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Jun 09, 2020

Microsoft partners with Sri Lanka’s first Education Institute dedicated to the field of applied AI, AI Academy

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — May 18, 2020 —With the need for one-stop connectivity and collaborative technology becoming increasingly mainstream, Microsoft today announced a strategic partnership with AI Academy to empower students and business professionals to digitalize, innovate and transform in the domain of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Located at the Colombo Innovation Tower, AI Academy is an incubator for students and business professionals to implement innovative ideas, apply emerging technologies, and embrace lifelong learning. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs, executive part-time courses and knowledge sharing forums; also providing collaborative projects to support industries, start-ups, and governments.

As part of the arrangement, Microsoft will provide AI Academy with cloud-enabled software and tools for teaching and learning through Microsoft Hands-on Labs and other industry-recognized programs such as Microsoft Learn, AI Lab, AI School, and AI Business School to ensure its students and working professionals are exposed to practical applications of AI.

AI Academy will leverage Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams to support virtual teaching and learning with international faculty while regional Microsoft specialists will help conduct AI business workshops and hands-on technical lab sessions to help participants identify business challenges that can be optimized with the help of AI—driving AI literacy and empowering the workforce of Sri Lanka to deliver more value.

“Our partnership with Microsoft represents our commitment to address the unmet needs of students and working professionals in Sri Lanka by empowering them with the tools and capabilities to go from envisioning to rapid prototyping,” said Lin Gong-Deutschmann, Co-founder, AI Academy. ”AI will transform industries and societies, so governments, technology companies, businesses, academia, and society will need to work together to reform the curriculum in higher education to meet local and global market demands and prioritize technology-based education in driving faster economic growth, creating a skilled resource pool for economic transformation.”

“We look forward to building on our partnership with Microsoft to further strengthen Sri Lanka’s capabilities, and enhance our competitiveness as a global hub for students and business professionals in all sectors,” added Lin.

“It’s great to see AI Academy and its leadership set an example by investing in the workforce of tomorrow,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “By building their own unique digital capabilities, AI Academy is becoming a fast adopter of best-in-class technology. AI is one of the technologies that will transform every industry, and we’re proud to be partners with AI Academy in readying and upskilling their students and working professionals.”

AI Academy has announced plans to set up a physical AI Experience Center to encourage the public to explore and experience what is possible with emerging technology. Its educational programs will be very much integrated with industry requirements and the practical applications of AI. Subject areas include, but are not limited to, data science, machine learning, computer science, data analytics, and intelligent systems.

“With this partnership, we see a potential to scale and drive our efforts to empower the market with the right tools and technology. We can help to further accelerate AI-enabled digital transformation, build coalitions to nurture a vibrant local technology ecosystem, close the digital skills gap and create societal impact from innovations in AI,” added Hasitha.

MAIN IMAGE: Lin Gong-Deutschmann, Co-Founder, AI Academy (Top Left); Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives (Top Right); Ashiq Niyas, Territory Channel Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives (Bottom Left); and Sachindi Weerakoon, Business Strategist, AI Academy (Bottom Right) during the virtual signing via Microsoft Teams

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