The MOU was signed between Partners in Micro-development Inc. and University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka in the Board Room of the University of Jaffna on 18th August 2022. It was signed by the Prof.S.Srisatkunarajah, the Vice Chancellor and Dr.Donna Vaughan, the President of Kandaiah Foundation in the presence of Dr.Monicca,the member, PIMD Inc., Prof.S.Raguram, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof. (Mrs.).R. Yogendrarajah, Director, CODL, Dr.K.Sanmuganathan, Head, DELT, Dr.A. Saravanabavan, Deputy Director for short courses and the staff of DELT.
The MoU is a three-way understanding between the Kandaiya Foundation, Partners in Micro-development Inc. (PIMD), and the DELT, University of Jaffna (UOJ). The Kandaiya Foundation has been established to fund education projects in Sri Lanka. PIMD implements a program funded by the Foundation, called the Lotus Literacy Program for Primary Grades. PIMD has worked in the field of primary-grade English learning and teaching in Sri Lanka since 2004. The Lotus Literacy Program was launched in 2011.
PIMD also currently conducts the training courses that underpin the Lotus Program, and which are the subject of the enclosed MoU. The curriculum currently consists of two courses: Teaching Phonological Awareness and Phonics, and Lotus Reading Program Method and Techniques. It will soon be added a third course on Reading Comprehension.
The MoU aims to achieve the following objectives:
- Provide an incentive for and give recognition to primary English teachers for the Lotus training courses
- Jointly issue a certificate to teachers on satisfactory completion of a course in the curriculum. (A certificate issued by the University of Jaffna will hold much greater value professionally for teachers)
- Provide further opportunities for collaboration in the future including research collaboration
- Provide opportunities for DELT staff and/or-post-graduate students to participate in course delivery as agreed from time to time by the parties
- Enroll in the courses free of charge for undergraduates following the ELT degree programme
- Develop the curriculum and courses which may be modified or extended in consultation with the University of Jaffna
- Conduct focused training for DELT staff within three months of launching the initiative
- Provide chances to DELT staff to participate in course delivery, potentially supporting a hybrid mode of learning and teaching jointly with PIMD
The following benefits received by the university are as follows:
- This project is an outreach project that can be promoted to schools and school communities, thus enhancing the university’s contribution to English language competency in the Northern Province.
- This project will position the university as taking a lead in enhancing the learning and teaching of English in schools by training teachers in best practice methods and techniques that are used widely in English-speaking countries and which apply to the teaching of any language, not just English. The method and techniques are not currently used in Sri Lankan schools other than those participating in PIMD’s school program.
- While each course initially will be offered as a short course, the combined curriculum can be re-packaged as a diploma at a later stage according to SLQF rules. This will expand the offerings of CODL.
The involvement of DELT will benefit UOJ by establishing DELT as a leader in initiatives to improve English language teaching and student language competencies in Northern Province and nationally.