Triple E award for the best University - Community project of the Asia Pacific region 2020
Career Guidance Unit of Faculty of Science was placed 2nd for the program “Service Learning as a community engagement initiative to assist underprivileged schools” under the category of Community Engagement Initiative of the Year at the 2020 Asia-Pacific Triple E Awards.
The project was shortlisted as one of the top 5 entries along with the applications of top universities around the world namely Charles Sturt University and Southern Cross University (Australia), Oxygen University (Turkey), and University of Nicosia (Cyprus).
Service Learning was introduced into the curriculum by the Career Guidance Unit (CGU) in 2012. The course allowed for a novel working experience by providing third year science undergraduates with an opportunity to exercise their scientific knowledge and skills to contribute to community projects. The financial support for the project is provided by corporate sector partners.
The awarding ceremony was held at Kochi, Kerala India on 10th January 2020.
UNESCO Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation, 2019
“Education is neither eastern nor western. Education is education, it is the right of everyone.” – Malala Yousef.
A quality school education is central to building a scientifically literate population, but millions of children are already missing out education due to poverty, discrimination, lack of quality of the education and facilities.
Recognizing the importance of quality education as the main infrastructure to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a project was initiated by the Career Guidance Unit, Faculty of Science (CGU/FOS) to help remote and underprivileged schools to improve and uplift academic activities as means of promoting University and School partnerships in advancing the education.
It was titled as “Service Learning as an innovative educational initiative to help underprivileged schools" under the academic program – Service Learning offered as an enhancement course (EC) for level 3 undergraduates. This Service Learning program won the prestigious UNESCO Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation, 2019.
Wenhui award, established by the National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO, aims to recognize the contributions of educators and institutions which have optimized the potential of education and the human innovative spirit to address and resolve pressing issues and problems facing our world today.
The theme of the Wenhui Award 2019, was promoting University and School Partnerships in Advancing the Education 2030 Agenda, aimed at recognizing successful university-school partnerships that have contributed to quality education and lifelong learning in preparing children and youth for life, work, and citizenship. This clearly reflected the need for education to flow seamlessly from early childhood education to tertiary education and beyond which indeed reflected from the Service Learning project by CGU/FOS.
The submission for this award was planned, written and presented by Prof Deepthi Wickramasinghe who was the coordinator of Service Learning projects since its inception in 2012 to current time.
Out of the seven applications that were shortlisted for the Wenhui Award, CGU/FOS become one of the two winners of the award. A cash prize of USD 20,000 was awarded and it was received by Prof. K.R.R. Mahanama (Dean, Faculty of Science in 2019) at the final awarding ceremony held in Jinan, China in December 2019.
The Service Learning program was initiated by Cadre Chair & Senior Professor Preethi Udagama, Professor Manjula Withanapathirana and Mr. Chandana Wijenama in 2012. The program is managed solely by the volunteer academic staff members of Faculty of Science.
The component of Service learning program aimed strengthening school educational programs on Information Technology (IT), Science and Mathematics. Alongside, it offers vocational training and other life skills for students to enhance their employability. Since 2012, the Service Learning program has helped more than 16,000 school children island wide and each year number of students follow the Service Learning course.