The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has announced that Coding Clubs have been set up in 50 schools under a project supported by the Bank to set up 100 such clubs to advance computer programming knowledge among school children.
The Coding Clubs project was embarked upon last July by the STEMup Educational Foundation in partnership with the Commercial Bank and IRIM Croatian Makers, Micro:bit Educational Foundation, and Rotary Club Zagreb Centre to name a few. The STEMup Foundation’s mission is to inspire students to pursue Scientific, Technological, Engineering, and Mathematical (STEM) degrees and careers.
The ‘100 Schools, 100 Sessions’ project’s primary objective is to teach computer programming to school children and to encourage them to demonstrate their skills by developing innovative and useful applications. It involves assigning trainers to selected rural government schools, training of trainers and volunteers, handing over of ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) kits and other resources to trainers and schools, team creation in schools for ideation to develop real-world applications through coding, and the conducting of hackathons.
The IoT kit included a BBC micro:bit – a pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, which allows students to express themselves digitally. It also connects to other devices, sensors, kits and objects, and is a companion to Arduino, Galileo, Kano, littleBits and Raspberry Pi, acting as a springboard to more complex learning.
The project’s target is to set up coding clubs in 100 schools before the completion of 2020. The 50 schools at which Coding Clubs have already been set up are located in Agalawatta, Alawwa, Anamaduwa, Athurugiriya, Battaramulla, Bomiriya, Bopitiya, Boralugoda, Ebilladeniya, Embilipitiya, Galle, Giriulla, Hanwella, Homagama, Ihalagoda, Kandy, Kattimahana, Katugastota, Kolonna, Kosgama, Labbala, Mahena, Matugama, Morapitiya, Nawagaththegama, Nuwara Eliya, Padukka, Panadura, Polgahawela, Ratnapura, Waga, Warawewa and Yapahuwa.
The STEMUp Foundation is a non-governmental organisation consisting of young volunteers from professional organisations and universities with a mission to increase computer programming capabilities and empower every child in Sri Lanka.
Under its education-related Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, which place emphasis on IT literacy, the Commercial Bank of Ceylon has donated 187 IT Labs to schools and other institutions and is a partner in the government – private sector ‘Smart Schools’ project currently encompassing 65 schools in the Western Province. The Bank has made substantial investments to develop the curriculum for all age groups for this programme and has also developed an online learning portal called Sipnena to benefit students.
Commercial Bank is also funding a 150-hour IT hardware course conducted in collaboration with SLT Campus (Pvt) Ltd. and Cisco Networking Academy as a pilot project in selected schools and has partnered with Cisco Networking Academy to offer an ‘IT Essentials’ course for teachers and students free of charge. Additionally, the Bank has supported the ‘IT Essentials-Instructor’ certificate course for teachers at the Cisco Networking Centre at the University of Moratuwa under this programme.
The first Sri Lankan Bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for nine years consecutively, Commercial Bank is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The Bank, which won more than 50 international and local awards in 2019, operates a network of 268 branches and 873 ATMs in Sri Lanka.
Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Representative Office in Yangon and a Microfinance company in Nay PyiTaw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.