June 24, Colombo: A group of 1,122 Sri Lankan security forces personnel have completed Tamil language training conducted by the instructors at the Army Tamil Language Training School in Kotmale.
A group of 12 officers and 1,110 personnel from other ranks who successfully completed the Tamil language training received proficiency certificates at the Security Forces Headquarters - Jaffna (SFHQ-Jaffna) recently.
Commander of SFHQ-Jaffna Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera said Sinhala people learning Tamil and vice versa is very crucial to achieve national reconciliation as language is a bridge between different communities.
The National Plan of Action for the Implementation of LLRC Recommendations said according to the Military spokesperson Brig. Ruwan Wanigasooriya, since 1995, more than 1,000 language training courses have been conducted and over 50,000 officers and soldiers have gained a working knowledge of the relevant language as a result of the training.
The Sri Lankan Navy and Air Force combined have 7,475 officers who have received Tamil language training.
In addition, Sri Lanka Police provide Tamil language training to its officers in addition to recruiting Tamil Speaking officials to serve in Tamil speaking areas of the country.
In accordance with the government's trilingual policy, civil servants and police officers have been recruited and trained to serve the public in North and East in the language of their choice.
Police officers conversant in Tamil provide services on a 24-hour basis at police stations in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to facilitate the public.
According to the government, as of December 2013, 2,326 Tamil speaking police officers serve in the Police Department.
In the Northern Province, there are 395 Tamil officers, 107 non-Tamil officers who have Tamil speaking and writing capability and 370 non-Tamil officers who have Tamil speaking ability. The corresponding numbers in the Eastern Province are 385, 881 and 291.
Under the government's trilingual policy all state sector public employees are required to be bilingual and the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration is conducting language training programs for public servants in Jaffna.
The program aims to have at least three to five public officers for each government institution who can speak both Tamil and Sinhala languages to provide services to the public.