`Learn and Lead’, a scholarship programme designed to provide quality education to bright under privileged children, from regions affected by poverty and the conflict, by educating them in leading private schools in the cities is to be launched soon.
The Business for Peace Alliance (BPA), Sri Lanka’s network of regional business chambers will implement this pioneering programme as a public service initiative in collaboration with other stakeholders.
A Steering Committee has been established to develop and guide the project. It comprises a group of eminent persons and representatives of leading organizations including The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, BPA and the Rotary Movement.
Former under Secretary, United Nations Jayantha Dhanapala chairs the Steering Committee with Mahen Dayananda, Chairman Ceylon Chamber of Commerce serving on the Board as vice chairman.
The programme will pave the way for students to follow Advanced Level studies in the participating schools in Colombo, Kandy and Galle.
A complete package of support services has been developed for the `Learn and Lead’ scholars, with a view to developing their leadership traits and ensuring a comfortable and carefree life for them.
The package of support services includes accommodation in the hostels of the participating schools, clothing, books, stationary, equipment, medical care and insurance, special coaching for extra curricular activities, leadership development programmes, psycho- social support and mentoring by Human Resource specialists in the private sector, guardians and home stays.
A `Teen Mentors’ programme, mobilizing teen leaders in the participating schools, is also to be developed to complement the programme.
As a pilot phase, scholars are being selected from the Districts of Anuradhapura, Badulla and Trincomalee. The programme has been publicized through BPA member chambers in the regions, schools in the regions and the media. Applications have been evaluated and short listed based on a merit system.
A special orientation programme for short listed candidates has been arranged. Each short listed candidate will be accompanied by both parents for this programme that is scheduled to take place in Colombo this weekend.
The programme includes written tests, face to face interviews by a panel comprising representatives of the Steering Committee and Heads of leading private schools, tour of participating schools, meetings with guardians and mentors and visits to places of interest in Colombo.
Scholars will also undergo complete medical check ups by a leading Consultant Physician.
BPA is optimistic that `Learn and Lead’ will facilitate the development of strong future leaders of Sri Lanka from the regions and contribute to bridging not only geographical divides but also barriers of race, religion, class and creed that are root causes for the conflict and poverty in Sri Lanka.