" Communication difficulty is the strongest barrier to perceiving the differences, anomalies, attitude... "
Jayampathi Bandara Heenkenda
Jayampathi Bandara Heenkenda
As a multi-ethnic and a multi-cultural nation, the greatest challenge we face is to make the aim of unity through diversity a reality. The most eligible tool for that is improving inter-ethnic communication capabilities. It is in line with the said ideology that in modern approach to education, the second language education gains more ground. But it is a tragedy to see the child who enters the society as an adult after leaving school treats culturally different people with great disbelief and without any single glimpse of empathy. This has become a pervasive problem in the Sri Lankan society and the most sustainable solution for that is carrying out second language education. As the Chairman of the National Institute of Language Education and Training, I am pleased to be able to shoulder the national mission of healing the broken hearts of Sri Lankans through the language and it is my intention to promote this mission through new approaches.
Being the present Chairman of the National Institute of Language Education and Training which was established by Act No. 26 of 2007 with the purpose of implementing the Official Language Policy by means of promoting inter-ethnic reconciliation in order to create a better mechanism in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, my main intention is to make the institution a Government branded leading institution in the country which develops bilingual / trilingual skills of the staffs of government institutions. There, I have already taken steps in upgrading language education to match with the present smart world by facing the challenge of identifying new dimensions of language education and integrating with the sustainable development goals. Accordingly, there is a number of new language programmes such as ‘Trilingual Empowerment Programme for Buddhist Monks’, ‘Trilingual Course for Representatives of the Local Government’, ‘Foreign Language Course for Tour Guides and Foreign Employees’ and ‘Trilingual Empowerment Programme for Journalists’ are to be introduced in collaboration with the relevant ministries.
There are over 600,000 public servants, who have obtained second language training under this institute and we possess a pool of over 4,000 second language trainers for this purpose. As per the newest PA circular No 18/2020 effective for public servants by expanding further this mission, our highest expectation is to offer you second language training programs with quality for improving bilingual and trilingual skills of government servants which required for providing efficient service to the public and this will inevitably lead to reconciliation of the country.
PRASATH R HERATH
PRASATH R HERATH
Communication difficulty is the strongest barrier to perceiving the differences, anomalies, attitudes and evaluations that exist among separated human groups. Throughout recent history, the National Institute of Language Education and Training has been the pioneer in Sri Lankan society, which suffers in deprivation of second language knowledge, by showing that second language learning is to build reconciliation and to create a society that respects other cultures.
The National Institute of Language Education and Training has been established as a statutory institution by Act No. 26 of 2007 with the purpose of maintaining a more formal regulation and planning for the provision of second language education in Sri Lanka with intension of creating a harmonious society. It is gratifying to note that in a short span of 12 years, our institution has made a tremendous transformation in the field of second language education in this country.
As the Director General of this institution, from its inception to the present, I have been experimenting with new second language teaching methods with an aesthetic approach and have been able to conduct second language courses through this methodology and thereby it is a great achievement for me to be able to popularize second language learning throughout the island.
When the process of teaching second languages was turning into monotonous, and traditional, as the Director General of the National Institute of Language Education and Training, I was able to take language education to a new dimension, and by that I was able to provide second language training for over one million government officials, school children and general community throughout Sri Lanka.
As the Director General, I was fortunate enough to create a pool of second d language trainers which consists of over 4000 trainers under my guidance and to conduct residential trainings for many professionals and as well as to uplift NILET as the main government institution in providing second language teacher training.
Although national reconciliation has been implemented as a remedy for the conditions created by war, it should be a national task without being only limited to the war areas of the North and East, or to the two Sinhala and Tamil ethnic groups, but by targeting all ethnic and geographical areas in Sri Lanka as a whole. This challenge can only be overcome by providing second language education and knowledge to all parties without any discrimination.
The National Institute of Language Education and Training has already launched a number of programs to address above challenge, the foremost of which is to provide quality and practical second language training to public officers under PA Circular 18/2020. In addition to that, providing high quality trainings in Sinhala, Tamil and English language teaching, conducting researches and studies on language training, setting up a repository of information on languages, creating talented translators and interpreters are some of the other missions that are successfully operating under this organization.
We have now realized that the mission of healing hearts of Sri Lankans, which are divided by language differences and cultural identities, can be completed through language learning. It is my hope that by further expanding of this national mission in new dimensions, we will make our institution the leading second language education institution in the country by developing the bilingual and trilingual skills of the staff of public institutions to provide an efficient service to the community. I am confident that through this we will be able to make the concept of ‘Reconciled Sri Lankan Society’ into a reality.