Agalawatte, 16 June 2016 – A new language laboratory was ceremonially opened by the Hon. Minister of National Co-Existence, Dialogue and Official Languages, Hon. Mano Ganesan together with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the National Institute of Language Education and Training (NILET) in Agalawatte yesterday.
The opening of this second laboratory is part of an effort to bridge the existing language gap and support the implementation of the official languages policy which will allow citizens to receive services from any public institution in the language of one’s choice. This can also promote wider dialogue in Sri Lanka, enhance the quality of public service delivery to all citizens, and build social cohesion by bringing together previously marginalized and excluded groups.
Having recognized the importance of supporting the Ministry of National Co-Existence, Dialogue and Official Languages in implementing the language policy of Sri Lanka, UNDP partnered with the Ministry to establish a language laboratory at the Department of Official Languages in Rajagiriya – which was declared open in March 2016 - and now, in Agalawatte. These efforts come under UNDP’s ‘Strengthening Enforcement of Law, Access to Justice and Social Integration (SELAJSI)’ Programme.
With an investment of an estimated LKR 10 million each, the new labs have been equipped with state-of-the art language teaching equipment and technology, which will facilitate more student-centered and interactive teaching using some of the latest techniques and technology available for language learning.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of National Co-Existence, Dialogue and Official Languages, Hon. Mano Ganesan thanked UNDP for its support and stated “Multiculturalism and pluralism is not a weakness but a strength to our country. My goal is to establish 16 language laboratories across Sri Lanka. On a journey to realize this and achieve national co-existence, I thank the UNDP for their assistance”
Also addressing the gathering, Resident Representative a.i.. of UNDP Sri Lanka, Ms, Lovita Ramguttee stated “UNDP is encouraged by the continued emphasis placed by the Government of Sri Lanka on the implementation of the Official Languages Policy. We strongly believe this support contributes towards further strengthening the institutional capacity of the Department of Official Languages enabling it to almost double its intake of current students thus supporting Sri Lanka in working towards Sustainable Development Goal 16 which focuses upon promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
Other speakers including the Secretary to the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages, Mr. Vajira Narampawana echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the importance language plays in promoting social inclusion in Sri Lanka.