UNDP and the Ministry of National Dialogue Partner to Promote Social Inclusion and Integration

New Language Laboratory Launched Open at the Department of Official Languages

Colombo, March 2016 – A language laboratory was ceremonially opened by the Hon. Minister of National Co-Existence, Dialogue and Official Languages, Mr. Mano Ganesan together with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the Department of Official Languages recently.

The opening of this laboratory is part of an effort to bridge the existing language gap, 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 and the National Institute for Language Education Training, under UNDP’s ‘Strengthening Enforcement of Law, Access to Justice and Social Integration (SELAJSI)’ Programme.

With an investment of an estimated LKR 10 million, the new lab has 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, Deputy Country Director 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 Hon. Minister of National Co-Existence, Dialogue and Official Languages, Mr. Mano Ganesan. the Secretary to the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages, Mrs. Pearl Weerasinghe and the Commissioner of the Department of Official Languages, Mr. W.A Jayawickrama, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the importance language plays in promoting social inclusion in Sri Lanka.

**Ends**

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