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

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed Mar 21 22:27:12 UTC 2007


The problem with this official policy (dating from 1978) is that it has
never been adequately *implemented*, so there is a tremendous lack of people
who can use Tamil in the administration (e.g. typists, record keepers, etc.)
which renders the policy moot.

Hal S.

On 3/21/07, Don Osborn <dzo at bisharat.net> wrote:
>
> 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
> http://www.panl10n.net/english/index.htm . This was part of the PAN
> Localization Project (which involves several countries in south and
> southeast Asia).
>
> Don Osborn
> Bisharat.net
> PanAfrican Localisation project
>
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: owner-lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu [mailto:owner-lgpolicy-
> > list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu] 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.
> >
> > http://www.dailynews.lk/2007/03/19/news41.asp
> >
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