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National Language policy to boost ethnic harmony

Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara expressed optimism that the Government's 10-year National Action Plan for a trilingual Sri Lanka could be successfully implemented with many long-term plans that have already been formulated.

The implementation of the 10-year action plan is a turning point in the history of Sri Lanka because it is aimed at ending the decades-long ethnic tensions and creating brotherhood and national harmony.

As the Minister of national languages he will do everything necessary to implement the Government's language policy which hitherto did not see the light of the day because there has been no political will, implementation mechanism and enforcement procedure.

Ninety percent of the policy has not been implemented. Under the Government's Trilingual Sri Lanka policy, Sinhala and Tamil will be given their place of sanctity while English, the link language will be developed as a language of life skills, the Minister said.

Sinhala and Tamil will be developed as national languages with arrangements for mutual learning and understanding.

The Ministries of Education, Public Administration, the other relevant Ministries and the public administration officials will be required to ensure the successful implementation of the policy, he said.

The Government's aim is to develop a deep understanding of the two languages among its ethnic communities and to develop glossaries on subjects such as science, philosophy and economics so as to increase their language capacity which in turn, will help them to get into complex understanding of the subjects.

"Presidential Consultant Prof. Sunimal Fernando formulated the policy framework after conducting a detailed survey and study," the Minister said.

The parity of status of the two languages as provided for under the constitution will be implemented in the fields of administration and governance.

While the elimination of the LTTE marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the country, the implementation of the Trilingual Sri Lanka Policy marks an important turning point. But his Ministry faces challenges in the implementation of the policy, mainly the resources, he said. The Attorney General has been consulted on legal action for non-compliance of the constitutional provisions on the language policy.

"If Ministries are not implementing it, the Ministry Secretaries have to be prosecuted.

Since this cannot be done, he will seek the President's intervention to get over such stumbling blocks," Minister Nanayakkara said.

The policy will be implemented mainly at the Divisional Secretary level.

His Ministry already has 145 cadres and 195 more are needed for the implementation of the National Action Plan, he said. Recruitment through the Public Service Commission is a lengthy procedure and, therefore, shorter and quicker ways have to be found, he said.

Local Government bodies will also be the main implementing agencies of the policy.

Around 5,000 Language Committees are to be formed throughout the country before the end of this year.

One thousand committees have already been set up and they are to be registered.

This committees will comprise intellectuals, teachers and other educated people.

They will promote language skills on a local level using new technology, including video discs and tapes.

They will also promote cultural and religious interaction, the Minister said.

India is our neighbour and we will seek their assistance to make the Trilingual Sri Lanka policy a success, the Minister said.

Courtesy: SundayObserver

Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 08:19:07 LKT by

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