Mr Arjuna Nanayakkara
Director – SLASSCOM, CEO – GTN Technologies & Head of Shared Services, GTN Group

Arjuna Nanayakkara is the CEO of GTN Technologies Sri Lanka & the Global Head of Shared Services of the GTN Group. He is a pioneer in building exceptional leadership teams and transforming organizations over past two decades by formulating corporate and business strategies based on operational excellence, product engineering, business development and corporate restructuring.
He is a management accountant by profession, marketeer and qualified in computer science, design and engineering and has held strategic leadership and operational roles in the Financial Services, Information Technology, Retail, Leisure & Hospitality and Property Development industries over the years.
In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Arjuna is a director of SLASSCOM and Trace Expert city, a board member of the Council for Business with Britain and an industry advisory board member of the SLTC Research University.

Transforming to a digital wave

The world experienced phenomenal change over the past few years, with paradigm shifts in almost every area of life due to disrupters introduced by Covid19. Education is no exception to this change as we all experienced adaptation to new delivery models, concepts, and techniques as a choice we consciously take or with no choice due to a pure necessity. We have experienced a demand for new skills in multiple industries and segments. The change is seen and an upskilling and reskilling uphill challenge while shuffling the most demanded skills with a new equilibrium between humans vs machines. Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Science driven skills have enhanced in value while repetitive volume-based skills have moved to machines.
We have encountered permanent change, and digitization of education is one we need to endorse as an opportunity than a crisis to manage. This is a rise to the occasion with intricate challenges prompting us to redefine our competencies while overcoming short and long-term challenges. As we speak, teaching concepts are changing, interactive learning is moving to new dimensions, and new competencies are being built across nations, schools, teachers and universities to capitalize on opportunities. Online platforms have developed competencies at the global level and delivered volumes beyond physical formats. Most of the new entrants in digitized models have outperformed conventional models in leaps and bounds. Sri Lanka has over 90% literacy rates as a nation because of free education that elevated us to a competitive platform on a global index. Is this enough for us to sustain ourselves in the modern age? How would we be compared in a global scale? Can we adopt a national digitization strategy to develop education to compete with the new global competencies on content and delivery methods?

It is inevitable that we define short to long-term strategies in defining this space, and it will impact every single area of how education is positioned, defined, and delivered. Digitization will touch society from rural to urban lifestyles while remodeling primary to graduate education. It will also demand upskilling and reskilling of professionals in the education sector. These are all opportunities to convert existing weaknesses towards new strengths as risk mitigation strategies for nations and educational institutes.
The keynote address attempts to highlight these opportunities available in the prevailing environment challenges to overcome and project a vision that can reposition competitiveness of education as a global brand woth competitiveness for Sri Lanka.