A group of 1,122 Army personnel who successfully followed Tamil language training received proficiency certificates at the Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna (SFHQ-Jaffna) recently.
Commander of SFHQ-Jaffna Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera said 12 officers and 1,110 personnel from other ranks completed this language training.
“Language is a bridge between different communities,” said Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera. “Hence, Sinhala people learning Tamil and vice versa is very crucial to achieve national reconciliation.”
The training was conducted by the instructors at the Army Tamil Language Training School in Kotmale.
According to the Military spokesperson Brig. Ruwan Wanigasooriya, since 1995, more than 1,000 courses that have been conducted have benefited more than 50,000 officers and soldiers who have gained a working knowledge of the relevant language as a result of the training. The Sri Lankan Navy and Air Force combined have 7,475 officers who have received Tamil language training.
SFHQ-Jaffna is in the process of providing Tamil languages training to all officials of the Sri Lanka Army deployed in Jaffna, which will enable them to communicate more effectively with the residents in the area.
In addition to this, Sri Lanka Police too, provide Tamil language training to its officers in addition to recruiting Tamil Speaking officials to serve in Tamil speaking areas of the country.
In accordance with the trilingual policy of the Government, civil servants and police officers have been recruited and trained to serve the public in North and East in the language of their choice. To facilitate the public, police officers conversant in Tamil provide services on a 24-hour basis at police stations in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. As of December 2013, 2,326 Tamil speaking police officers serve in the Police Department. In the Northern Province, there are 395 Tamil officers. Additionally, there are 107 Non-Tamil officers who have Tamil speaking & writing capacity while 370 Non-Tamil officers have Tamil speaking ability. The corresponding numbers in the Eastern Province are 385, 881 and 291.
The Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration is also conducting language training programmes for public servants in Jaffna. The objective of the programme is to absorb at least three to five public officers for each government institution who can speak both Tamil and Sinhala languages to provide services to the public.