different levels. The Boy Scouts Movement in Sri Lanka functions as a well structured organization. In 1957 the movement received legal status under an act of parliament. The Sri Lanka Scouts Movement has three aspects to its formation, namely:

1. The Council

2. The Executive Council

3. General Matters

The most fascinating aspect of the scouting movement that had the attention of the children was ‘Camping’. Away from home and familiar surrounding the children are exposed to new challengers in new settings with children of same age. The experience gained in these formative years helps mould character and skill to face life with confidence in later years. Camping provides opportunities for scouts to develop self-confidence, courage, tactfulness, healthy living, thoughtfulness and self-confidence.

Students of Balangoda Damahana public school have been part of this movement for many years. The movement was introduced to our school by none other than the current District scout commissioner Mr. M. G. Abhayasiri when he was a teacher at this school. The movement was established in Damahana public school in 1978 with 32 children.

Ever since, the movement has progressed developing and expanding year after year. It has now become a key feature of the extra curricular activities of the school. Besides the Boy Scouts Movement, the Girl Guide Movement has also maid progress developing over the year.

Another key aspect of the Scouts Movement is the ‘service and co-operation week. Here, during each year a week is selected for the scouts to visit homes and institutions in the region. They would then carry out any tasks entrusted, for which they are compensated, the proceeds going to a fund. No doubt, the experience gained during this week of exposure helps the scouts in their own development.

The JOB Week is observed internationally and nationally at the same time.

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The eVillage concept – bringing technology to the village

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The IT usage skills improvement project is foremost among these. A main aspect of this project is to encourage the use of the computer and internet during school hours as part of the teaching/ learning process.

Secondly, this project provides opportunities to members of the community to use these facilities and to access required information via computer and internet. This process has immensely contributed to the quality of life and social upliftment of the community.

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In 2007, with initiatives taken jointly by the Presidential Secretariat and the IT Agency, the ‘Secondary Education Modernization Project’ (SEMP) was launched. R/Damahana MV with its connected village was selected as a pilot project for setting up the first e-village in the Sabaragamuwa Province.

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A main objective of this project is to enhance the development process of the region by providing IT technology to the rural communities. Hence, the e-village centre was structured and designed to function as the information provider of the rural community. Consequently we have successfully utilized the R/Damahana MV IT learning Centre to provide vital and timely information required by the community thereby contributing immensely to the rural development process.

One such activity was to start a website that contained all the information and development activities taking place in the village. A regularly updated web-blog has also been designed for this purpose. The website is http://www.oasisdamahana.org and the web-blog is https://oasisdamahana.wordpress.com . Besides, the community is given access to this centre to obtain any relevant information or training pertaining to IT.

However, when it comes to providing access to the community, state institutions are confronted with certain restrictions and limitations. For example, farmers and wage earners will only have the night time to make use of such a facility. Therefore, the need was strongly felt for setting up an independent centre providing easy access to community members.

The e-village project that commenced with R/Damahana MV as its focal point has by now developed to the point of being a service provider that brings together various sectors of the community enhancing rural development in the process. As the first step in this direction, a CBO by the name ‘Oasisdamahana Foundation’ was formed and registered under the Social Services Act No. 31 , 1980 of the Govt. of Sri Lanka. Our organization is now allowed to function as a social services organization registerd with the Balangoda Divisional Secretariat, bearing No. DSB/So/09/2009. This gives the organization a legal and professional status it otherwise lacked at a regional level.

In the immediate future the Foundation intends to implement a programme to improve the English language skills among members of the community. Plans are underway to provide IT training to the otherwise ignored Tamils living among the community.

The Foundation is also focused on setting up a BPO with the intention of improving and increasing the employment opportunities for the youth of the community.

A keen willingness has been shown by many within the community to provide necessary infrastructure facilities to implement these projects. However, further assistance is required to obtain necessary equipment and network support.

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Intel Teach

Today IT and ICT have become a vital part of our life. In a nut shell, IT is the main Key to open the Global world. We therefore say that it is impossible to live in this world. So as to adapt to this modern era and the millennium, we should have a wide range of knowledge and experience, which enables us to click into inventions, innovations and modernizations. IT gives us rapid, reliable and accurate solutions. Consequently, we must be familiar with ICT and live in it. Now ICT and IT are our shared partners in every system or unit.

To establish ICT in Sri Lankan schools today many steps have been made so far. Under SEMP project, what have been given to the government schools is immense and ample. The government has optimistically donated CLC centres and has given IT training to fifty percent of teachers from the government sector. Today CAL (Computer Assisted Learning) has also been introduced in schools to teach other subjects. Internet, which is the fastest communication media in this world, has been given to schools to fly to other countries without a flight.

In August 2006 a well equipped computer center was received to Damahana Maha vidyalaya in Rathnapura District. This computer center was setup with the assistance provided by the Asian Development Bank, through the Secondary Educational Modernization Project (SEMP). The unit consists of twenty computers with all its accessories. After setting up of this unit the school has made vast strides in the sphere of education in general. With the use of these computers and Internet, students are able to access vital and relevant information pertaining to their general education. In school hours we use these computers as part of our normal teaching and learning process. Besides, it serves as a useful tool to source information.

During extra classes held during after-school hours students are thought how to use computers for internet exploration, English language education, and special online courses. The students have their own website and are encouraged to maintain their own blogs. As a result, now, about 180 children are blog writers.

As an appreciation of all the good work done so far, the ministry allocated 20 Intel classmate PCs to Damahana maha vidyalaya donated by Intel co-operation.
With these laptops we also received wireless internet facilities. This is the fast e-village introduced to the Sabaragamuwa Province. With the addition facility the area surrounding Damahana Maha Vidyalaya has access to WIFI technology.

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The teachers who are training in the moment

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Mr. Sepala Kuruppuarachchi(Provincial Manager of SEMP Sabaragamuwa) in the Training programme.

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Mr. Alapathe IT co-odinater in Balangoda education Zone.

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Mrs. Tilini Hettiarachchi (Intel Teach) conducting the training programme.

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The Principal Mr. B. Somasiri of  Balangoda Damahana Maha Vidyalaya.

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Mr. K.M.W. Bandara of Balangoda Damahana Maha Vidyalaya.

Now in the world, the most common issue is INTEL TEACH Programme, which is currently in progressive in many parts of the world. In Sri Lanka Intel Teach was launched after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in October 2006 in between Ministry of Education, Government of Sri Lanka and Intel EM Ltd – Sri Lanka Liaison Office. Through this MoU, Intel has offered Ministry of Education the services at no cost a teacher professional development program specifically designed for Sri Lanka.

We were very happy about the exertion made by INTEL EM Ltd to bring this programme to Sabaragamuwa Province. Ratnapura Balangoda Damahana Maha Vidyalaya, which is the one and the only e-village school in Sabaragamuwa and is located about 7km away from Balangoda city.
The 3rd Intel Teach Batch in Sabaragamuwa province, with 24 teachers from 13 school in Balangoda zone have trained form 25th june 2009 to 02rd july 2009 in Rathnapura Balangoda Damahana Maha Vidyalaya.

A.M. Fazi (Centre Manager, CLC, R/ Hindu College, Balangoda). Said

“I was very happy about the exertion made by INTEL EM Ltd to bring this programme to Sabaragamuwa Province. I also attended the ‘Intel Teach workshop’, which is currently engaged at Ratnapura Balangoda Damahana Maha Vidyalaya, which is the one and the only e-village school in Sabaragamuwa and is located about 7km away from Balangoda city. When I entered the school premises first, what I saw was unbelievable and amazing. Students were seen carrying class mate PCs looked mini laptops, which have been donated by Intel. I found differences and uniqueness in methodology and everything.

The Resource person appointed by Intel Teach Programme, Mrs. Thilini Hettiarachchi was also exceptionally talented and performed her duty well in a pleasant and friendly way aiming at focusing the PBS (Project Based Learning).

I am very confident that I can make changes in their attitudes by what I got as experience through this effective workshop.”

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