British Council supports Sri Lanka’s reconciliation and integration process by working to reduce language barriers | Daily News

British Council supports Sri Lanka’s reconciliation and integration process by working to reduce language barriers

The British Council is working in collaboration with the Ministry of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious Affairs. In partnership with the National Institute for Language Education and Training (NILET), the British Council has initiated a Tamil language course for public officials with the aim of reducing language barriers in bilingual divisions.

The course is part of “Strengthening the Reconciliation Processes in Sri Lanka” (SRP), a four-year program launched in March 2018, which contributes to strengthening the country’s reconciliation processes by supporting government, non-government and grassroots initiatives through seven components.

SRP is jointly funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Foreign Office. It is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the British Council in partnership with the Ministry of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious Affairs.

In June 2019, the British Council would build the capacity of a core group of NILET trainers in communicative, task-based methodology for the teaching of Tamil as a second language to public officials. During the four-week intensive training course, the NILET trainers will learn to use a content and language integrated approach.

This includes not only the teaching of grammar, vocabulary, speaking and listening in a motivating and participatory way, but also addressing social inclusion through real contexts in the public service – health, education, social services, employment and the role of the Police.

The NILET trainers would practice the new methodology by delivering a specially developed Tamil language course to Sinhala mother tongue field officers from two bi-lingual divisions in the Kandy area.

Field officers have been selected using a new Tamil Language Placement Test which objectively measures their second language skills and places them on the course not on the basis of their status or position, but in relation to their current ability and needs.

By the end of the project, 150 NILET trainers of Tamil and Sinhala would have enabled more than 600 public servants in bilingual divisions around Sri Lanka to interact in a meaningful way and deliver key services in citizens’ language of choice.

Louise Cowcher, Director, Education and English, British Council, said: “Language plays an integral role in the post-conflict reconciliation process. Reducing language barriers through developing public officers’ skills in using the official languages when interacting with the public is an invaluable step in the integration process.”

The British Council is the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, with a presence in Sri Lanka of 70 years.


 

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