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British Council plans to reopen Teaching Centres for Young Learners



At the British Council in Sri Lanka we’re excited to be preparing for the reopening of our teaching centres for face-to-face classes on 7 January 2022 in Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna and Matara. After a considerable period of closure due to the pandemic, our students and teachers are keen to be back in classrooms to resume face to face learning.

Since the onset of the pandemic, all of our classes have been online to make sure our students don’t miss out on their English learning journey. They have also been taking part in sessions with our teachers online with activities such as Keep Fit and Fun, baking, crafts, storytelling, quiz evenings, yoga and conversation clubs. With mainstream schools closed this interaction with peers alongside opportunities to try out new skills has been critical for the wellbeing of our young learners.

As we moved online this year, our young learners in Sri Lanka have celebrated success as winners in the British Council global international speaking competition and global art competition as well as taking part in exciting opportunities in their online classrooms to connect live with students in other British Council teaching centres around the world. This term students have been connecting with students in Spain, Taiwan and Korea to begin new friendships and learn about their cultures and way of life.

Helen Sykes, Deputy Director and Teaching Centre Manager, British Council Sri Lanka stated; ‘’All our students have had a lot of fun and learnt just as much as in our classrooms, but we know that many of our learners have really missed their face-to-face classes and a significant number paused their learning with us waiting until we are back face to face to continue their learning with us. There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction, and it works wonders for building confidence and spoken skills in language learning. We know from feedback that our students and parents feel comfortable and are ready to return to our classrooms and so, with all the government safety guidelines in place we are really excited and can’t wait to welcome past students back and new students in to our four British Council teaching centres around the island very soon.’’

Each year, the British Council teaches over 100 million students worldwide in our teaching centuries in over 100 countries. In Sri Lanka we teach all levels from age 3 through to 18. We are also looking forward to opening back up face to face for our adult learners in 2022. Its quick and simple to register for our courses with an online level check and consultation to make sure we place you in the right class before you register.

Our products, developed by our expert international teams and taught by experienced teachers uses a methodology that focuses on much more than just language skills. We focus on the development of leadership and collaboration skills, critical thinking skills, digital literacy and autonomous learning in a relaxed environment where our students can be themselves and have fun learning. Students who join the British Council become a part of a global network of English learners from across the globe with opportunities to interact with their peers from classrooms around the world built into our syllabus. As a supplement to our courses for young learners we run events in our library, global competitions and a variety of online fun and free activities to have fun in English with our expert teachers. Our premises are a safe and secure space for children; a place to meet and interact safely with peers and develop self confidence in an inclusive, diverse and fun learning environment.

Helen Sykes, Deputy Director and Teaching Centre Manager, British Council Sri Lanka

One Parent stated, ‘My sons experience at British Council has been amazing. Not only have I witnessed a massive and exponential growth in his English both in terms of speaking and writing, I have also seen his confidence and fluency in using this language grow as well. This is the only class my son actually looks forward to. I believe that it is this passion for learning English that British Council has imbued in him through the relaxed, fun, and engaging environment present there that is responsible for his improvement’.

Our pre-school courses, ‘Learning Time with Timmy’ developed in collaboration with Academy Award®-winning Aardman animation studios, is hugely popular with little ones and their parents. Fun and interactive, we have weekly classes for three, four and five-year-olds.

Our ‘Primary Plus’ course for six to eleven years, focuses on developing your child’s creativity so that they can express themselves with confidence that goes beyond their English language skills. Our ‘Secondary Plus’ course for twelve to seventeen years, is packed with content and skills to build confidence and help your child reach their full potential in their future lives as young adults.

Registration has started for young learners for the new academic year starting in January. You can book a level test online on our website or give us a call on 0707521521 for more information.

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Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review



by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets



Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO



Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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