The government aims to build a trilingual nation to remove mistrust among communities and ensure that terrorism will not raise its head again, stated Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga in an interview with Swarnavahini yesterday (16).
One of the causes for terrorism was the lack of communication between people belonging to different communities. Therefore, the government encourages all especially public servants and school children to learn the two official languages – Sinhala and Tamil, and the link language – English, he said.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has set the target to make Sri Lanka a trilingual nation by 2020 and a separate Ministry (National Languages and Social Integration) has been established to realize this, Secretary Weeratunga said, adding that it was a historic occasion when the President addressed the United Nations in Tamil. He was the first Head of State to do so.
He also said that Mahinda Chintana aims to develop the villages by using their own resources. Building the villages is now possible as there is now a strong leader and a government with a two thirds majority.
Building the road network is key to achieve this, along with the development of agriculture, upgrading of schools and hospitals, and the expansion of IT literacy through Nena Salas.
The President’s aim is to reduce migration to cities by developing the village. The government has launched a project to develop 1000 schools in the villages so that children in the rural areas have facilities found in urban schools.
‘We have achieved a great deal in the field of IT as Sri Lanka has increased its IT literacy to 35% today from a mere 5% in 2005’, he said adding, the President named the year 2009 as the year of English and IT and several projects were launched to increase English proficiency and IT literacy.
The railway lines went up to the farthest corners in the North and East but never went beyond Matara in the South, the Secretary pointed out. We are now expanding the railway from Matara, he said.
The Mahinda Chintana is a policy document for the public sector whereby it provides targets for development activities. There is a group of professionals who has come from the village to spearhead its implementation.
Today, GDP has increased and unemployment is now down to 5%. The stock market is performing well and it is the best in the world. Investments are flowing in and there is high praise for Sri Lanka in the international media, he pointed out.
He added, ‘the President has fulfilled the most difficult task of eliminating terrorism from this soil while managing external pressures extremely well’.
Now it is up to the younger generation to come together in ensuring that terrorism does not rise again, Secretary Weeratunga emphasized. ‘Development is achievable only when all join hands’.