The National Institute of Language Education and Training which is tasked with teaching the two official languages to MPs, following approval to a proposal submitted by the Ministry of National Coexistence, Dialogue and Official Languages, confirmed that only 40 out of 225 Parliamentarians had registered for the classes and that the turn out for the introduction and orientation had been dismal to say the least.
The 40 Parliamentarians, both male and female MPs included Ministers from the Government, and MPs from the Government, the Opposition and the Joint Opposition.
An introduction and orientation was conducted in Parliament in this regard on August 11 with the participation of Chairman of the Institute, Chandana Arunadewa and Director General of the Institute, Prasath R. Herath. Herath lamented that the situation was pathetic in that approximately 12 Parliamentarians (Tamil MPs and Sinhala MPs) had turned up for the introduction and orientation, while Arunadewa noted that it was a Friday which would explain the fact of the low turnout.
The classes will commence on August 22. The classes will be held once a week with the regular day being on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., as the Parliamentary session on Thursdays is scheduled to begin from 10.30 a.m. onwards. The Sinhala and Tamil resource persons including trainers will be from the Institute.
The proposal made by Minister of National Coexistence, Dialogue and Official Languages, Mano Ganesan with regard to creating a proficiency of the respective second language among MPs was accepted by all political party leaders when such had been made at a party leaders meeting.
Arunadewa added that the style of teaching adopted would be different in that it would involve practical activities outside the setting of the classroom and would further involve songs, dances and theatre.