Sri Lanka: Second language a must for public servants

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sun Jun 29 12:57:22 UTC 2008

Sunday, 29 June 2008
 Second language a must for public servants
by L. S. A. Wedaarachchi

wedaarachchi at

All new recruits of the public service must pass the second language
efficiency test within five years for job confirmation. Constitutional
Affairs and National Integration Minister Dew Gunasekera said that
under the bilingulisation of the public service policy adopted last
year, public servants must have a working knowledge of Sinhala and
Tamil. He said that the task of bilingulisation of the public service
is expected to be completed within five years. A modern
state-of-the-art Institute of Language Training will be set up shortly
in Agalawatta.

A series of language training programs including residential programs
for language trainers, translators and interpreters will be conducted
at the Language Training Institute, he said. He said that a crash
program to teach languages for public servants is being implemented.
This program comprises in-house training at the Bhasa Mandiraya at
Rajagiriya and special training sessions are being held at the
Departments, he said. He said that 5,000 Sinhala medium public
servants sat for the Tamil efficiency tests and 1,775 Tamil medium
government servants in the North and the Eastern provinces sat for
Sinhala efficiency tests in March last year.

Commissioner, Department of Official Languages, S. Gunasena said that
the results of the All-Island Language Proficiency Test (AILPT) held
last March will be released in the second week of next month. He said
that the 2008 AILPT test will be held in September this year and the
details will be published in the national newspapers within a few

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