Commercial Bank Chief Financial Officer Nandika Buddhipala and National Science Foundation Director General Dr. Sepalika Sudasinghe exchange the agreement in the presence of (from left): Commercial Bank Senior Manager – Sustainability, Women Banking and CSR Kamalini Ellawala and National Science Foundation Chairman Prof. Ranjith Senaratne and representatives of the two organisations
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has announced a partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further enhance the bank’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education projects and the delivery of STEM education to selected underperforming schools in Sri Lanka.
This initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Education comes a year after the bank supported the establishment of 100 STEM smart classrooms island-wide to deliver digitised educational content. Under the MoU signed with NSF, the bank’s CSR Trust will provide a list of schools to implement STEM projects and deliver logistical support to launch the STEM program and carry out impact assessments.
Recognising the rapid advancements in technology globally and the increasing demand for skilled professionals in the STEM fields, the bank said its CSR Trust chose to implement this project to prioritise STEM education in the local education system.
For its part, the NSF will recommend schools deserving of STEM education support, assist the bank in selecting and evaluating education projects which would yield impact at national level, assist the bank to design the training program, and perform impact assessments after the implementation of the STEM program.
Both parties will identify and implement interventions to address specific requirements of selected schools chosen for the program, among their other responsibilities listed in the agreement.
Commenting on this latest STEM education program, Commercial Bank Chief Financial Officer Nandika Buddhipala said: “The bank decided to expand its efforts in the field of STEM education because this will help prepare students for the jobs of the future. Many of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs in the modern economy are in STEM fields such as computer science, engineering, and data analysis. By providing students with a strong foundation in these subjects, we can ensure that the next generation of Sri Lanka is well-equipped to succeed in careers that are in demand.” He added that by partnering with a reputed government institution such as the NSF which is mandated to serve and strengthen the science and technology sectors in Sri Lanka, the bank will be able to benefit from the expertise it offers to further develop its STEM projects for the benefit of a larger group.
STEM education helps foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills. By teaching students how to analyse data, design experiments, and solve complex problems, STEM education helps to equip them with the skills necessary to succeed in any field. In addition to preparing students for future careers and fostering critical thinking skills, the STEM education program can also help promote innovation and drive economic growth in the country, the bank said.
Commercial Bank’s largest commitment in the sphere of corporate social responsibility is to digital technology education in Sri Lanka. In September 2022, the bank donated its 250th IT lab under its flagship community initiative to take digital literacy to even the most rural towns in the country. It was also a key partner in the national Smart Schools initiative where 165 schools were equipped with digital learning facilities. The bank’s ‘Sipnena’ online portal contains digitised school curriculum content, complete with practical videos and presentations to facilitate easy learning for students.