Advertisement

English Language Policy and Planning in Sri Lanka: A Critical Overview

  • Dilini Chamali WalisundaraEmail author
  • Shyamani Hettiarachchi
Part of the Language Policy book series (LAPO, volume 11)

Abstract

The focus of this chapter is to provide an overview of English language policy and planning in Sri Lanka subsequent to 1978 with a detailed reference to some of the key historical aspects that led to the current situation. One of the key factors that is explored is the role of English as a link language as imbued in the constitution of Sri Lanka and its significance in the development of English language teaching and learning in the country. For this purpose, a set of key variables in the form of students’ performance at national level examinations, the allocation of English teachers in the country, the issue of English language learners with disability and teacher allocation for English medium instruction have been used. The data reviewed covered a period close to 15 years in some instances and the analysis revealed a considerable disparity between policy decisions, investments made and the subsequent results of such actions demanding a need to re-evaluate the implementation of such policies.

Keywords

English language policy Planning Sri Lanka disability Link language 

Notes

Acknowledgement

A special thank you to Prof. Hema Ramanathan for making this opportunity available to us and to Dr. Sandagomi Coperahewa, Mr. Noel Jayamaha, Ms. Lakshmi Cumaranathunga, and Ms. Paru Nagasundaram for providing us with their time and resources. Thank you, to Mr. N.M Anura Jayasinghe, Ms.P.A.C.P. Prathapa Arachchi and Ms. W.H. Iresha Charangani for their help with the statistical analysis.

References

  1. Athurpana, H., Millot, B., & Team. (2009). The towers of learning: Performance, peril, and promise of higher education in Sri Lanka. Colombo: The World Bank Colombo Office.Google Scholar
  2. Auerbach, E. (2000). When pedagogy meets politics: Challenging English only in adult education. In R. Duenas Gonzalez & I. Melis (Eds.), Language ideologies: Critical perspectives on the official English movement (pp. 177–204). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Auerbach, E. R. (1995). The politics of the ESL classroom: Issues of power in pedagogical choices. In J. W. Tollefson (Ed.), Power and inequality in language education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Baldauf, R. B., Jr. (1990). Language planning: Corpus planning. In R. B. Kaplan et al. (Eds.), Annual review of applied linguistics (Vol. 10, pp. 3–12). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Baldauf, R. B., Jr. (2006). Rearticulating the case for micro language planning in a language ecology context. Current Issues in Language Planning, 7(2 & 3), 147–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Canagarajah, A. S. (1999). Resisting linguistic imperialism in English teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cooper, R. L. (1989). Language planning and social change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Coperahewa, C. (2009). The language planning situation in Sri Lanka. Current Issues in Language Planning, 10(01), 69–150. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cornelius, D. J. K., & Balakrishnan, J. (2012). Inclusive education for students with intellectual disability. Disability, CBR and Inclusive Development (DCID), 23, 81–93.Google Scholar
  10. Crystal, D. (1997). The Cambridge encyclopaedia of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cumaranathunga, L. (2012). Swings of the pendulum. In R. Hemamala (Ed.), Vistas (Vol. 7/8). Nawala: Open University Press of Sri Lanka.Google Scholar
  12. Cumaranathunga, L. (1986). In Nagoya Gakuin Daigaku & Gaikokugp Kyoiku Kiyo (Eds.), English education in Sri Lanka: New dimensions. Education in Asia.Google Scholar
  13. Cumarathunga, C. (1986). English education in Sri Lanka: New dimensions, in Nagoya Gakuin Daigaku & Gaikokugo Kyoiku Kiyo. English Education in Asia.Google Scholar
  14. Das, A. K., Gichuru, M., & Singh, A. (2013). Implementing inclusive education in Delhi, India: Regular school teachers’ preferences for professional development delivery modes. Professional Development in Education. doi:  10.1080/19415257.2012.747979.
  15. de Lanerolle Commission Report. (1973). A place in the sun: Report of the committee of inquiry into the teaching of English in the schools of Sri Lanka. Colombo: Government Printing Press.Google Scholar
  16. Department of Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka (Ceylon). (1952). Census of Ceylon, 1946. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Government Printer.Google Scholar
  17. Department of Examinations Sri Lanka. (1999). Statistical handbook. Colombo.Google Scholar
  18. Department of Examinations Sri Lanka. (2002). Statistical handbook 1999–2001. Colombo.Google Scholar
  19. Department of Examinations Sri Lanka. (2005). Statistical handbook 2002–2004. Colombo.Google Scholar
  20. Department of Examinations Sri Lanka. (2011a). Statistical handbook 2005–2007. Colombo.Google Scholar
  21. Department of Examinations Sri Lanka. (2011b). Statistical handbook 2008–2010. Colombo.Google Scholar
  22. De Silva, K. M. (1993). Language problems: The problems of language policy. In K. M. de Silva (Ed.), Sri Lanka: Problems of governance (pp. 275–305). Delhi: Konark.Google Scholar
  23. de Souza, D. (1979). Targets and standards. Socio-economic and other factors affecting the teaching of English in Sri Lanka (Vol. 3, pp. 36–43). Colombo: Sri Lanka Foundation Institute.Google Scholar
  24. De Silva, W. A., & Gunawardene, C. (1986). The planning of long-term educational futures in Sri Lanka – Educational policies and change after 1977. Maharagama: National Institute of Sri Lanka.Google Scholar
  25. De Silva, N. R., et al. (2013). Feasibility of introducing general English as a university entry requirement for medicine: Results of a national survey. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://www.sljol.info/index.php/SLJASS/article/view/6205
  26. Eleweke, J., & Rodda, M. (2002). The challenge of enhancing inclusive education in developing countries. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 6, 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fernando, S. (2013). Launching phase III of the presidential initiative ‘English as a life skill’. Colombo: Presidential Task Force on English and IT.Google Scholar
  28. Fernando, S., Gunesekera, M., & Parakrama, A. (Eds.). (2010). English in Sri Lanka: Ceylon English, Lankan English. Sri Lankan English (Sri Lanka English Language Teachers’ Association). Colombo: Aitken Spence Printing.Google Scholar
  29. Fernando, S. (2001). Producing textbooks to tight deadlines. In D. Hayes (Ed.), Teaching English: Possibilities and opportunities. Colombo: The British Council.Google Scholar
  30. Furuta, H. (2009). Responding to educational needs of children with disabilities: Care and education in special pre-schools in the North-Western province of Sri Lanka. Japanese Journal of Special Education, 46(6), 457–471.Google Scholar
  31. Fishman, J. A. (1968). Sociolinguistics and the language problems of developing countries. In J. A. Fishman, C. A. Ferguson, & J. Das Gupta (Eds.), Language problems of developing nations (pp. 3–16). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Fishman, J. A. (Ed.). (1974). Advances in language planning. The Hague, the Netherlands: Mouton.Google Scholar
  33. Furuta, H. (2006). Present status of education of children with disabilities in Sri Lanka: Implications for increasing access to education. Japanese Journal of Special Education, 43(6), 555–565.Google Scholar
  34. G.C.E (O.L.) Examination −2010 Evaluation Report (31 – English Language). (2012). Research & development branch, national evaluation & testing services. Department of Examinations.Google Scholar
  35. Goonetilleke, D. C. R. A. (1983). Language planning in Sri Lanka. Navasilu, 5, 13–18.Google Scholar
  36. Gunasekera, M. (2005). The postcolonial identity of Sri Lankan English. Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.Google Scholar
  37. Gunawardene, M. (2009). An enduring friendship: The Asia foundation celebrates five decades in Sri Lanka. Colombo: Ace Printing & Packages (Pvt) Ltd.Google Scholar
  38. Haarmann, H. (1990). Language planning in the light of a general theory of language: A methodological framework. International Journal of Sociology of Language, 86, 103–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hammond, H., & Ingalls, L. (2003). Teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion: Survey results from elementary school teachers in three south-western rural school districts. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 22(2), 24–30.Google Scholar
  40. Haugen, E. (1959). Planning for a standard language in Norway. Anthropological Linguistics, I(3), 8–21.Google Scholar
  41. Hornberger, N. H. (2006). Framework and models in language policy and planning. In T. Ricento (Ed.), Introduction to language policy: Theory and method. Victoria: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  42. Jernudd, B. H. (1977). Linguistic sources for terminological innovation. In J. Rubin, B. H. Jernudd, J. Das Gupta, J. A. Fishman, & C. A. Ferguson (Eds.), Language planning processes (pp. 215–236). The Hague, The Netherlands: Mouton.Google Scholar
  43. Kandiah, T. (1984). Kaduva: Power and the English language weapon in Sri Lanka. In P. Colin-Thome & A. Halpe (Eds.), Honouring E.F.C. Ludowyk: Felicitation essays (pp. 117–154). Dehiwela: Tisara Prakasakayo.Google Scholar
  44. Kaplan, R. B., & Baldauf, R. B., Jr. (1997). Language planning: From practice to theory. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  45. Mendis, G. C. (Ed.). (1956). The Colebrooke-Cameron papers: Documents on British colonial policy in Ceylon 1796: 1833 (Vol. I). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Ministry of Education Sri Lanka. (2013). Sri Lanka education information 2012. Colombo.Google Scholar
  47. Ministry of Education. (2012). Sri Lanka education information-2012. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.moe.gov.lk/web/images/stories/statistic/sl_edu_info_2012.pdf
  48. Modern, J., Joerensen, C., & Daniels, F. (2010). DFID, disability and education. London: Results UK.Google Scholar
  49. National Policy Framework on General Education. (2003). National education commission. ColomboGoogle Scholar
  50. National Institute of Education, English Unit. (2001). Policy related to teaching English as a second language in schools. Maharagama.Google Scholar
  51. National Symposium in Reviewing of the Performance of School Candidate (G.C.E. O.L. Examination 2011). (2012). Research & development branch, national evaluation & testing service. Department of Examinations.Google Scholar
  52. Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Raheem, R., & Devendra, D. (2007). Changing times, changing attitudes: The history of English education in Sri Lanka. In Yeon Hee Choi & B. Spolsky (Eds.), English education in Asia: History & politics (Asia TEFL Book Series 2007). Seoul: Asia TEFL Publication.Google Scholar
  54. Raheem, R., & Ratwatte, H. V. (2001). Regional variation in student proficiency and implications for language planning. In D. Hayes (Ed.), Teaching English: Possibilities and opportunities. Selected papers from the 1st International Conference of the Sri Lanka English Language Teachers’ Association (SLELTA). Colombo, Sri Lanka: British Council.Google Scholar
  55. Raheem, R., & Ratwatte, H. V. (2004). Visible strategies, invisible results: Language policy and planning in Sri Lanka. In S. Mansoor, S. Meraj, & A. Tahir (Eds.), Language policy, planning and practice – A South Asian perspective. Karachi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Ricento, T. (2006). Introduction to language policy: Theory and method. Victoria: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  57. Shohamy, E. (2006). Language policy: Hidden agenda and new approaches. Oxon: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sideridis, G. D., & Chandler, J. P. (1996). Comparison of attitudes of teachers of physical and musical education towards inclusion of children with disabilities. Psychological Reports, 78(3), 768–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Spolsky, B. (2004). Language policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Sumathipala, K. H. M. (1968). History of education in Ceylon 1796–1965. Dehiwala: Thisara Printers.Google Scholar
  61. UNESCO. (2010). Education for all movement. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-internationalagenda/education-for-all
  62. Van Reusen, A. K., Shoho, A. R., & Barker, K. S. (2001). High school teacher attitudes towards inclusion. The High School Journal, 84(2), 7–17.Google Scholar
  63. Wijeratne, K., Cumarathunga, L., & Perera, I. (2003). Evaluation of GCE advanced level general English programme. National education commission. Colombo. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://www.nec.gov.lk/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=86%3Aevaluation-of-gce-advanced-level-general-english-porgramme&catid=20%3Ageneraleducation&Itemid=52&lang=en
  64. (No Date & No Author). Teaching English – Present position and future strategies. Google Scholar
  65. (1982) (No Author). Towards relevance in education: A report of the Educational Reference Committee 1979. Sri Lanka: Govt. Publications Bureau, April 1982.Google Scholar
  66. (2001) (No Author). Policy related to teaching English as a second language in schools. Maharagama, Sri Lanka: English Unit, National Institute of Education (NIE).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dilini Chamali Walisundara
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shyamani Hettiarachchi
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Sri JayewardenepuraNugegodaSri Lanka
  2. 2.University of KelaniyaKelaniyaSri Lanka
  3. 3.Curtin UniversityBentleyAustralia

Personalised recommendations