The faculty of Arts is a pioneering faculty in the University of Jaffna which has been awarding Bachelor of Arts (B.A), Bachelor of fine Arts (B.F.A) and Bachelor of Law (L.L.B) degree at undergraduate level. Further, Faculty has seventeen Departments along with around 3000 undergraduate students for awarding the degrees in 27 Disciplines. Faculty is offering Computer literacy as a compulsory course containing three credit value for the first year students of the faculty of Arts from 2004 to develop knowledge and skills in IT. Further, faculty is offering IT subjects for General degree programme (Bachelor of Arts) since 2014.
The knowledge and skills in IT is very crucial to an innovative and efficient economy. Particularly, using information technology, businesses have the ability to view changes in the global markets far faster than they usually do. Thus, in current competitive world, enhancing the Knowledge and skills in IT would further decrease mismatch between ability of graduates and expectations of job market.
Both enhancing IT skills and increasing the rate of employability of the students of faculty of Arts has been inevitably necessary to reduce unemployment among the Arts graduates. Therefore, the present Government has been emphasizing crucial importance in enhancing IT knowledge and skills of the students of all Universities of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, University Grants Commission had initiated suitable measures for the establishment of Department of IT and IT laboratories in Faculties of Arts and Humanities of all Universities in the later part of 2019 onwards. Subsequently, University Grants Commission had several meetings and discussion with IT project coordinators of the all Universities in relation to creation of IT Department and IT Labs from 2020 March to 2021 July. In fact, Professor S.Vijayakumar attached to the Department of Economics is the project coordinator for the aforesaid IT project. The Vice–chancellor of University of Jaffna had appointed Dr.S.Vijayakumar as a project coordinator to accomplish the task of establishment of IT department in the University of Jaffna. In accordance with the effective guidance of Vice-Chancellor Prof. S. Srisatkunarajah and Dean of the faculty of Arts Dr. K.Suthakar, Dr.S.Vijayakumar had been playing crucial role in accomplishing the task of establishment of IT department and IT Labs in the University of Jaffna. UGC having long and several meetings with project coordinators of all Universities has decided to provide blanket approval to establish IT Department in the Faculty of Arts under powers vested in June 2021. As a result, The Honourable Minister of Higher Education declared the establishment of the Department of Information Technology (IT) as 18th Department under the Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna by his extraordinary gazette notification number EOG 04-0034/2 and dated on 1st of April 2022.
Professor S.Santhirasegaram was the first coordinator for IT unit from 2014-2015 and then Dr.Mrs.K.Kamalakumari was the second coordinator for ICT Unit from 2015-. 29th of June 2018. Thereafter, Professor S.Vijayakumar has served as a coordinator for ICT Unit for last four years from June 2018 to 30 th of June 2022 and played crucial role in the establishment of IT Department in 2022.
The newly established IT Department will enable the students to obtain Diploma certificate in IT from of University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) in addition to their Bachelor degree. In order to achieve effective function of IT course for Arts students, the University Grants Commission has provided six cadre, ie., one academic cadre, four temporary Lecturer and one instructor in June 2021.
In addition, Faculty of Arts had received Rs.23 Million from World Bank under AHEAD project with collaboration of UGC in order to establish two IT laboratories in the Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna. Two medium IT lab have been establishing with fully equipped laboratories at faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna. Moreover, IT Department along with fully equipped laboratories in the faculty of Arts has been more beneficial in two ways. Primarily, it will gradually pave the way to create great opportunities for undergraduate students to enrich the knowledge and enhance the skills in IT field. Secondly, it would promisingly assist Faculty of Arts to run the programme by itself without any difficulties.
Furthermore, Full-fledged status as a department has provided new avenues to IT studies to teach and open research areas and thus, involves more youngsters with professional skills, knowledge and principles in order to adapt themselves in the world of work in all sectors of the country at national and international level.