Origins of the Department of English Language Teaching

In 2017 the ELTU was upgraded to a fully-fledged academic department. This can be considered a milestone because the ELTU of the University of Kelaniya is the first to be conferred departmental status in the country. In addition, the DELT of the University of Kelaniya is the first English teaching unit to offer a degree programme. The Department of English Language Teaching (DELT) was founded as a sub-unit of the Department of English in 1981 known as the English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU). The DELT functions as part of the Faculty of Humanities. Initially it did not have a physical space of its own. In 1991, it was established as an independent unit and was given its own room in a building that was located in the present day Faculty of Science. The ELTU was shifted to a building that belonged to the Faculty of Humanities in 1992.


 The DELT is housed in K 005 building. The DELT obtained its own building, the one it presently occupies, in 1997. The building contains 14 rooms and is dedicated to the DELT. One of the major strengths of the DELT is that it possesses this building as it enables all English as a Second Language (ESL) classes (except those offered to the Faculties of IT and Commerce & Management) to be conducted under one roof. The building contains an auditorium, a resource centre, a computer lab, 06 classrooms, an office, and a student lounge. The building was recently named the Manique Gunesekera Memorial Building, in memory of the first head of the ELTU, the late Prof. Manique Gunesekera.

Vision, Mission and Values of the Department

The vision of the DELT is to make it a centre of excellence in English language education and create professionals so that English is made available to all in Sri Lanka.

The mission is to train undergraduates in English communication skills, improve their academic writing in English, and to train them for the world of work. Also, the DELT strives to equip TESL graduates with pedagogical skills, methodologies, theoretical input and critical thinking tools to be successful professionals with a strong background of research in applied linguistics.

Inclusivity at all levels is highly valued at the Department. Also, since the graduates are expected to be EXPERTS in the English language, all forms of communication have to be conducted in English and the students are encouraged to communicate in English during and outside the lectures. Also, the Department is insistent on keeping a violence free environment in the Department and we do not condone any forms of ragging or discrimination.

Responsibilities of the Department

The DELT has been responsible for providing English language support for the undergraduates of all the faculties since its inception. In order to facilitate this, the DELT conducts a mandatory English as a Second Language (ESL) course for all undergraduates in their first year of study which is a requirement for the completion of their respective degree programmes. In addition, there are several optional courses and a certificate course that can be followed during the students’ subsequent years.

Awards and Recognition for DELT and Staff

The BA Hons in TESL programme was awarded an “A” grade at the Programme Review that was conducted in 2017 by the QAC of the UGC which bears witness to the quality of the programme and the dedication of the academic and non-academic staff of the DELT.

The academic staff of the DELT work actively supporting the University’s and the nation’s efforts to improve the standard of English language teaching and learning as well as to raise the bar for academic excellence and research. Many of the DELT’s academics have published in internationally reputed journals and won many Senate Awards for excellence in research.  In addition, we sit on editorial boards and review committees, provide translation and editing services for the University of Kelaniya, conduct Staff development programmes, and perform other vital English language related tasks for the Faculty and the University. The academic staff of the DELT also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate theses including MPhil and PhD and teach on various postgraduate courses such as the MA in Linguistics, MBA, and MBus.

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