Published on: March 13, 2024

“Kaleidoscope 2024 Screen media for Gen-Z” commences

  • The current media’s practice of exclusively conveying its viewpoints misleads society. It underscores the vital significance of imparting media literacy to schoolchildren – Secretary to the President.

The Presidential Media Division launched the “Kaleidoscope 2024 Screen Media for Gen-Z” program at the Presidential Secretariat Yesterday (12), chaired by Mr. Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the President. This initiative aims to equip school students with practical knowledge and experience in various media platforms.

The program will feature workshops led by an advisory board comprising representatives from the Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Education, Presidential Media Division, public and private media entities, academics, and media experts. For its inaugural phase, 158 students from 31 schools with active media units have been selected. The program is sponsored by Unilever Lanka, SLIT Educational Institute, Lanka IOC, and Mahaweli Centre.

Participants, including students and teachers, expressed gratitude for this valuable opportunity during the event. Mr. Saman Ekanayake emphasized the importance of media literacy for school children, highlighting concerns about the current media landscape, which often presents biased opinions. He urged students to actively engage with media education to maximize its benefits.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Saman Ekanayake further added;

When examining the syllabus of this course, several technical issues come to light. The knowledge traditionally dispersed across various institutions is now consolidated within this single course.

Why is it imperative to provide media education to school children? The majority of media organizations in Sri Lanka tend to convey their subjective opinions to the populace, potentially leading to misinformation. Media entities often operate according to their own biases and preferences. Failing to comprehend this dynamic may result in misguided decisions. Therefore, the essence of this course lies in grasping this rationale.

Reflecting on our own educational experiences, while arithmetic was taught to us by the principal, who donned traditional attire, the logic behind solving mathematical problems was often neglected. Despite receiving theoretical knowledge throughout our schooling and university years, the practical application of problem-solving logic was overlooked. Our aim today is to impart this essential knowledge to children, enabling them to decipher the behaviour and motivations of media organizations.

Must we exclusively consume the narrative presented by the media? This prompts us to scrutinize the news articles in newspapers and discern whether we should unquestioningly embrace their assertions. If not, this course equips us with the capacity to discern our own perspectives. Such discernment has the potential to steer Sri Lanka towards a brighter future.

Secretary to the Ministry of Education Ms Wasantha Perera;

The significance of mental well-being is paramount alongside the educational development of our children. Without sound mental health, even the attainment of great achievements holds little value. Thus, the organization of such programs is deeply appreciated. I extend my gratitude to the Presidential Media Division and the Director General for orchestrating this invaluable initiative.

In contemporary discussions, we often hear about the lack of cooperation and creativity among new employees in both the private and public sectors. They seem confined by their academic credentials, unable to transcend beyond mere degree certificates. Hence, there is a pressing need for supplementary programs like this one. Today, what we require are generations of children who think critically and collaborate effectively, rather than solely relying on theoretical knowledge.

Without the ability to think critically, collaborate, or innovate, the knowledge acquired by children may not be effectively integrated into society. Therefore, we must discourage a rote learning culture and encourage individuality. Each child possesses a unique pattern and should embrace their distinctiveness. It’s essential to communicate knowledge effectively and critically assess information rather than accepting it at face value. Collective efforts should be prioritized over individual endeavours.

Director General, President’s media Division Dhanushka Ramanayake;

Two months after the inception of the President’s Media Division, a gentleman from the ICT department delivered a humble letter to the department, suggesting that our Kekirawa College be offered the chance to partake in a media training program and visit the media department. Although initially modest, this proposal evolved over many days and months into a well-structured project ready for execution.

This momentous occasion was made possible by the collaboration of three key stakeholders, to whom we extend our heartfelt gratitude.

Upon presenting the idea, the President endorsed its implementation, allowing us to commence this distinctive program with private funding. To ensure the program’s success for the children, we seek the guidance and blessings of our esteemed elders. The program spans 16 weeks, operating one day per week for a total of 16 days.

During the initial stage, the fundamentals of media are explored, followed by six days of further education across five fields identified by both us and the children. Esteemed teachers and experts will conduct the educational sessions.

We have also reached out to all electronic media institutions in Sri Lanka, inviting them to engage with the children and provide relevant activities tailored to their education. Furthermore, the children will have the opportunity to visit these media institutions for two days to gain practical insights.

Recognizing the importance of understanding branding and marketing for journalists, we have arranged for experiential learning in top private sector institutions.

In collaboration with the SLIT Educational Institute, we aim to equip children and teachers with practical knowledge for both the present and future, fostering a unique learning experience.

School journalists are the budding pioneers of the media world, and it is imperative to nurture their talents. Our goal is to produce not only proficient journalists but also effective communicators by the program’s conclusion.

Additionally, outstanding children will have the chance to shadow various units of the Presidential Media Division for at least two days in June, where they will contribute to directing the country’s head of state’s media coverage. This Kaleidoscope 2024 program marks the initial stride towards cultivating a cohort of journalists capable of assuming such responsibilities.

Mrs. Wasanthi Nanayakkara, a senior journalist, delivered the keynote address, followed by a speech by Mr. Chaminda Samarakoon, Head of Media and Activities at Unilever Sri Lanka. Additionally, school students and teachers also shared their thoughts during the event.

The President’s Senior Adviser Prof. Sunanda Madduma Bandara, the President’s Senior Additional Secretary and Secretary of the President’s Fund Mr. Sarath Kumara and a group of principals, teachers, journalists and representatives of sponsoring institutions were present on this occasion.

Mission

The Presidential Media Division is fully responsible for socializing the views, actions, decisions and statements of His Excellency the President through the media. Electronic, print and new media will contribute to this through a credible and engaging approach.

The media department works as a source of information on the subject of the President’s vision and mission by maintaining good coordination with public and private media organizations and journalists.

National policies, plans and measures are explained to the people through the use of high quality media. Identify the fallacies and reveal the truth.