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XAMPLE – revolutionizing the virtual educational landscape of Sri Lanka

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Novelwall Sri Lanka recently developed Xample – a virtual learning environment with powerful learning tools for children striving to achieve top grades at their GCE O/L and A/L examinations. Understanding that a well-rounded and thorough education is paramount to guiding the next generation to a better future, Novelwall launched Xample under the guidance of its founder, Thunku Ousmand.

Xample is an exciting initiative that aims to inculcate perseverance among students while nurturing a positive attitude towards challenges. This virtual learning environment provides students with an effective ‘Testing & Revision Tool,’ designed with many important features for students, parents and teachers on the journey towards achieving exam success. Xample further encourages students to challenge themselves, cultivating self-confidence and resilience, while simultaneously easing the burden of teachers and parents alike.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the surface the shortfalls of the existing education system in the country. Students were lacking engagement in their studies, as remote learning enhanced a disconnect between students and the classroom. In addition, the evaluation process for students with regard to their studies was hindered by the difficulties associated with monitoring in-class behaviour and activity. Students are unable to ask as many questions from teachers and are therefore unable to clarify their doubts, while teachers have lost their class control owing to the virtual environments and are unable to truly motivate students. These failings have been perceived by parents who have taken note of the lack of individual attention and detailed guidance required by students, especially those about to sit for the O/L and A/L examinations. This is, in part, due to the lack of understanding of examination and learning standards from the perspectives of teachers and students alike.

Xample, the brainchild of Thunku Ousmand was developed with these concerns in mind. As such, Xample consists of features that aim at improving and streamlining the online learning experience. Xample offers a testing and learning environment – unifying the process of studying, testing and revision, into one holistic seamless and enjoyable online experience that can bring students to the highest levels of proficiency for the GCE OL/AL examinations. Through its student-friendly online platform, and based on the four steps of learning (preparation, presentation, practice and performance), Xample allows any student to test his or her knowledge of the relevant subjects, with access to relevant past papers and model papers, and simultaneously learn from each mistake via the comprehensive study notes provided with every question. With access to over 25 years of exercises and questions from the best model papers in Sri Lanka, students are provided with a truly immersive experience of continuous testing and learning, as they work towards mastering their subjects. The platform recognizes areas in which students show significant errors and if a student selects subjects where they require improvement, the system will continue to revise the aforementioned areas by consistently testing the student on those areas until sufficient improvement is noticed.

Recognizing that practice makes perfect, this virtual learning environment encourages students to keep trying while familiarizing themselves with the protocol of real-time examinations. Following students’ attempts at each section, a complete analytical report is provided. With this advanced analytical reporting system, the platform can calculate how proficient the student is in every topic of any given subject so that the student, parent or teacher can see if the student has a grasp of the subject matter, and how well the student has performed in a testing environment. This advanced reporting system enables further insight into the likely possibilities of a student’s exam results based on their performance. As Xample can be accessed at any time, parents can track the activities of the student in real-time remotely without distracting the user. Furthermore, the absence of external ads and links in the platform ensures that students’ focus will not be diverted within the learning environment.

Speaking to Thunku Ousmand, the founder of Xample on the pioneering technology that has been introduced to the Sri Lankan educational landscape, “Without a shadow of a doubt, our younger generation, with the exposure to the world of education, has reached out beyond imagination on par with and quite often exceeding the skills of others across global landscapes. The progression of digital education in a global context has signified a gap between education in the developed world and under-developed countries. I believe that our nation too is ready to accept the inevitable transition towards the digitalisation of the education system and bridge this educational gap.”

“As one of the high-tech organisations in the UK which has the DNA of education and with prior partnerships with India to build digital platforms, we have a host of experience. Our Virtual Learning platform is not just a run-of-the-mill, multiple-choice platform for learning, but a dynamic environment that can gauge the level of a student’s competency in any subject. This is not an easy task to achieve. We encourage those that have the same vision to join us on our journey towards improving the overall education landscape in Sri Lanka, providing a way for future generations to be among the best in the world”, added Ousmand.

The educational landscape of Sri Lanka has far to go. Novelwall hopes that with the introduction of Xample, the overall standards of education might be uplifted. Students are the future. By providing them with the necessary steppingstones to unlocking their potential, they will likely grow from strength to strength, soaring beyond the boundaries of average education and exceeding expectations.



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Sri Lanka Tourism commands attention at World Routes 2021

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Sri Lanka made a huge splash at the 26th World Route Development Forum (World Routes 2021), which took place in Milan, Italy, recently. By making its presence felt at the forum, Sri Lanka pitched its destination for global airlines to consider it as one of the top holiday destinations for the upcoming winter season and beyond. Sri Lanka Tourism officials were able to directly engage with decision-makers from the global route development community, including world’s air services, while taking advantage of dedicated in-person and virtual event days combining extensive meeting opportunities, exclusive industry insight and first-class networking opportunities.

The Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, Ms. Kimarli Fernando, expertly leveraged on the platform provided by World Routes 2021 to highlight Sri Lanka’s 5-year global campaign and growth potential. Her keynote presentation was followed by a panel discussion and a Q&A session with attendees in collaboration with Major General (Rtd.), G.A Chandrasiri , Chairman, Airport and Aviation Services. Through the duration of the Forum, Sri Lanka Tourism was present on all social media platforms for driving brand awareness, pushing Destination Sri Lanka to the front and centre of global travel and tourism operators present.

With the Sri Lankan Government declaring this a growth decade, Sri Lanka Tourism has been aligned to the government’s vision as enshrined in the 10 pillar strategy document. Over the last two years, Sri Lanka Tourism has advanced the industry across various factors to bring prosperity to all stakeholders and to ensure Sri Lanka tourism fulfills its potential. Concurrently, with a high vaccination rate, Sri Lanka has opened up to fully vaccinated tourists, offering them a safe and exciting stay.

One of the key pillars has been connectivity and the efforts made have been fruitful – with several European and regional airlines resuming direct flights, new routes being established and increased frequency of flights to Sri Lanka which will boost tourism for the upcoming peak season.

Apart from elaborating on the strategy, Kimarli Fernando engaged in an absorbing Q&A session with global airline industry stakeholders. During her keynote speech she elaborated on Sri Lanka’s biodiversity, UNESCO sites and other cultural and nature offerings. One of the highlights of her speech was tourist investment. Tourism has been attracting substantial investment despite the challenges emanating from the pandemic. Between March 2020 – June 2021, the Government of Sri Lanka has attracted over US$950 million in investments, received 64 project proposals and approved 38 projects to the value of $102.38 Million. These ventures will be executed under the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). In order to attract strategic investors, the Investor Relations Unit was launched as a single point of contact for all tourism investments. In addition, the Government of Sri Lanka is extending a host of financial incentives and fast-track processes to get projects off the ground within the shortest possible time.

Given the recent tie-ups with France tourism operators and a similar push in more key western markets, the brand awareness of Sri Lanka is growing in strategic markets.

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ComBank wins Daraz award for ‘Best Engaging Overall Cards Base’

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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon was presented the award for ‘The Best Engaging Overall Cards Base’ at the recent ‘Payment Partner Performance Awards 2021’ of Daraz, South Asia’s premier online shopping marketplace.

The Bank was awarded this title for empowering the Daraz platform by generating the highest number of transactions by both credit and debit card bases and the highest number of unique buyers’ engagement during the financial year 2020-21. This is the second consecutive year that the Bank was honoured with this award.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been an Internet Payment (IPG) service provider to Daraz from 2018, and has since partnered with the online retailer to power ‘Daraz 11.11,’ the world’s biggest online sale.

The two organisations are working together to offer diversified and unique offers to customers with a view of offering them attractive value additions, the Bank said. Commercial Bank cardholders can enjoy periodic discounts at Daraz with the offers structured by the Bank, and the convenience of Easy Payment Plans of up to 60 months.

Launched in 2012, the Daraz eCommerce site has an active presence in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Nepal. The marketplace has over 2.5 million products in diverse categories such as consumer electronics, household goods, beauty, fashion, sports equipment, and groceries. It was acquired by the Alibaba Group in 2018.

Commercial Bank Credit and Debit Cards offer year-round promotions covering a wide variety of services. Commercial Bank was the first bank to offer loyalty rewards for both Credit and Debit Card holders under its Max Loyalty Rewards Points scheme. The Bank was also a pioneer in extending promotional discount offers which were traditionally only offered for Credit Cards to its Debit Cards.

Commercial Bank cards are the fastest growing cards in Sri Lanka and enjoy market leadership in Credit and Debit Card cumulative point-of-sale usage. The Bank offers a variety of Credit Cards in the Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers of Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay Cards, as well as Visa Signature, World Mastercard, Visa Infinite, UnionPay Asia Prestige Platinum and UnionPay Asia Prestige Diamond Cards in the premium segment. The cards are equipped with ‘Tap ’n Go’ NFC technology and are backed by a strong NFC Point-of-Sale (POS) network.

Sri Lanka’s first 100% carbon neutral bank, 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 11 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 931 automated machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s Banking sector. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.

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Banks’ Chief Internal Auditors’ Forum appoints new committee for 2021/22

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Seated from left - Varuna Koggalage (Committee Member), Numair Cassim (Vice President), Charitha Jayawickrama (President), Nirosha Perera (Secretary), Dulan Abeyratne (Committee Member) Standing from left - Dhanjaya Dayananda (Committee Member), Chandima Samarasinghe (Outgoing Secretary), John Premanath (Outgoing Vice President), Maduwantha Liyanage (Immediate Past President/Committee Member), Jayan Fernando (Committee Member). Absent from picture - Committee Members Kushlaini Allis and Gamini Jayaweera

The Chief Internal Auditors’ Forum of Banks appointed its 5th committee recently. The inaugural committee meeting was held on 17th November 2021 subsequent to the AGM held on 3rd November 2021. Charitha Jawawickrama of Sampath Bank was appointed as the President, Numair Cassim (Amana Bank) as Vice President and Nirosha Perera (Union Bank) as Secretary. Others in the committee include Varuna Koggalage (Seylan Bank), Dulan Abeyratne (HSBC), Dhanjaya Dayananda (SDB), Jayan Fernando (DFCC), Kushlaini Allis (NTB) and Gamini Jayaweera (NSB). The outgoing committee included Maduwantha Liyanage of BOC (Immediate Past President), John Premanath (Commercial Bank) and Chandima Samarasinghe (Cargills Bank).

The Forum was established to build strong relationships amongst the Licensed Commercial Banks and Licensed Specialized Banks in dealing with new developments and challenges pertinent to the industry. It also supports Internal Audit professionals to enhance comradeship and encourages participation of Banks to share knowledge and industry best practices. Since re-establishing in 2015, the forum has become an integral body that supports and assists Banks with regard to common audit related concerns in the industry.

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