COLOMBO: The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, has appealed to Tamil school students to learn Sinhalese so that they do not lose job opportunities both in Sinhalese-speaking South Lanka and the Tamil-speaking North.
Speaking at the Jaffna Kokkuvil Hindu Primary School on Wednesday, Wigneswaran said that given the fact that Sinhalese in South Lanka are now compulsorily learning Tamil, there will soon be a situation in which Tamil knowing Sinhalese will take up jobs in the Tamil North denying locals of opportunities. And if the Tamils refuse to learn Sinhalese, they will not be recruited for jobs in the Sinhalese-speaking South. In times to come, the Tamils will be the losers.
Wigneswaran said that he started learning Sinhalese in 1955 but abandoned it in 1956, because in 1956 the government brought in the Sinhala-Only Act to make Sinhalese the sole official language of the island nation. If only his Sinhalese was good, he would have strongly and effectively communicated the Tamil case to the Sinhalese leaders, the Chief Minister said.
“I therefore appeal to you to set aside politics and learn Sinhalese,” he told the 900-odd students of the school.
Wigneswaran also appealed to the kids to learn English as it will help them when they get into the university. Tamil students with limited knowledge of English fail to make the grade in the university and end up doing small jobs, he said.