July 23, 2021
The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) is collaborating with the Educate Lanka Foundation (Educate Lanka) to expand its Smithsonian Science for Global Goals Project to Sri Lanka, starting with Educate Lanka’s latest project, Educate Lanka Youth Change Agents (ELYCA), launched in June 2021. This program is using the community response guide COVID-19! How can I protect myself and others? to provide young people with tools and resources to take action against COVID-19 in their own communities.
“We are pleased to collaborate with the Educate Lanka Foundation to share the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals project, and the COVID-19! guide with students in Sri Lanka and their communities. As we continue our work in collaboration with communities across the globe, we look forward to working with Educate Lanka as they support students in solving real-world problems that ensure good health and well-being in their own communities, while creating a more sustainable planet for all. It is especially exciting to see this work expanding in Sri Lanka through the impressive work of the Educate Lanka Foundation,” said SSEC Director, Dr. Carol O’Donnell.
The ELYCA program, designed and initiated by Educate Lanka with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka, is a 10-month project-based learning program designed to empower future leaders from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds across Sri Lanka with skills, exposure, and experience to become the next generation of change agents. Through this initial multi-stakeholder collaboration, 30 diverse young leaders will each go through over 150 hours of training, guidance, and practice on leadership skills, social and emotional learning skills, and project design methodologies such as Design Thinking to become catalysts for change in addressing issues of their own communities.
The Smithsonian Science for Global Goals project will play a critical and integral role in the ELYCA training, empowering each young leader with a self-exploratory and activity-based scientific methodology that will support them to Discover, Understand and Take Action on the most pressing issues within their own communities. The unique approach and structure of the modules is expected to complement the overall learning of an Educate Lanka student by giving them an opportunity to put important skills such as empathy, critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and global citizenship into practice, especially at a time of limited access to learning opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Educate Lanka’s Founder and Executive Director, Manjula Dissanayake, said “The Global Goals modules fit very well not only with the objectives of the ELYCA project, but also with Educate Lanka’s larger mission, and we are excited and honored to bring the important work of the Smithsonian Science Education Center to Sri Lanka through this collaboration. This project will help us further advance our goal of changing the conventional learning from a system that is centered around knowledge and subject-matter acquisition to a more holistic learning journey that fosters critical foundational skills and values in Sri Lanka’s younger generation, empowering them to become agents of sustainable change as empathic and globally conscious citizens.”
During this pilot project, Educate Lanka will be integrating SSEC’s “COVID19! How Can I Protect Myself and Others?” community response guide and plans to integrate the rest of its guides into Educate Lanka’s core programming and make them accessible to all of its over 500 beneficiaries across all 9 provinces of Sri Lanka.
About the Smithsonian Science Education Center
The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) is transforming K–12 Education Through ScienceTM in collaboration with communities across the globe. The SSEC is nationally and internationally recognized for the quality of its programs and its impact on K–12 science education. The SSEC’s portfolio of training and leadership programs, curricula, digital assets, and resources have captured the attention of national and international experts. As a leader in science education reform for over 35 years, the SSEC has a long-standing history of serving schools, districts, states, and ministries of education throughout world. At the heart of their work is the idea that all youth—regardless of gender, geography, race, native language, ability, or socio-economic status—should be given the opportunities to learn about the socio-scientific issues that challenge us.
About Educate Lanka Foundation
Educate Lanka firmly believes that while talent is universal, opportunity is not, and envisions a future in which opportunities are universal regardless of one’s background or circumstances. Educate Lanka is committed to unearth talent and potential in every student by creating learning pathways for the socioeconomically marginalized that enhance their access to quality and equitable learning opportunities, empowering them to thrive in school, work, and in life. Educate Lanka Foundation is a 501-c-3 international non-profit incorporated both in the U.S. and in Sri Lanka.