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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has reaffirmed its commitment to support the education of young Sri Lankans by conferring scholarships on 50 more undergraduates, and substantially increasing the value of these scholarships.
Recipients of scholarships from 2016 onwards under the Bank’s ‘Sarasaviyata Nawa Saviyak’ programme will receive Rs 50,000 a year -- an increase of Rs. 20,000 -- for the duration of their degree, as well as a laptop each from Sri Lanka’s leading private bank.
Undergraduates from seven universities received their scholarships this year at a ceremony at the Bank’s Union Place branch.
With this year’s presentation, the number undergraduate scholarships granted by Commercial Bank increases to 350. Of the 50 recipients for 2016, 31 are studying for the four-year Management degree, while 19 are following the five-year degree in Medicine.
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.
Speaking at this year’s presentation ceremony, Commercial Bank Chairman Mr Dharma Dheerasinghe said Sri Lanka’s undergraduates must consider themselves fortunate to be among the 6.6% of the country’s population that has qualified to receive a degree from a state university, and urged the scholarship recipients to dedicate themselves to contributing to the growth of the national economy. The Commercial Bank, Mr Dheerasinghe said, was committed to support them in their higher education as part of its obligation to the community as a responsible corporate citizen.
One of the highlights of the presentation ceremony was an address by Mr Sameera Jayawardena, who was among the first batch of recipients of Commercial Bank’s scholarships for undergraduates in 2006, and is now Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Finance.
Commercial Bank’s scholarships programme for undergraduates is one of several corporate social responsibility initiatives of the Bank in the sphere of Education. The Bank has donated fully-equipped IT laboratories to 170 schools across the country to date, benefitting more than 170,000 students. Other initiatives of the Bank’s CSR Trust in the sphere of education include providing English education to rural school children, 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, an educational website called ‘Sipnena’ to support online education in schools, and a pilot project to use online test papers to sharpen the mathematics skills of students preparing for their GCE Ordinary Level examinations.
The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for six years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 251 branches and 635 ATMs in Sri Lanka. The Bank has won multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s Best Bank, Best Trade Bank, Strongest Bank, Most Respected Bank from a number of local and international institutions and publications over several years and has also been adjudged one of Sri Lanka’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce for several years.
Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 18 outlets and Myanmar, where it has a Representative Office in Yangon. The Bank will open a fully-fledged Tier I Bank in the Republic of Maldives in 2016. The Bank also recently received a license to operate a fully owned Money Transfer Operation in Italy.
The 50 undergraduates that received scholarships and laptops this year with Directors of the Commercial Bank.