English Language Literacy Initiatives in the Institute of Human Resource Advancement (IHRA), University of Colombo (UoC), Sri Lanka
Keywords:Literacy of English, Learning English, Library usage
Being a colonial country under the British government for 150 years, Sri Lankans as a society familiar with English language. Recognizing that enhancing the literacy of English Language gives a better life, IHRA (UoC) has been in the process of improving the knowledge of English from the beginning. The undergraduates of IHRA, though they are considered as normal full-time students, are employed adults who have responsibilities in their working places as well as in the family. These responsibili- ties become barriers when it comes to both studying and reading materials. Since the people who were exposed to the Education system in Sri Lanka after 1956 are mainly mono-lingual the em- ployed students also have to put extra effort to learn English. The library of the IHRA has taken several steps to motivate its students to borrow books in English from 1992 to 2011. But the statistics did not show whether there was an improvement of their borrowing books in English. Therefore a study was being carried out in 2011 and in 2013 it was repeated. The purpose of the survey was to find out the nature and extent of the usage of the materials in English of the BLE students in IHRA. To achieve this objective, a sample of students of IHRA engaged in higher studies while being employed was selected and a questionnaire was distributed among them to identify the emographic information, to examine the nature and extent of reading books in English and attitudes towards learning English. Though the majority of students have a positive attitude towards learning English, they do not end to read in English. When compared to 2011, they did not even interested in indicating preferences if they get a chance to read in English. According to the survey results, the students were aware of the importance of learning English as well as other languages.