[lg policy] Sri Lanka: President wants total implementation

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 15 15:58:18 UTC 2011

National language policy:
President wants total implementation


Language policymakers and institutional leaders at state level are rapidly
taking measures to elevate the status of bilingualism at public
institutions, sequel to a call by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to ensure 100
percent implementation of the country’s national language policy.

President Rajapaksa had reportedly told officials involved in the
implementation of the national language policy, that all Sri Lankans should
be able to receive services from government departments and institutions in
the official language of their choice.

The President emphasized that both Tamil and Sinhala speaking public should
have equal status of language of work and respect within the public
service,and steps must be taken to position services in both official
languages, sources at National Language and Social Integration Ministry
told the Daily News yesterday.

President Rajapaksa said that neither Tamil-speaking Sri Lankans nor
Sinhala-speaking Tamils are to be discriminated against on language grounds
within the public service.

Sources said, they have expanded their language training programmes
throughout the island to train public servants in bilingualism. Our aim is
to get at least one qualified person who can speak in Tamil in every
hospital, government department, agrarian centre, pradeshiya sabha,
divisional secretariat and fisheries department throughout the island,” a
ministry official said.

President Rajapaksa had said that bilingual facilities should not be
restricted to Northern and Eastern Provinces and the services should be
available throughout the country, he said.Meanwhile, the ministry recently
started a dialogue with the Education ministry to increase the number of
periods they teach Tamil language in schools.

“We have also requested the Inspector General of Police, to get police
officers who can speak Tamil, to be deployed in areas where Tamil speaking
public are found in large numbers,” the official said.

Inspector General of Police K P M Illangakoon had responded positively, he

”We have started forming language associations at village levels. The
ministry will send personnel to teach English or Tamil languages to these
associations at their request. For this they must register with the
ministry first,” he said.

”The ministry has about 750 teachers, of them 600 are Sinhalese who can
teach Tamil and 150 are Tamil teachers who can teach Sinhala. Moves are
under way to train more language teachers to promote bilingual education,”
he added.


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