Building the Capacity of Public Institutions to protect and promote the Language Rights of all Sri Lankan Citizens

NLEAP with the National Languages Division hosts a series of Language Planning Workshops

NLEAP along with the National Languages Division (NLD) of the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Offices and Local Government (The Ministry) hosted a series of Language Planning Workshops. 74 Public Institutions that followed the Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshop on the Language Planning Process participated in the workshops. The one-day way forward workshops that began in the Central Province in September continued through the fourth quarter for institutions in the North-western Province, Eastern Province and the Northern Province.

The sessions led by the NLD Technical Team provided the Institutions a forum to discuss how they went about developing their respective Language Plans and the challenges they faced with implementation. Many shared how at first it was challenging to get the different departments involved in the Language Committees and yet how once they started working on the Language Plans everyone started getting more engaged. The Language Planning process also empowered the Language Committees to identify gaps within their institutions in implementing the Language Policy. It also enabled them to make better use of resources already available, be it bilingual personnel or trilingual documentation. As one representative shared, the process also helped create awareness and accountability amongst the different departments; that ensuring the Language Rights of all citizens is a responsibility entrusted to every Public Servant.

The workshop sessions also focused on building the capacity of the institutions to develop creative solutions to fund their Language Plans. As such, exploring how they could network and engage with different agencies, especially civil society organisations, to leverage ongoing language rights awareness programmes and second language teaching programmes was a fundamental aspect of the workshop training.

74 state institutions have participated in the 3-day TOT on Language Planning process and the subsequent Language Planning Review Workshops. This includes 47 Divisional Secretariats, 05 District Secretariats, 03 hospitals, 07 Police Stations, 03 Courts, 05 Local authorities and 04 Chief Secretary Offices. A total of 151 officials have received comprehensive training to develop and implement Language Plans in their respective institutions. The Language Planning process is pivotal to improving the capacity of key ministries and institutions to deliver public services in both official languages (Sinhala and Tamil), at national and provincial levels. Strengthening gender-sensitive bilingual communication skills of public servants is a key component of these plans.

NLEAP is a Government of Canada supported project designed to respond to the GoSL’s goal to protect and promote the language rights of all its citizens. Implemented by Alinea International, NLEAP will continue to work very closely with the Ministry and its affiliated institutions to ensure the effective implementation of the Official Languages Policy.

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