Centre for Policy Alternatives on 30 May, 2018

Survey on the Implementation of Official Languages Policy at Ministerial Level in Sri Lanka – 2017

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May 30th 2018, Colombo, Sri Lanka: Language is fundamental to human communication and a key marker of identity. Accordingly, it is essential that the language rights of every citizen of Sri Lanka is upheld. The failure to do so will adversely impact the enjoyment of full and equal citizenship, meaningful reconciliation and national unity as well as the quality of governance and the legitimacy of government.

The active involvement and effective contribution of all ministries, departments, and the administrative structure of the local government authorities are essential for the effective and efficient implementation of Sri Lanka’s Official Languages Policy. This policy ensures that Sri Lankan citizens have access to services and institutions in their own language.

The foremost responsibility for proper implementation of the Official Languages Policy has been placed on officials identified in each institution, including Chief Secretaries, Secretaries, departmental heads, and Municipal Commissioners, as outlined by the Extraordinary Gazette notification No. 1620/27 dated 2009.09.25 and the Administrative Circular No. 18/2009 dated 2009.11.25 respectively.

Accordingly, the Ministry of National Co-Existence, Dialogue and Official Languages has designed a guideline for developing ‘Language Plans’ for all government institutions. This focuses on four key lenses through which the proper implementation of Official Languages Policy can be ensured.

These are Visibility and Ambiance, Administration and Documentation, Service Delivery and Institutional Commitment and Support Mechanism.

This survey focused on the extent to which each of the ministries adopted these lenses when implementing the Official Languages Policy, and the core challenges and issues faced in doing so.

Download this report in English Tamil Sinhala.

For more information around the report, please contact Mr. Lionel Guruge – [email protected]