Gateway Graduate School to host the International Forum for Teachers (IFT) 2024

Monday, 22nd of January 2024

Gateway Graduate School in collaboration with Pearson Edexcel, University of Flinders, Australia and Universal College Lanka will host the fifth International Forum for Teachers (IFT) at the BMICH, Colombo. This year’s conference is themed ‘Inspiring Pupils, Empowering Teachers: Harnessing the Power of Tech’. The forum, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, is open to all teachers of the state, private and international schools in South Asia. IFT’s mission is to assist in developing world-class teachers through global partnerships, collaboration and dialogue. The annual conference offers delegates the opportunity to network, exchange best practices and gain an in-depth understanding of the rapidly changing environments of school education from a global perspective.

“Inspiring Pupils, Empowering Teachers: Harnessing the Power of Tech”

The future of education hinges on empowering teachers and leveraging technology and artificial intelligence (AI). The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of online learning, underscoring the transformative potential of tech in education. Merely introducing technology doesn’t guarantee improved learning outcomes. Teachers must responsibly select and utilise tech that enhances teaching and learning. The pandemic emphasised the irreplaceable teacher-student relationship and the sense of community in schools, which screens cannot replicate.

A student-centered approach that values the human aspect of education alongside technology is vital. Striking a balance between teachers and tech is key. Educators must be part of decision-making processes, aligning educational technology with pedagogical goals and diverse learner needs. While tech offers opportunities, it can’t replace the support, empathy, and guidance teachers provide. A human-centered approach that prioritises student well-being is crucial in navigating the evolving educational landscape effectively. The conference will focus on addressing the following broad topics:

  • Student Inspiration Through Technology
  • Empowering Teachers with Technological Tools
  • Innovative Teaching Methods and EdTech Integration
  • Challenges and Opportunities in the Tech-Driven Classroom

Speakers at the IFT 2024 Conference

Mr. Sampath Thrimavithana – Chairman ICT Industry Skills Council, Sri Lanka/Director Virtusa/Founder Sponge Global Learning

Sam is a distinguished leader in Tech and Talent Transformation, currently overseeing APAC Talent Development for a billion-dollar IT firm. He serves as Chairman of the ICT Industry Skill Council and in an advisory capacity to the Ministry of Education. Sam has two decades of managerial experience in Banking, Finance, Insurance, Research, and IT, and has founded Sponge Global Learning, a startup specialising in AI and Simulation-based Training. Sam’s impact extends globally through workshops, keynotes, and recognition as one of the “Most Influential Talent Leaders in Asia.”

Professor Pablo Munguia, Dean Education, College of Education Psychology and Social Work, Flinders University

Professor Pablo Munguia is Dean of Education for the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University. Pablo currently focuses on education quality, curriculum design, authentic assessment and, connecting pedagogy to industry while being a strong advocate for a high-quality student experience. Pablo’s fields of expertise include learning analytics and curriculum design, enabling academics to reflect and improve learning journeys at universities. Dr. Beshan Kulapala - Co-Founder/ Director/CEO Cyrus EV Chargers & Research Scientist Dr. Beshan Kulapala is a tech entrepreneur, focused on developing high-tech solutions with local talent.

Currently, he is the Co-Founder/CEO of Cyrus EV Chargers, developing EV charger technology for Volt Charge, a Saudi-based startup. As co-founder and a former Director of Vega Innovations, he was instrumental in developing Sri Lanka’s and South Asia’s first electric supercar which was unveiled at the Geneva International Motor show in 2020. Before moving back to Sri Lanka, he was an Engineering Manager at Intel Corporation, USA leading a team of engineers to develop integrated debug and survivability capabilities. He was also the co-founder of the Validation Core Unit (VCU) – Center of Expertise at Intel Corporation.

Mr. Bathiya Jayakody - Managing Director - BNS Productions

Bathiya Jayakody, is a highly influential Sri Lankan musician, renowned as one-half of the dynamic musical duo Bathiya and Santhush (BNS). His collaboration with Santhush Weeraman has redefined Sri Lankan music, seamlessly blending diverse genres and pushing creative boundaries. The duo’s innovative approach has earned them widespread acclaim, not only in Sri Lanka but also internationally. His contributions to BNS Productions have solidified his legacy as a trailblaser in the South Asian music industry.

Panellists at the IFT 2024 Conference

Professor Deborah West - Vice President & Executive Dean, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

Professor Deborah West is Vice President and Executive Dean for the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University. She has over 25 years’ experience in higher education in both academic and administrative roles. In a previous role, she had responsibility for strategic leadership of the University’s educational strategy, student success, and oversight of student-related and academic services. As an academic, specialising in sociology and social work, she has successfully completed multiple government and charitably funded research projects and evaluations both nationally and internationally. Since 2012, her research has focused on the use of learning analytics to support and improve pedagogical approaches, teaching practice and learning in the online space. She is also a recipient of an Australian Learning and Teaching Citation for Excellence.

Mr. Harsha Randeny - Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives

Harsha Randeny, Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives, has been working at Microsoft since 2007, leading teams that focus on cloud technologies, strategic partnerships and partner ecosystem advisory. His passion is to accelerate digital transformation for businesses, SMEs, communities, and industry verticals in both countries. He has a Master of Science degree in Strategic IT Management from the University of Wolverhampton, and he is also a director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM).

Mr. Santhush Weeraman - Managing Director at SGM Films Pvt Ltd

Santhush Weeraman is a highly acclaimed Sri Lankan musician and the other half of the iconic duo Bathiya and Santhush (BNS). As a versatile singer, songwriter, and producer, Santhush has been instrumental in shaping the dynamic sound of BNS Productions. Beyond his musical endeavours, he is also a prominent figure in the Sri Lankan film industry, being the founder of SGM Films Pvt Ltd. This venture reflects his commitment to artistic expression across multiple media and has established him as a multifaceted creative force in South Asia.

Mr. Kaushal Gunaratne – CIO & Co-founder UnifiedAR

Kaushal Gunaratne stands at the forefront of innovation as the Chief Innovation Officer & Co-founder of UnifiedAR, a leading Augmented Reality (AR) and interactive print technology service provider headquartered in Brisbane, Australia. With a relentless passion for pushing the boundaries of traditional print media, Kaushal plays a pivotal role in driving the evolution of marketing strategies and also collaborates with some of the world’s top printers and advertising agencies. As the Chief Innovation Officer, he assists these printers and agencies in conceptualising and executing immersive campaigns that captivate audiences and yield tangible results.

Launch of Bachelor of Education (Hons) Degree

A highlight of the conference will be the launch of the Bachelor of Education (Hons) Degree, which is recognised by the University Grants Commission and approved by the Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka. The degree will be recognised by the Sri Lanka Qualification Framework (SLQF) as a Level 6 qualification. Students will have the opportunity to gain practical experience at the network of Gateway and Springfield Colleges and will be considered for employment at the schools within the group.

Further details can be obtained by calling Rasika or Dilushi on 0772256356, 0777060157, 0112695103 and 0112695107 or by writing to [email protected].