This section consists of several books produced by the English Association of Sri Lanka when new programmes in English at university level began with the opening of Affiliated University Colleges. Previously English as a subject for degrees had been confined to students who had studied English at Advanced Level, which meant it was restricted to students from a very few schools.
Prof Arjuna Aluwihare, as Chairman of the University Grants Commission, initiated a new concept of university education when he began Affiliated University Colleges intended to offer degrees in areas that would be useful for employment. The programmes also included what are now termed soft skills, which universities all over the world had introduced, since general education in schools did not equip students with the wider competencies required for entering the world of work.
Unfortunately many Sri Lankan universities in those days clung to the old British model of university education, even though Britain itself had begun to change. Now most faculties in most Sri Lankan universities have recognized the need to broaden their curricula, and ensure at least some soft skills. Amongst the most important of these are IT and English.
Many of the books here were prepared for the General and the Special English courses at Affiliated University Colleges, but they were also prescribed at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, which was the first amongst the older universities to encourage students who had not offered English at Advanced Level to offer English for their degrees. USJP also introduced a practical external degree in English, which added English Language Teaching as a component in response to a request from the Ministry of Education a few years back. This course is now amongst the most popular external degrees in the country.
Though currently there are many more readers in English available than previously, we thought it might be useful to make these books freely available for teachers and students who wish to download and use them. It should be noted that the original Workbooks were later expanded into ‘A Handbook of English Grammar’ and ‘Read, Think and Discuss’, which were also taken up for publication by Cambridge University Press in India. They are still in print (the latter under the title ‘Explorations’, so cannot be reproduced here, but may be obtained from booksellers.