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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon awarded scholarships to 50 more undergraduates from seven universities, under the Bank’s CSR Trust’s ‘Sarasaviyata Nawa Saviyak’ community initiative, and has increased the value of each scholarship by 20%.
Undergraduates from 16 districts, who will each receive Rs 30,000 a year for the four or five years they spend at university, were also presented with a laptop computer each by the Bank, at a ceremony graced by Higher Education Minister Hon. S. B. Dissanayake.
Commercial Bank’s sixth scholarships presentation under this programme was held on 20th March, bringing the total number of scholarships presented to date to 250. The Chairperson of University Grants Commission Prof. (Mrs.) Kshanika Hirimburegama, the Chairman and Board of Directors of Commercial Bank along with the Corporate Management of the Bank also graced the occasion.
Of this latest batch of scholarship recipients, 39 were female. Twenty two of the 50 undergraduates are studying medicine, nine management and three Accountancy & Finance, while two each are in Marketing Management and Business Information Systems and the others in many diverse spheres of study.
Speaking the presentation ceremony at the Commercial Bank auditorium, Minister S. B. Dissanayake said: “Commercial Bank’s scholarship programme fulfils an important social obligation and shows the way to other corporate entities. This service of the Bank to the community is extremely important and has earned the respect of the government.”
The Minister said the 20,000 or so students who gain university admission each year represent the cream of the Sri Lanka’s future work force, and it is the duty of the government and nation-minded organisations to provide these students with the opportunities to maximise their potential to play a key role in the growth of the country.
Commercial Bank Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody who delivered the welcome address stressed the importance of skills development and mastering new skills to the government’s programme to make Sri Lanka a US$ 100 billion economy by 2016. “Sri Lanka is our country, and the Commercial Bank is committed to meeting the challenges of taking the country forward by contributing to the improvement of the knowledge and skills of our future generations,” he said.
Elaborating on the Bank’s commitment to the education sector, the Chairman of the Commercial Bank CSR Trust Mr. Lakshman Hulugalle said motivating bright young Sri Lankans to pursue their academic aspirations is in perfect synchrony with the Bank’s brand promise of ‘A Better Future.’ “We believe that education is a critical element in achieving a better future” he said.
Recipients of Commercial Bank’s undergraduate scholarships are chosen with the assistance of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Being ineligible for Mahapola or any other scholarship programme, the number of attempts made at the GCE A/L examination, the number of school-going children in the family, parental income and the distance between the university and the student’s home are some of the factors that are taken into consideration in identifying recipients.
This year’s beneficiaries were from the districts of Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Badulla, Anuradhapura, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Hambantota, Kandy, Kegalle, Kuruneglala, Matara, Nuwara Eliya, Puttalam, Monaragala and Ratnapura.
Manori Nayana Kanthi, a student from Kadugannawa, said the scholarship she received would significantly lessen the burden on her brother, who currently supports her to follow a degree course in Management at the Rajarata University. “I am now even more motivated, and hope to follow a course in Human Resources Management as well,” she said.
Nishanthi Balasingham, an undergraduate in Management at the University of Jaffna said the Commercial Bank scholarship and the laptop would have a life-changing impact on her studies. “The money will help meet the costs of boarding and food, and I have never had a computer of my own,” she said. “I am now much better equipped to pursue my degree.”
Besides its undergraduate scholarships programme, the Commercial Bank also has a reward scheme for deserving younger students. All holders of the Bank’s Arunalu minors’ accounts who excel at the year 5 scholarship examinations every year are rewarded with valuable cash prizes.
Under its flagship CSR initiative in the sphere of Education, the Bank also has to date donated fully-equipped IT labs to 78 schools and educational institutions, benefitting more than 42,000 students. All schools that receive computer laboratories from the Bank are provided brand new computers with licensed software. The schools are also provided accessories such as computer tables, printers and chairs. The Bank provides assistance to maintain and upgrade these computer labs when necessary to ensure that the facilities benefit many batches of students.
The largest private bank in Sri Lanka, Commercial Bank is the only Sri Lankan Bank to be listed two years consecutively in the world’s Top 1000 Banks. The Bank operates a network of 229 service points in Sri Lanka and a network of 560 ATMs. The Bank has been adjudged ‘Best Bank in Sri Lanka’ for 14 consecutive years by ‘Global Finance’ Magazine, and has won multiple awards as the country’s best bank from ‘The Banker,’ ‘FinanceAsia,’ ‘Euromoney’ and ‘Trade Finance’ magazines.
The 50 recipients of scholarships with Hon Minister S B Dissanayake, Commercial Bank Chairman Mr. Dinesh Weerakkody, Chairperson of the UGC Prof. (Mrs.) Kshanika Hirimburegama and the Board of Directors of Commercial Bank