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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has donated fully-equipped IT laboratories to 15 schools around Sri Lanka over the past six weeks stepping up the pace of its flagship social responsibility initiative to promote IT literacy on a national scale.
The Bank donated its 100th IT lab to the Mirihanegama Kanishta Vidyalaya in Wariyapola on 26th September 2013, and had taken the number of donated labs to 115 by the first week of November. In all, Commercial Bank has donated IT labs to 44 schools in the year to date.
Schools in the nine provinces of the country have been covered by this programme which has benefitted more than 100,000 students, and will serve the needs of thousands more in the years ahead, the Bank said.
All schools that receive computer laboratories from Commercial 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 44 IT labs donated by the Commercial Bank in 2013 fall within 77 community projects funded by the Bank during the year to date. These include donations of valuable medical equipment to eight healthcare institutions, eight other projects supporting initiatives linked with cultural heritage and assistance to disabled soldiers and 17 projects carried out by individual branches under a regional CSR budget. The most recent health equipment donation was to the Wathupitiwala Base Hospital to which the Bank donated two pulse Oxymeters, two ECG machines and other necessary equipment.
CSR activities in 2013 included the Bank’s single biggest commitment to date, to completely rebuild the Kilinochchi Railway Station along the northern railway line. The new station built by the Bank was ceremonially opened on 14th September by His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
All centrally-funded Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives come under the purview of the Commercial Bank CSR Trust, established in 2004. The Bank contributes a percentage of its post tax profits annually to the Trust, and 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.’
The Bank’s IT Education initiative is intended to enable younger generations and the country to face the future with confidence with world-class knowledge. This programme shares synergy with the Bank’s enduring vision of being the most technologically-advanced innovative and customer friendly financial services organisation in Sri Lanka.
Besides this initiative in the sphere of education, Commercial Bank grants scholarships and presents laptops to undergraduates annually, and has launched an English education programme for rural children. From 2013 onwards the Bank will present 50 undergraduate scholarships and 50 laptops each year. The total number of scholarships presented to date is 250. The English education programme has benefitted more than 400 students who participated in the first two programmes, and is to be continued on a district by district basis. Commercial Bank has also supported a British Council programme to train 160 teachers of English, as part of its commitment to support the development of English language skills.
All programmes selected for support by the Commercial Bank CSR Trust are sustained over a long period and are aligned with national priorities and the Bank’s own vision and mission. The Bank has, in addition to allocating funds, assigned staff resources and management representation to these projects to ensure they are well implemented and sustained.
This approach by the Bank was acknowledged by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce last year when it awarded Commercial Bank the Gold award in the ‘Education & Training’ category at the 2012 Best Corporate Citizen Awards for the Bank’s country-wide programme of donations of fully-equipped computer labs to schools and special needs groups and its annual scholarships for undergraduates.
The largest private bank in Sri Lanka, Commercial Bank is the only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the world’s top 1000 banks for three successive years. The Bank operates a network of 232 branches and service points in Sri Lanka and an ATM network of 576 terminals, the largest electronic cash dispensing facility operated in the country by a single bank. Adjudged ‘Best Bank in Sri Lanka’ for 15 consecutive years by ‘Global Finance’ Magazine Commercial Bank has also won multiple awards as the country’s best bank from ‘The Banker,’ ‘FinanceAsia,’ ‘Euromoney’ and ‘Trade Finance’ magazines.