English program mooted for Dhamma school children
An English program targeting the Dhamma School Children in the
Colombo district was initiated recently. This program is functional on a
concept by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Under the first Phase 1,500
students who represent 15 Dhamma Schools have been absorbed for the
program, Deputy Investment Promotion Minister Faizer Mustapha said in an
interview with the Sunday Observer.
Rajapaksa presents education tools to a Dhamma School student
Fluency in English has become vital in the modern education field and
the job market as well. Due to lack of English knowledge the
opportunities of employment are are also comparatively low, he said.
The program has jointly been jointly initiated by Faizer Mustapha
Foundation and IOC Company limited. A large number of Buddhist,
Christian, Hindu and Islam Dhamma School students will benefit from this
program, Deputy Minister Mustapha said.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated this program at a ceremony
held at the Musaeus College. The President symbolically presented 15
students with educational tools needed for the program, Deputy Minister
Chancellor of Sri Jayewardenepura University Ven, Bellanwila
Wimalarathana Thera, Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha, and religious
leaders of all faiths were present at the occasion.
Q: Can you outline the reason for initiating such a program
targeting Dhamma Schools?
A: Dhamma Schools are the place where a large number of school
children throng on Sundays to learn religious subjects. By initiating
such programs targeting the Dhamma Schools the maximum benefit of the
program can be obtained. English is taught in the schools but this
program has been implemented in addition to improve the spoken skills of
The capability of speaking in English is very low or not satisfactory
due to hesitation or poor communication between the students in English.
Our education is on par with the international education system. When
the English speaking skills is improved simultaneously with this
achievement we would have a good education system. Today you can not
find employment in the private sector without the knowledge of English.
Due to lack of English knowledge even the graduates face so many
problems in advancing in life and continuing higher studies. Today those
who have (G.C.E.(Ordinary Level) qualification with English knowledge
can contest in the job market overtaking the graduates.
Realising the necessity of English to overcome the challenges which
arise in the 21st century, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken steps
to take the English Language to the school children.
The Government has allocated a huge amount of money to develop the
schools to achieve this goal. He has the vision of making Sri Lanka a
hub of knowledge. I am extending a helping hand to him to achieve that
noble goal and do something of value to the Children of this country.
Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha
Q: Are you confident that the ultimate target can be achieved?
A: Implementing such a program targeting school children is
not a possible task. Students attend Dhamma schools every Sunday to
obtain Dhamma knowledge. Our children have to bear a big burden in
receiving education. So this goal should be achieved easily without
imposing further burden on the heads of children. The blessings and
greatest support of Buddhist Monks and the priests of other religions.
Q: Can you outline about this program?
A :One thousand five hundred (1,500) students will be trained
under the first stage. Our target is increasing that number to 3,000 and
extending this program to all Dhamma schools in Colombo district. We
have planned to operate 54 hour courses as well as 18 three hour
courses. Eventhough English language is taught in school as a subject.
There is no special emphasis placed on making the students to speak
in English. This program is conducted completely free of charge. Many
parents are keen to send their children to the English classes which are
held in line with the Dhamma education. Through this program, children
trained to read, write, listen and to speak in English. The main
objective of this program is coaching the children to speak in English
anywhere without any fear.
Q: You are representing Kandy district. Can you explain to
select the Colombo district?
A: Actually I am a representing the Kandy district in the
Parliament. When compared to Colombo poverty is not a big matter in the
Kandy district. The Colombo population mainly consists of middle-class
If they want to find jobs in Colombo, they should be fluent in
English and then only they can get a job. One can't step one foot
forward without the knowledge of English and Computer. I have decided to
give a helping hand to these people.
The difficulties which the graduates undergo in receiving jobs due to
lack of sufficient English knowledge. How many graduates come to my
office asking jobs. English knowledge is vital from low rank to high
rank jobs. As politician it is my duty to abolish this tragic situation.
English and computer knowledge have turned into compulsory
qualifications which should be fulfilled by the person who apply for the
job. When I was Deputy Tourism Minister I could send 1,500 youth to
Middle-East to hotel sector. Because they were able to communicate in
English they have made their lives prosperous themselves. Not only in
Sri Lanka English is the only language which exert much influence in the
Q: From whom you receive assistance or contribution to
implement this program?
A: Sri Lanka India Oil Company is completely sponsoring this
program. It extends its fullest cooperation for such programs
As politicians we have the responsibility of providing a better
tomorrow for the children of this country. We have been gifted with a
good leader and under his leadership we can achieve all of our goals
The entire world has selected English as their principal language.