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Corporate Social
Responsibility

Commercial Bank launches CSR initiative to raise student Math skills

Collaborates with Optimized IT to run online MCQ testing for GCE (O/L) students in 10 schools

A novel project to use online test papers to sharpen the mathematics skills of students preparing for their GCE Ordinary Level examinations was launched recently by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon in collaboration with Optimized IT, an IT solutions company specialising in conducting multiple choice question (MCQ) based examinations online.

The Bank has chosen 10 schools to run a pilot project for this programme, under which Optimized IT will upload a maths test paper comprising of 20 questions each week via its web portal www.mcqpal.com to be answered by students online within the set time, using the facilities of the IT labs they have received from Commercial Bank.

Optimized IT will train mathematics teachers in the selected schools on how to use this tool, instruct students on how to answer the test papers live online and provide the teachers with an evaluation of the weak areas of each student participating in the programme.

“Mathematics is one of the most crucial subjects for students sitting the GCE Ordinary Level, because a pass is mandatory to progress to the Advanced Level,” Commercial Bank’s Chief Manager Operations and CSR Coordinator Mrs PriyanthiPerera said. “Commercial Bank is already deeply involved in supporting school education through the donation of IT labs countrywide, and through its extensive support to online education via these IT labs. This programme builds on this platform and recognises the importance of raising the national pass rates in mathematics.”

Statistics indicate that although the national pass rate in GCE Ordinary Level mathematics has improved since 2002, it stood at around 51% in 2009. The highest pass rate of 60% was seen in the Western Province in that year, while the lowest pass rate of 42% was recorded in the Uva and North Central Provinces. The Eastern and Central Provinces showed relatively poor performances, with pass rates of 45% and 44% respectively.

The 10 schools participating in Commercial Bank’s pilot project with Optimized IT are MeewanapalanaMahaVidyalaya, Horana, Kathaluwa Central College, Kathaluwa, Ahangama, AnuraCollege, Matara , Sri ParakramaMahaVidyalaya, Aruggoda, DenagamaMahaVidyalaya, Hakmana, Beliatta, NagalakandaNavodyaMahaVidyalaya, Minneriya, Jaffna College, Jaffna, RambukaMahaVidyalaya, Kalawana, Thakshila Central College, Horana and St. Andrew’s College, Nawalapitiya.
Among the benefits from this programme to these schools will be the standardisation of testing, improved student preparation for the GCE O/L and A/L examinations, the opportunity to compare the results of their students with those in other schools, making the process of answering test papers more enjoyable for students, and a reduction in the use of paper to print or copy test papers.

Improving IT literacy levels among students on a national scale is one of the principal initiatives supported by Commercial Bank’s CSR Trust. The Bank has to date donated 170 fully equipped computer labs across the country as part of this initiative.

Earlier this year, Commercial Bank launched a new educational website called ‘Sipnena’ to facilitate the use of these IT labs for online education.

Other initiatives of the Bank’s CSR Trust in the sphere of education include presenting scholarships and laptops to undergraduates annually, providing English education to rural school children, and a project in partnership with Cisco Networking Academy to offer a comprehensive ‘IT Essentials’ course for teachers and students free of charge, via the Bank’s online Education programme.

Commercial Bank operates a network of 244 branches and 616 ATMs in Sri Lanka and is the country’s largest private bank. The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for five consecutive years and ranked the most valuable private sector brand in the country in 2014, the Bank was adjudged the Best Bank in Sri Lanka by FinanceAsia and Euromoney in 2015. Commercial Bank has also won multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s best bank from other international publications over several years. The Bank was adjudged one of Sri Lanka’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014, and has been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD for the past 11 years. The Bank has also been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past five years in the LMD rankings, and has been rated No. 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Photo caption:

Students at an IT lab donated by Commercial Bank receiving direction on how to answer a Mathematics paper online