Annual Research Symposium 2022
The Annual Research Symposium 2022 [ARS-UoC 2022] of the University of Colombo was held on the 16th of November 2022 on the theme “Digital Transformation and Innovative Approaches to Mitigate Challenges in the Higher Education Sector“. It was organised in hybrid mode, with participants attending in person at the Prof. V. K. Samaranayake Auditorium of the University of Colombo School of Computing and online via Zoom, Youtube and Facebook.
The Annual Research Symposium unifies all symposia held by the respective faculties, institutes, campus, school, and the library of the University promotes interaction among all the faculties and institutes and provides researchers with a platform to showcase their work. This year’s Symposium was organised under the leadership of Senior Professor (Chair) H.D. Karunaratne, Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, and was chaired by Professor K.P. Hewagamage of the University of Colombo School of Computing. The inauguration ceremony of the ARS-UoC 2022 commenced with the lighting of the oil lamp by distinguished guests and invitees. The occasion was graced by the presence of Chief Guest Senior Professor Malik Ranasinghe, current Chairperson of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa. In his speech Professor Ranasinghe spoke about the success of projects that attempted to introduce digital transformation in higher education, drawing on his involvement in initiatives such as the Open Learning Platform hosted by the University of Moratuwa. Before his speech, he launched the Proceedings of the ARS-UoC 2022 which presents the bulk of research work carried out at the University of Colombo last year. The Proceedings are now available at https://cmb.ac.lk/ars.
Three keynote speeches were delivered at the inauguration ceremony of the ARS-UoC 2022. The first of these was made by Mr Ryotaro Hayashi, a social sector Economist from the Asian Development Bank. Mr Hayashi spoke on “Digital Transformation Readiness of Sri Lanka’s Higher Education“, presenting data from a nationwide online higher education survey that showed correlations between the rise and transformation of online higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the carryover effects of these shifts onto the current period of economic crisis.
Dr Marito Garcia from the Darden School of Business Center for Global Initiatives, University of Virginia, USA addressed the gathering next, joining the ceremony virtually from the USA. On the topic “Towards a New Framework for Digital Transformation: Options for Sri Lanka’s Higher Education”, Dr Garcia presented eight drivers of digital transformation for higher education institutions that could be used not only to evaluate the digital transformation of Sri Lanka’s higher education institutes but also to outline trajectories for the future.
Mr Arjuna Nanayakkara, CEO of GTN Technologies representing the Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies, presented the final keynote address. Speaking on “Transforming to a Digital Wave“, Mr Nanayakkara presented the industry perspective on higher education and emphasised the growing need for universities to recognise and adapt to ongoing paradigm shifts. In recognition of their contribution to the event, the University of Colombo honoured Professor Malik Ranasinghe, Mr Ryotaro Hayashi, Dr Marito Garcia, and Mr Arjuna Nanayakkara with plaques presented by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo and the Chairperson of the ARS-UoC 2022.
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