Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage, S.B. Dissanayake submitted a draft bill and the Cabinet approved to recognize sign language as an official language in Sri Lanka. S.B. Dissanayake - Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage
Minister Dissanayake had pointed out that official recognition of sign language will allow a deaf person access to education and have government services delivered to them without discrimination. Official statistics estimate the population of deaf persons to be 389,677. Furthermore, the National Policy on Disabilities has accepted that sign language more often than not is the only language of communication for deaf persons.
"In the meantime”, Minister Dissanayake said, “we have initiated a programme to train 50 persons in Sign Language at the School of Social Services. They would be given training in modern Sign Language. We will enroll another batch of 50 students soon. At the end of the training they could become the next batch of trainers.”
"There are around 400,000 persons in the country who use some form of sign language for communication. At the moment there are less than 10 persons who are proficient in Sign Language known all over the world.