Sri Lanka: public servants encouraged to learn two main national languages

Don Osborn dzo at
Wed Mar 21 13:31:41 UTC 2007

This is tangential to the article, but at a conference on ICT localization
in Asia in January, one of the many things I learned was that Sri Lanka has
an explicit policy of presenting official information in Sinhala, Tamil, and
English. Localization research there focuses on both Sinhala and Tamil.

The conference in question, of which the first part dealt with "Local
Language Computing Policy in Developing Asia." See . This was part of the PAN
Localization Project (which involves several countries in south and
southeast Asia).

Don Osborn
PanAfrican Localisation project

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-lgpolicy-list at [mailto:owner-lgpolicy-
> list at] On Behalf Of Harold F. Schiffman
> Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 9:01 AM
> To: Language Policy-List
> Subject: Sri Lanka: public servants encouraged to learn two main
> national languages
>  Sinhala, Tamil knowledge to public servants
> Shirley Wijesinghe
> COLOMBO: Public servants will be given the opportunity to learn the two
> main national languages by the Public Administration and Home Affairs
> Ministry and funds will be allocated if required, Ministry sources
> said.
> The sources said Minister Karu Jayasuriya has taken a decision to
> encourage Sinhala public servants to learn Tamil and the Tamil public
> servants to learn Sinhala.
> The Ministry has decided to move with the project to encourage public
> servants to learn the two main languages based on a report prepared
> after
> extensive study by the Foundation for Existence (FFE) presented its
> report
> to Jayasuriya recently, Ministry sources added. The Survey on the
> Official
> Language Policy was formulated by the committee comprising Bradman
> Weerakoon, Prof. S. Sandrasekeran and S. Balakrishnan. They revealed
> survey that language was not only a way of communication but also a
> power
> source of giving knowledge.
> It also revealed that most Tamils were reluctant to be employed in the
> administration field in the public sector due to their poor proficiency
> in
> Sinhala.
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