Arjuna Aluwihare, Batticaloa, Bellagio, Buttala, Cambridge University Press, Chilaw, Clive Jayasuriya, Critical Thinking course, Foundations of Modern Society, GELT, Handbook of Grammar, India, Jerome Codipilly, Kithsiri, Kuliyapitiya, Mutur, Nirmali Hettiarachchi, Oranee Jansz, Pottuvil, Read, Think and Discuss, Sarath Amunugama, Siron Rajaratnam, Tirukkovil, Trincomalee, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Wilfred Jayasuriya
In 1993 I took on a new responsibility in addition to my work at USJP and the supervision of the AUC General English and English Diploma courses. This was the pre-University General English Language Training (GELT) Course. My involvement arose from meeting Prof A J Gunawardena on the flight back from my visit to Bellagio, and him telling me that he had suggested to the UGC Chairman that I be asked to run the course.
A J had been in charge of English at USJP, but had gone away during a sabbatical to become Director of the Institute of Aesthetic Studies. He found the Institute ungovernable, as indeed many Directors did, until it became a University in its own right, and its first Vice-Chancellor, Sarath Amunugama, found a way of reconciling the various interests involved while introducing some sort of discipline. A J after his stint at the Institute then moved into what was virtually a sinecure in the NIE, but he had recently been asked to sit on the board to choose a new coordinator for the GELT.
That had been set up by Wilfred Jayasuriya, a former Commissioner of Motor Traffic, in the late eighties, but he had gone away suddenly and left it in the charge of his deputy, another senior figure in the ELT world called Clive Jayasuriya. I had had some involvement with the course early on, when the British Council was commissioned to produce low cost simple readers under a CIDA Project, and with Nirmali Hettiarachchi as team leader we had done some very good work.
I had lost touch with the course however over the years, so A J’s suggestion, following on a decision of the selection board that none of the candidates was suitable, came as a surprise. It struck me as an interesting challenge however, and also complementary to what I was doing at USJP and the AUCs. It certainly made sense to ensure a better English course before students entered University, given what I had seen of the difficulties of running one with all the distractions of University life, and in particular the ragging. Continue reading