chapter  2
Background
WithAsantha U. Attanayake
Pages 22

This chapter discusses the place of English in Sri Lanka and other former British colonies in South Asia in terms of their constitutional treatment of the English language and its usage in education and higher education. It outlines the nation-building efforts that were made in the immediate post-independence era in South Asia, with language as an identity marker. Due to the great difficulties in achieving linguistic hegemony for any single language within each of the post-colonial South Asian states, language policy changes were inevitable. During the colonial period, the medium of instruction in education was predominantly English in the South Asian colonies. The ever-growing demand for English for use in the globalized economy, coupled with the prestige and status English language enjoys in South Asian societies, has paved the way for many changes at the education policy level in post-colonial South Asia.