The Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently provided financial assistance to the Sasnaka Sansada Foundation to conduct a ‘Training of Teachers’ (ToT) programme that was launched at the request of the Ministry of Education to address a shortage of teachers for the Mathematics subject.
The three-day residential workshop funded by the Bank benefitted 50 first and second year undergraduates of universities and other higher educational institutes, and students pending university admission, all of who are also volunteer members of the Foundation, committed to help students in underserved areas to perform better in mathematics.
The volunteers will operate under the ‘Ganitha Saviya’ project which was initiated by the Sasnaka Sansada Foundation with the primary objective of improving students’ performance in mathematics at the G.C.E. (Ordinary Level) Examinations. The project is supported by the CSR Trust of the Commercial Bank.
The ToT programme took place at the Construction Equipment Training Center (CETRAC) in Pelawatte, Battaramulla, and provided volunteers with an understanding of Essential Learning Concepts (ELC) of mathematics and trained them on effective delivery methods. Team building activities and motivation training was also delivered by an experienced resource person.
All trainers who coached at the programme were senior teachers and education specialists from the Department of Mathematics at the Ministry of Education.
Notably, the Sasnaka Sansada Foundation trained 40 university undergraduates as resource persons in 2018 supporting the education of about 600 students in 25 schools. Recently, the Ministry of Education identified approximately 600 schools without competent mathematics teachers, underlining the relevance of the ‘Ganitha Saviya’ programme.
The CSR Trust of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon has contributed in various ways to improve mathematics education in the country, especially in rural schools. The Bank launched the Math Lab concept in 2015 to stimulate and develop the mathematical and analytical skills of school children in Sri Lanka. Inspired by the results achieved by the ‘Math Lab’ concept pioneered at the Miyenakandura government school, Passara, by former teacher and innovative learning materials designer Mr Hengodage Dharmasiri, the Commercial Bank initiative has so far benefitted approximately 7,000 students across the country.
Math Camps too are conducted with the support of the Bank in the manner of a residential sports festival spanning three days, requiring students to work in teams as well as to think individually, resulting in the development of their mathematical as well as their team skills. The aim of this is to create an affinity for the subject among students and to dispel the belief that math is a difficult subject. Currently, the Bank has conducted 20 such Math Camps that have benefitted 1000 students around the country.
The CSR Trust of the Commercial Bank has also donated 175 IT Labs to needy schools across Sri Lanka under its flagship IT education initiative and is a partner in the government – private sector ‘Smart Schools’ project, currently encompassing 65 schools in the Western Province. Commercial Bank has also made substantial investments to develop the curriculum for all age groups for this programme and has developed an online learning portal called ‘Sipnena’ to benefit students.
The only Sri Lankan Bank to be ranked among the world’s top 1000 banks for eight years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 266 branches and 830 ATMs in Sri Lanka. The Bank has won multiple international and local awards in 2016 and 2017 and over 40 international and local awards in 2018.