SLASSCOM Chairman Dinesh Saparamadu handing over the future careers documentary to Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr Sunil J Nawaratne at the inaugural session of the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) directlink: industry academia network. Picture by Rukmal Gamage

Mindset change is the key to develop the country and it is time for Sri Lanka to change its way of thinking on the big picture, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr Sunil J Nawaratne said. The inaugural session of Sri Lanka Association of the Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) directlink: industry academia network was held yesterday.

“We need to transit from traditional ways to a knowledge work paradigm. Opportunities will not last long, hence we will not let go the opportunities,” he said.

To make this work private and public partnership is the only solution to solve this disparity. Although the private sector is the engine for growth, our private sector is not that powerful,” Nawaratne said.

He said it is important to balance international academic strategies.



         Madu Ratnayake                       Dinesh Saparamadu


The business environment, human resources and an efficient innovation system and dynamic information infrastructure has to be addressed.

“Academia does not understand the market, market trends and skills.

“The universities are more product oriented, where they hardly look at the market.

“Minimizing this gap would definitely help to minimize the unemployment rate of the graduates,” he said. It is timely to think in a novel manner. The students in universities will be provided with easy payment scheme laptops and dongles to enhance their knowledge and to have access to information.

The Ministry together with the US Embassy has already implemented a program to enhance the English knowledge of the university students.

The Sri Lankan IT and BPO industry export earnings are estimated to be US $ 390 million for 2010.

Sri Lanka has set a target of US$ one billion revenue with employment of 100,000 by 2015 in the IT and BPO industry.

One of the key prerequisites for this growth to realize is the acceleration of human resource capacity development in the industry.

The SLASSCOM directlink program objective is to collaborate in enhancing the talent pool available to the IT and BPO industry through knowledge sharing, curriculum development support and various other activities.


SLASSCOM directlink will provide a platform for the industry and academia to engage in a sustained manner. SLASSCOM Chairman Dinesh Saparamadu said to achieve the US $ one billion export market it is important to build the industry and the academia at the same time.

All these years Sri Lanka has been trying to increase the supply side, which was lacking.

SLASSCOM Vice President Madu Ratnayake said the biggest challenges that they face are capacity and brand.

Sri Lanka needs to position itself as a global destination to build a niche global centre of excellence for finance, mobile, telco, travel and aviation, legal process and product innovation.

The SME niche captives and companies should look for diversification, while taking note of the quality and ethics, retention, cost, lower risk and business with tourism prospects.

“We invite all academic heads at both state and private universities to join SLASSCOM directlink and be actively involved with the IT and BPO industry,” he said.