Commercial Bank enhances support to education with novel online project

Saturday, 2 August 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • More than 20,000 children from 20 schools now learning Math & Science via IT labs donated by the bank’s CSR Trust

The Commercial Bank’s role as a key corporate supporter of children’s education in Sri Lanka has taken a giant leap forward with the launch of an innovative online education program by the country’s largest private bank. More than 20,000 children from 20 schools are now accessing carefully selected mathematics and science lessons via a specially created web platform, to supplement their regular lessons in these subjects. Using the IT labs it has already donated to 140 schools around the country, the Commercial Bank’s CSR Trust is working with seven undergraduates of the University of Colombo to provide these online educational programs to students from Year 6 to the GCE Advanced Level classes, with the active involvement of the IT and subject teachers in the respective schools. The schools covered represent a wide cross section of the community, as the program even extends to schools in areas such as Kilinochchi, Padavi Sri Pura, Godakawela, Beddegama, Koggala, Peraliya and Marawila in addition to schools in the Colombo and Gampaha districts. The content is chosen from educational websites of the Khan Academy and on the basis of the national educational curriculum and selected batches of students use the computers donated by Commercial Bank to access these lessons. Each student has his or her own email address and can seek the help of the teachers or the undergraduates running the program whenever required. “Online education is one of the most effective ways to provide extra coaching to students,” said Commercial Bank’s Deputy General Manager Marketing Hasrath Munasinghe. “This program also develops the IT skills of the participating students, and fits well with the vision of the bank’s CSR initiatives in the sphere of education.” The involvement of the undergraduates of the Colombo University in the project is through the University’s Service Learning program, under which undergraduates work with corporate entities on projects of this nature. Commercial Bank intends to extend this online education project to more schools to provide its benefits to a wider group of children, Munasinghe added. The bank’s nationally-scaled IT education initiative is intended to enable younger generations and the country to face the future with confidence with world-class knowledge. This program shares synergy with the bank’s enduring vision of being the most technologically-advanced, innovative and customer friendly financial services organisation in Sri Lanka. By the first half of 2014, the 140 IT Labs donated by the Bank had benefitted an estimated 140,000 children.  All computer laboratories donated by Commercial Bank’s CSR Trust are equipped with brand new computers with licensed software. The schools are also provided accessories such as computer tables, printers and chairs, and the bank provides assistance to maintain and upgrade these computer labs when necessary to ensure that the facilities benefit many batches of students. Besides this initiative in the sphere of education, Commercial Bank’s CSR Trust also funds a program to provide English language training to students of rural schools, and presents scholarships and laptops to 50 undergraduates every year. Among other community commitments of Commercial Bank’s CSR Trust are donations to facilities for war heroes, the donation of essential equipment to hospitals and support for projects to promote and conserve the country’s cultural heritage. The bank defines the overall goal of its CSR policy as ‘to generate measurable and sustainable social dividends for different segments of society, in particular those which require empowerment and enrichment’.