His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared 2009 as the ‘Year of English and Information Technology’ with the objective of improving the country’s standards of English and IT literacy. Under the guidance of Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, a Presidential Task Force has been set up to drive widespread adoption of English and IT in the country.

Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Senior Minister of International Monetary Co-operation has been appointed as the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on English and IT. The task force consists of two sub task forces in English and IT respectively. Mr. Sunimal Fernando, Advisor to the President has been appointed as the convener and coordinator of the English track. Mr. Damith Hettihewa has been appointed as the coordinator of the IT track. The task force also comprises of 20 senior state and private sector officials who will contribute their expertise to the national effort.

The task force activities are centered on improving the nation’s capabilities in terms of English and IT as essential life skills that will empower the future generation to compete successfully in the global arena. As its main objective, the task force will facilitate the implementation of programmers aimed to uplift the level of job oriented English and IT skills among school children, which will enhance their employability in IT and IT enabled service industries.

 
TAKING ENGLISH TO THE MASSES

I will start by drawing a contrast between the two basic development strategies adopted by the two alternative regimes that have governed our country since independence. In terms of development policy and strategy in general, UNP led governments have sought to create wealth in the country by focusing very strongly on the urban corporate sector of the economy. They have been of the view that the benefits of such a strategy of growth will slowly trickle down to our villages where the majority of our people live. But this ‘trickle down strategy’ has never worked effectively in any developing country including our own. read more

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