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About the Program

Background

The number of students entering the Faculty of Arts annually is approximately 650. The proficiency in English of these students is rather low. The average competence (at entry) falls within the range of Band 3-5 in the IELTS score. This is mainly due to the fact that a large percentage of students entering the Faculty of Arts is from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, (as many as 50% are Mahapola recipients) and they have had very limited access to English in schools and at home.

During the University career of there students, there is very little motivation to learn English because the courses in the Faculty of Arts are conducted in all three media and the majority of Sinhala and Tamil students follow the academic courses in their mother tongue. Therefore the attendance at English classes is rather haphazard, their priority being the main academic subjects, which are credit courses. On the other hand, although English is compulsory it is a non-credit course. The students are aware of it and consequently they merely wish to get their degree certificates. Therefore the degree of improvement in English skills of Arts students is very unsatisfactory despite the Herculean effort made by the staff of the ELTU. The resulting loss of confidence due to lack of communicative skills in English prevents them from getting the job of their choice Arts graduates are therefore considered less equipped in the job market and a large number of graduates who pass out from the Faculty of Arts are either unemployed or under employed.

Rationale

Universities in general are accused of producing graduates devoid of the skills required by the job market and University of Peradeniya is no exception. Although English courses are conducted for the students to improve their communication and inter personal skills, students especially those in the Faculty of Arts are not motivated because it does not serve their "immediate need". (i.e. obtaining their degree ) When confronted with the "real need" they are no longer in the University. In such a scenario it would be more productive if the undergraduates could given a chance to acquire English at a time when there is a real need to learn to learn the language when there is less academic pressure. The most suitable time to conduct an Intensive English course for the students of the faculty of Arts would be during their final year when they are about to meet the challenges of employment and the need to improve English would be their priority. The motivation of the students would be very high and therefore a comprehensive course in English would be able to enhance the communication skills and confidence of students.

Objectives and Strategy

  1. To strengthen the capacity of the ELTU to conduct practical training in English for students in a sustainable manner.
  2. To design and conduct training courses/ workshops to impart the following the final year Arts and Management students:
    1.1 Proficiency in grammatical English
    1.2 Proficiency in computer aided language learning
    1.3 Develop soft skills and awareness about career opportunities

Mechanism and Design

  1. This component will be implemented with the assistance of the existing and contractual staff. Both will be provided training in methodology, which will be supported by IBG 1 (English).
  2. The equipment required (computers, printers, DVD players, photo copiers etc) and teaching material will be purchased to strengthen the capacity of the ELTU to prepare and duplicate material.
  3. To achieve the second objective, a training program consisting of three components namely:
    1. Proficiency in grammatical English
    2. Computer Aided Language Learning (CALL)
    3. Soft skills and career and career awareness will be developed and offered twice a year (once for the third year students and once for the fourth year students for the next three years.)
Proficiency in grammatical English will be imparted by face to face teaching in the following skills:
Listening and speaking 70 hours
Reading 30 hours
Writing 30 hours
Project presentation 20 hours


A class will consist of 20-25 students each student will have 2 hours of English per day.

Proficiency in CALL

This program will be conducted on Saturdays where a course has been designed to give the skills to the students on how to use the learning of English.
Duration: 2 hours on Saturdays (for face to teaching) and 2 hours during weekdays (for self learning)

Development of soft skills and awareness of career opportunities

This program is conducted in English by Dr B.M.K. Perera, Director, Career Guidance Unit on Tuesday and Wednesday from 5pm-30pm.

The course imparts the following:
    1. Development of attitudes required by the world of work (addressing the mismatch between industry requirements and the university output)
    2. Current trends relevant to employment opportunities in the different sectors.
    3. Importance of different of skills needed in the world work.
    4. Introduction to soft skills
    5. Active listening skills
    6. Assertive behavior
    7. Conflict resolution/problem solving skills.
    8. Team work and team working skills
    9. Motivating others and leadership skills
    10. CV writing
    11. How to face interviews
    12. Effective job search strategies


Visit IRQUE Project Home Page for more information.