Learning French in Sri Lanka
French ranks among the ten most spoken languages in the world, with around 220 millions French-speaking people and 116 millions students learning it. In Sri Lanka, French is today, after English, the first foreign language taught in schools, both national and international. It is a subject chosen by approximately one thousand students for the G.C.E. Ordinary Level and by five hundred students for the G.C.E. Advanced Level examinations.
The Sri Lankan Universities of Kelaniya, Peradeniya, Sri Jayawardenapura, Jaffna, Rajarata and Ruhuna offer to their students the opportunity to learn French and discover French Literature and Civilization. Undergraduates interested in obtaining a Special Degree in French can do so at the University of Kelaniya in a 4 year course.
Another way to learn French is provided in Colombo by Alliance Française de Kotte and in other provinces by the Alliances Françaises of Jaffna, Kandy, and Matara/Galle. They prepare their students for the international diplomas DELF and DALF.
The Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka signed in 2006 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the French Embassy in Colombo, to facilitate the special training of 35 French Language Teachers, the first batch at the Pasdunrata National College of Education. The second group of 27 young Sri Lankans completed their training at Pasdunrata in December 2009. These young teachers are presently teaching French in government schools in different regions in Sri Lanka. The third batch of 25 prospective French language teachers is currently being trained. The best students of each group got a scholarship for a language teacher training for one month in France.
The French Embassy continues its support through a renewed MOU with the Ministry of Education to offer services of visiting Teacher Trainers from France to assist in the development of curricula and to provide further teacher training at the College of Education. Outstanding teachers from Pasdunrata are offered regularly scholarships to follow special training programs in well known language centers in France. Besides, a national contest in French language is organized worldwide each year. The two Sri Lankan winners will very soon go on a trip to France.