In line with NDB’s strategic objectives as a responsible corporate citizen, the bank has made a conscious effort to advocate for sustainable development, significantly those that serve for the betterment of the country, including long term initiatives that empower future generations.
One such initiative in the field of education is the partnership between NDB and the British Council in secondary English language teaching. The initial project commenced in 2012, was planned for one year and aimed at improving the teaching skills of secondary English language teachers in the North Western province. This has now extended to a long term commitment spanning thirteen years to date.
The initial pilot programme consisted of training over 20 ‘master trainers’ to deliver a course to over 100 teachers in their respective zones. The impact evaluation of the pilot recommended a new focus on both language improvement and classroom practice. As a result, English for Teaching 1 was selected as an appropriate course. This ran from 2013 to 2018.
Towards the end of 2018, the course was amended once again on the recommendation of the British Council. The new programme, with the support of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Education, implemented the Supporting 21st Century Skills programme to train teachers in how to teach, give students practice in, and incorporate into their lessons, what are recognised as the six core skills essential for preparing young people to live and work in the globalised 21st century economy. These core skills included: critical thinking and problem solving; citizenship; collaboration and communication; digital literacy; creativity and imagination; and student leadership and personal development. The programme also incorporated British Council teacher training materials on the six core skills, which were adapted to suit a Sri Lankan secondary school context. They helped English teachers use communicative, reflective, and learner-centred teaching methods and made use of real lessons taken from the teachers’ textbooks to ensure training remained as relevant as possible. Additionally, with NDB Bank’s involvement in the project, the teachers were given training in how to cover a seventh important modern skill, financial literacy, with their students.
The Awards Ceremony for the ‘21st Century Skills’ Project was held on 30th May 2023 at the British Council. 10 Regional English Support Centre (RESC) trainers and 22 secondary English language teachers representing a total of 44 RESC trainers and 558 teachers who completed the project over the last few years received their certificates. The ceremony was attended by Mr Orlando Edwards, Country Director, British Council, Ms Melody Wickramanayake Vice President, Legal, and Chairperson - Corporate Sustainability Committee, NDB Bank, Ms Sharon De Silva Senior Manager - Corporate Sustainability, NDB Bank and Ms Nimali Baduraliya, Director, English and Foreign Languages Branch Ministry of Education. The ceremony marked the successful conclusion of the project.
Commenting on the project, Orlando Edwards, the Country Director of the British Council, stated that "Developing these skills in future generations is essential to building a strong society that is able to cope with the challenges to come. I am delighted to be able to celebrate the success of the 558 secondary English language teachers in the 1207 schools islandwide who have completed this course". He further added that "our 13-year partnership with NDB and our continuing partnership with the Ministry of Education have been essential for the success of this project; without their support, this teacher training project would not have been possible", and concluded that this project is a valuable example of what a public and private partnership can achieve".
Speaking on the programme targeting 600 secondary English language teachers, NDB VP Legal Ms Melody Wickramanayake mentioned, "As a responsible corporate citizen, NDB strives to make a meaningful contribution to society through activities that uplift and empower the future of our country." She further voiced that, in line with NDB’s commitments, "we have joined hands with the British Council to contribute towards enhancing the teaching skills of secondary English language teachers of government schools; thereby increasing the standard of English teaching in Sri Lanka." Concluding that at present, "English language has become an essential component in a child’s curriculum, and the foundation is set at an early age at school. Teachers are those who nurture this".
NDB Bank is the fourth largest listed commercial bank in Sri Lanka. The Bank emerged as the Most Awarded Corporate in Sri Lanka in 2022 for the second consecutive year as per the annual rankings of the Sri Lankan publication LMD. The Bank was also adjudged as the Best Bank in Sri Lanka 2022 by Global Finance USA and Euromoney in their annual best bank awards programmes. Additionally, the Bank was named one of the "Top 50 Best Workplaces in Sri Lanka 2022" by Great Place To Work, USA. NDB is the parent company of the NDB Group comprising NDB capital markets subsidiary companies, together forming a unique banking and capital market services group. The Bank is committed to empowering the nation and its people through meaningful financial and advisory services, powered by digital banking solutions.