Colombo, December 3, 2010: Representatives from a number of countries and institutions throughout the Asia Pacific Region met in Colombo in mid November to discuss knowledge sharing through new communications technologies that are quickly becoming available throughout the region.
These advances have greatly complemented knowledge sharing across borders; fostering new opportunities for knowledge sharing and fresh perspectives. Specifically, improvements such as the deployment of fiber optic networks are giving institutions and governments the potential to improve economic and social development of countries in the region.
“Development today is multidirectional. Knowledge and information no longer flow from countries in the North to South. Innovations, financial flows and business opportunities are flowing from South to South,” said Amit Dar, Acting Country Director for World Bank Sri Lanka at the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) annual meeting of the Asia Pacific region, hosted at the the Sri Lanka Distance Learning Center for the first time.
During the week-long event, representatives from large economies such as China, India, Japan, and Indonesia worked alongside colleagues from Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal, Mongolia, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka among other to discuss with members of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations present the potential of South-South dialogue in key areas such as education, business facilitation, and adult learning.
Dr. Sohail Naqvi, Executive Director of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, speaking by videoconference from Islamabad gave a fascinating overview of how Pakistan has invested in high speed networks and international connections to bring global knowledge to its academic and student communities.
Dr. Uditha Liyanage, Director of the Postgraduate Institute of Management said he felt he had entered the global village such was the diversity of faces from all over Asia and the Pacific and that there's a need to consider changing approaches to modern and innovative adult learning models using technology.
The host country, Sri Lanka, was exceptionally keen to build upon these new technologies to maximize its development. K G D D Dheerasinghe, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka shared opportunities awaiting Sri Lanka to become a knowledge hub of Asia. Dr. Anura Ekanayake, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce said that Sri Lanka expressed the need for knowledge sharing for business facilitation and growth, focusing mainly on developing the Small and Medium Enterprises of Sri Lanka.
Amit Dar, who, in addition to acting as Country Director for Sri Lanka, is the Education Sector Manager for the South Asia Region of the World Bank concluded, “Access to Higher Education Opportunities is low in South Asia Region…GDLN technology along with knowledge partnerships can help bridge existing knowledge gaps and improve the quality and relevance of education programs through South-South dialogue and knowledge sharing.”