University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
First introduced to the country during the period of British colonialism, English still occupies a significant/privileged status within the Sri Lankan context due to diverse linguistic and socio-political factors. Despite the various language policies adopted by the Sri Lankan governments since the country’s independence from the British Empire in 1948, the influence exerted by English in the fields of administration, education, and employment is still quite considerable. Owing to this close association of English with power and upward social mobility, there is a strong desire/compulsion among many Sri Lankans to learn English. Hence, such a scenario has created a great demand for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), and consequently there has emerged in Sri Lanka an expanding market which caters to the English language learning and teaching needs of the individuals. This market for English language learning and teaching is catered to by both private and public sectors at different levels. The focus of this paper then is on how the public sector universities seek to cater to this demand for teaching English. English Language Teaching Units (ELTU) established within individual universities have been assigned the role of improving the English language competency of the undergraduates. However, one issue encountered by the ELTUs is that they are expected to cater to students studying in different faculties and there is no common policy to determine the type of English to be taught. In fact, what is taught ranges from English for General Purposes (EGP) to English for Specific Purposes (ESP). For the purpose of this research, we selected the ELTU at University of Peradeniya and attempted to identify what form/ forms is/ are more appropriate in teaching ESL. Data was gathered using qualitative methods, and interviews along with open ended questionnaires were used in this regard.
ESL, EAP, ESP