By Anandi Jayawardena
In todayâ€™s world, the term â€˜literacyâ€™ supersedes a mere reading and writing capability. With increasing globalization, competitive job markets, rise in new media and the internet, the true meaning of â€˜literacyâ€™ expands to include not merely language competency, but also Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and "soft skills". The Government of Sri Lanka has markedly recognized the need for a holistic approach towards gaining literacy, as President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared 2009 the year of English and ICT.
Speaking at the ceremonial launch of 2009 â€“ Year of English and Information Technology, the President said, "The Year of English and IT is launched as a major initiative of the Government to help Sri Lanka meet the demands of the 21st century in skills and capacities, making the availability of a Life Skill for the rural sector." The President also said his Government lays emphasis on the unmistakable need to urgently equip the people, especially the youth, with proficiency in the English language on the one side and to provide them with access to computers and internet facilities, through the rapid development of use of information technology, on the other.