After the Peradeniya ELTU, was established in 1986, each faculty was furnished with a service unit of its own headed by a coordinator. The present coordinator of the ELTU is Ms. Chintha Ellawala. The aim of the ELTU/Med. has been to help improve the English Language skills of the medical undergraduates in order to assist them with the transition from mother tongue instruction in the secondary schools, to English medium instruction in the Faculty of Medicine. In order to achieve this goal, the ELTU conducts a pre-sessional Intensive Course in English and an Ongoing English course where the students are taught ESP (English for Specific Purposes) and EAP (English for Academic Purposes)
The Current ELT Programme in the Faculty of Medicine
The intensive course is conducted for approximately ten weeks, during which the students are exposed to four hours of face to face teaching and two hours of informal teaching everyday. The two hour slot of informal teaching includes speech activities, drama, debates etc. aimed at improving their speaking skills. During the four hour slot, the students are taught Reading, Writing, Listening and Speech. A Placement Test is held before the commencement of the Intensive Course to ascertain the level of proficiency of the new entrants. At the end of the course, an Achievement Test is held to gauge their level of improvement. During the Intensive Course, the students get around 250 hours of English instruction and student participation is very high, resulting in a clear improvement in their competence.
After the Intensive Course, there is an Ongoing Course which commences with the regular academic programme. This course is an EAP course where the students are taught the English skills deemed necessary to understand each module of their academic course. This course is conducted during the first and second years. Students are required to sit an English bar exam (Y2 S2) at the end of the second year of studies. A pass in this exam is compulsory to proceed to the third year. In addition, an attendance of 80% is mandatory to sit the exams held at the end of the first and second years.
Other Services Provided
The ELTU conducts an IELTS preparatory course for medical graduates to help them obtain the required band score to purse higher studies or proceed abroad for training.
The ELTU conducts a four month English Course in Writing and Speaking for the non-academic staff of the medical faculty. An advanced course is planned for the future.
This service unit is always prepared to help students, staff and the rest of the university community to improve their competence in English.
Suggested Improvements for the Future
Although there is a significant improvement in the English Language competence of the majority of students, there are still a few whose competence remains low.
It is proposed that this group be identified early and be given extra attention during and after the Intensive Course.
It is also felt that all students should be encouraged to do self learning during their spare time through IT based learning facilities to enhance their levels of proficiency.
Students need to be motivated to improve their competence in the language so as to enable them to face international Language Tests such as ITELS and TOEFL with greater confidence and obtain the required band score to pursue postgraduate studies or proceed for overseas training.