India to set up nine language labs in the nine provinces of Sri Lanka
As per the commitment made by the Government of India during the visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India in June 2010, which was reflected in the Joint Declaration issued on the occasion, the Government of India is undertaking a project to set up nine language labs in the nine provinces of Sri Lanka.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Sri Lanka on 13 September 2011 for “Setting up of a Three-Tier English Language Training System in Sri Lanka”. Accordingly, the Government of India will be providing appropriate equipment and teaching aids for setting up a language laboratory of 30 computer units in each of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka.
Tenders were floated for implementing the Project through a two-bid process. Following the conclusion of the tendering process, the ‘Purchase Order’ has been issued to M/s Metropolitan Office (Pvt) Ltd., Colombo, to set up the Language labs envisaged in the Project at a cost of SLR 84 million. The Project will be implemented under full grant assistance of the Government of India and will be completed in three months.
The Project will help in enhancing the English Language training infrastructure in Sri Lanka, raise the general level of proficiency in English language of various sections of society, impart training in the use of English language and familiarize English language teachers from schools, colleges and universities in Sri Lanka on recent trends in English language teaching and upgrade their skills.
The Government of India had earlier helped to set up a Centre of English Language Training (CELT) at Peradeniya in 2009. The assistance included 41 computers for the trainees and teachers, along with sophisticated English learning software and hardware such as projector, screen, photocopier, printer etc. The Government of India had also provided training to 40 Sri Lankan Master Trainers at the English and Foreign Language University, Hyderabad, during 2008-09.
As part of Development Cooperation with Sri Lanka, Government of India has attached top priority to the education sector. A scheme to support school education among the children of upcountry plantation workers through a dedicated scholarship programme managed by the Ceylon Estate Workers Education Trust (CEWET), has been in operation since 1947. In addition, the Government of India has been running a number of scholarship programmes in Sri Lanka which saw a nearly three-foldincrease during the visit of the then Minister of External Affairs, Hon’ble S.M. Krishna, in January 2012, involving a grant assistance of SLR 2.5 billion over a three year period.
Other Projects implemented to assist the education sector include setting up of 40Nenasalas (e-Learning Centres) in Eastern, Western and Southern provinces during 2007-10, renovation of 79 war damaged schools in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya, supply of 1,260 computers and 218 laser printers to 607 schools of the Eastern Province, setting up of a Siddha Faculty at Trincomalee and gifting of 110 buses to education institutions to assist school going children etc.
- Asian Tribune -