Government launches English Language Skills initiative
COLOMBO: The Government will launch a major initiative this week on
the teaching of English in the country aimed at improving the skills of
English teachers both in the private and public sectors, training in
English for Business Outsourcing, the use of new methods of English
language teaching through the electronic media, and opening access to a
large numbers of persons in the low income categories to obtain a
working knowledge of English.
This job-oriented English Language Programme titled 'English as a
Life Skill' is an initiative by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which in
the short-term seeks to produce at least 50,000 persons with
communicative skills in English to serve in any capacity, especially in
the services sector such as IT related Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
This fast-track development of skills in English in expected to
attract more investment to Sri Lanka in areas where human resources with
adequate Communicative English Language skills are at present largely
A key exercise in this programme is the 'English Teaching Business
Mela' a Business Exchange being organised in Colombo from April 23 to 25
by the Board of Investment (BOI) of the Ministry of Enterprise
Development and Investment Promotion in collaboration with the
Presidential Secretariat at Hotel Galadari, Colombo.
This will bring together Indian and Sri Lankan investors who will
explore the possibility of joint ventures in English Language Teaching
in Sri Lanka. Investment in these ventures will attract a range of BOI
concessions making them attractive investments.
The programme which targets youth above 18 years for intensive
English language skills improvement will provide financial assistance to
50,000 persons between ages 18 and 24 over three years to acquire Job
Oriented Communicative English Skills through a special loan scheme
subscribed by both the Government and Private Sector.
On the overall improvement of English Language teaching in Sri Lanka,
both for specialist and general communication, the programme will
initially select suitable candidates for 30 scholarships, offered by the
Government of India, for a three months training course for Master
Trainers in English Teaching at the reputed English and Foreign Language
University (EFLU) in Hyderabad, India.
Advertisements have already been placed in the media calling for
applicants for these scholarships.
The Presidential Secretariat and the Board of Investment look forward
to the fullest cooperation to this initiative by the public and private
sectors, which will have tax concessions and infrastructure facilities
for those investing in good and result-oriented training in English;
establish a Centre for English Language Teaching (CELT) in Sri Lanka by
the EFLU of Hyderabad, India, and will conduct examinations for
certification of English Language skills of teachers, and help develop
Distance Learning Programmes through the Sri Lankan electronic media.
Recent surveys by the Presidential Secretariat show that Sri Lanka
has nearly 21,000 largely-untrained persons teaching English in the
government primary and secondary schools, and as many as 1,690 private
tutoring institutes spread throughout the country teaching English with
teachers untrained in English Language teaching skills.
They cater to the huge demand for learning the English Language for
different needs of skills and communication.
The result is that only a very small number of persons qualify for
jobs in the service sector that require knowledge of English, which is
adversely affecting investment in the country and the opportunities for
advancement of youth.
The 'English as a Life Skill' programme is organized jointly by the
Presidential Secretariat and the Board of Investment, with the
assistance of the High Commission for India in Sri Lanka.