Sri Lanka bilingual education gets World Bank priority

Nov 13, 2008 (LBO) – The World Bank said one of the aims of its new aid programme for Sri Lanka was to help achieve ethnic harmony through bilingual education and mixed schooling of the island’s two main communities. World Bank country director Naoko Ishii said the new country assistance strategy was designed to be more sensitive to the special requirements generated by the island’s ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority.

The aid agency’s projects would go through a ‘conflict filter’ to ensure enough people have been consulted adequately and to make use of opportunities to help end the ethnic conflict.

“The conflict-sensitive approach is important because the ongoing conflict is a major obstacle to the long-term development of the country,” Ishii told a news conference.

“It affects every aspect of life, including development work. At the same time we can’t afford to wait until the conflict is over. We need to promote development efforts.”

Ishii said the conflict filter would ensure the World Bank, through its projects, is making enough effort to capture opportunities to strengthen reconciliation and inter-ethnic trust in the island.

One such effort was through the