People in Sri Lanka, especially children, should learn Sinhala, Tamil and English languages in order to bring about reconciliation, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday.
He said this at a ceremony held to felicitate schoolchildren who excelled in the second language at the GCE O/L examination in 2017.
“If people learn Sinhala, then everyone should be conversant with the language of the majority. If one learns Tamil, then that person will be able to benefit from the development that is taking place in Tamil Nadu. One could get more benefits from South India than from Europe if he or she learns Tamil. Likewise, if one learns English, he or she will be benefitted when travelling to UK or USA.
“There was a conflict between the Malays and the Tamils in Malaysia in late 1960s. Singapore saw this conflict and decided to introduce laws to nationalise Malay, Chinese and English languages to avoid a similar conflict. This is why there is no communal violence in Singapore today. Language is a bridge that connects ethnic and religious groups,” he said. (Yohan Perera)