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Sunday, 16 February 2014

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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.

President Mahinda 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 Mustapha said.

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 schooling children.

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 will be

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 householders.

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 world.

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 uninterruptedly.

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 easily.

The entire world has selected English as their principal language.

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