Colombo 13th October, 2015: AIA Insurance is presenting Higher Education Scholarships for the 21st consecutive year and took a nostalgic journey to find out how the recipients are faring today as adults. The AIA Higher Education Scholarships have been benefitting the nation’s most promising children since 1994.
So far, five hundred Year 5 students have qualified to get the AIA Higher Education Scholarship when they enter Advanced Level and 325 students have already started receiving the bursary. Out of the 275 students who completed Advanced Level, 60% (166) entered university. 38% of them opted to do medicine, 32% engineering and 30% chose subjects as wide and varied as dental surgery, fisheries and marine sciences, quantity surveying, agricultural resource management and IT. Most of the scholarship students entered the University of Moratuwa or Peradeniya. A number of them obtained their degree from Rajarata, Ruhuna, Jaffna or Jayawardenepura. One officer cadet went to Kotalawela Defense Academy. “The AIA Scholarship helped me to buy the expensive medical text books” revealed Melani Chandrasekera who was in the 1995 batch to receive the benefit certificate from the Company as a bright-eyed 9 year old, having come first in the Polonnaruwa district in the Year 5 scholarship. She chose to do a medical degree at the University of Kelaniya. Now she is married to an engineer and works at the Matugama District Hospital. M C Zajneem from Batticaloa was from the first batch of 1994 and did Management and IT at the University of Kelaniya. He is now teaching IT at Macan Markar Vidyalaya in his home town and is married. “We have a baby girl and my wife who was a Data Manager stopped working to look after the baby” he revealed. Chamara Prasanna Sumanapala, the District Winner from Colombo also from the first batch of 1994 was admitted to the University of Colombo to major in Chemistry. Surprisingly today he is a news editor on a website. “Unlike when I was a youngster, today’s kids are sophisticated and internet savvy and will benefit even more now from AIA’s scholarship” he commented. Among the early scholarship winners contacted was Dr. Heshani Dissanayake who was invited to the AIA higher education awards presentation in 2012 to deliver the Keynote Address. She made a moving speech highlighting how the AIA scholarship inspired and encouraged her. She is currently on maternity leave, having delivered her second baby
Every student who comes first in the Year 5 government scholarship every year in each of the 25 districts in Sri Lanka receive a monthly bursary from AIA from Advanced Level class right up to the completion of their university degree. What is unique about the scholarship is that it is awarded on merit alone and without the need to be a policyholder. This year, the 15th presentation of the initial bursary to the batch of 2008 Year 5 scholarship winners will be held under the patronage of renowned dramatist and actor Dr. Jayalath Manorathna. Dr. Manorathna will deliver the keynote address to inspire the students. “Our Scholarship has enabled hundreds of students to complete their higher education comfortably and has contributed significantly to inspiring academic excellence, uplifting the nation” said Suren Perera, Head of Marketing at AIA Sri Lanka. He added, “AIA endeavours to contribute to nationally relevant corporate socially responsible initiatives and take pride in enriching the country’s education.”