Academic Affairs Board, Cambridge University Press, children, Deputy Minister of Education, Disaster Management Club, Education, English, English Language Teaching, English Language Training, English Teacher Training, Explorations, GELT programme, General English Language Training Programme, Handbook of English Grammar, Language Arts, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Policy and Plan Implementation, Mohanlal Grero, National Institute of Education, Oranee Jansz, Ordinary Level, Regional English Support Centres, renewable energy, RESC, St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, Teacher Centres, Teaching, The Care of Children, Theatre, UGC
Keynote address by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha
Delivered at 2.30 pm, November 26th
at the National RESC Conference – 2013
On the theme ‘Supplementing ELT Through Language Arts & Theater’
I do not tend these days to accept invitations to speak in the fields of Education and English Language Teaching, but I was pleased to accept this one, largely because of the theme of your Conference. I feel in a sense out of touch with the subject, but this has been deliberate, because I must admit to some sadness at the manner in which the Ministry of Education failed to build on the foundation we had laid there for better English Teaching, and for better syllabuses for all subjects, during the years in which I advised on English, and also chaired the Academic Affairs Board of the National Institute of Education.
We had also made plans for better use of the Regional English Support Centres to upgrade English Teacher Training, and provide ready access to degrees that would improve the professional capacities of English teachers. But all this was reversed, largely because of lethargy, and the incapacity to think and plan coherently which has so adversely affected our education system over the years. And in addition there is I fear also continuing suspicion of English, and a determination on the part of decision makers to prevent our rural populations from having access to the language which is the only way of ensuring equity and equality of opportunity in the current age. In short, English continues to be the possession of the privileged, and in particular those in authority who use the language of nationalism to keep the less privileged in check, whilst of course ensuring that their own children have English, and English medium education, and often foreign degrees.