Dec 02, Gampaha: A project to set up nine language laboratories in the nine provinces of Sri Lanka with the assistance of India got off to a start today with the opening of the first lab in the Gampaha district.
The project was launched at a function held at Kimbulgoda Maha Vidyalaya in Gampaha on Monday with the participation of Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha as chief guests.
The project is being implemented as part of a MoU signed between India and Sri Lanka on 13th September 2011 for "Setting up of a Three-Tier English Language Training System in Sri Lanka".
Accordingly, the Indian government is providing equipment, software and latest sophisticated teaching aids for setting up a language laboratory of 30 computer units and other equipment in each of the nine provinces that would help to train teachers from various schools and colleges in Sri Lanka.
Besides Gampaha, language laboratories are to be set up at Jaffna, Polanaruwa, Ampara, Kandy, Kurunegala, Ratnapura, Badulla and Matara in the various Colleges of Education in different provinces.
The project will help to enhance 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.
Following a two-bid tender process M/s Metropolitan Office (Pvt) Ltd., has been issued a purchase order to set up the language labs envisaged in the Project at a cost of RS.84 million. The project is implemented under full grant assistance of the Government of India.
In his address, Minister Rajapaksa noted that the Government of India has been continuously providing assistance for a variety of projects covering different sectors to help the people of Sri Lanka.
Though the demand for projects were more for the Northern and Eastern Provinces, he said that Government of India has been assisting other areas as well and hoped that areas like Gampaha may get new projects under the Indian government's assistance programme.
India being a pioneer in Information Technology, the Minister noted that the Language labs set up by India in Sri Lanka would benefit the younger generation to learn English and benefit from it as a life skill.
The High Commissioner, in his remarks, emphasized that India and Sri Lanka share a dynamic and multi-faceted relationship, rooted in history, language, culture, religion and trade and that the relations between the two countries have matured and diversified with the passage of time, encompassing all areas of contemporary relevance.
The High Commissioner congratulated the Education Department of Western Province for facilitating the completion of the language lab and hoped that this project would be of great assistance to promote learning of English language directly by teachers and indirectly by students of Sri Lanka which would help in their advancement.
Chief Minister of Western Province Prasanna Ranatunga, Deputy Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Secretary, Education Department S.T. Kodikara, and several other senior government officials participated in the event.