Tertiary Englisg Education: Are we Producing Lifelong Learners?
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Given the importance of the English language as a pre-eminent international language today, the competency in the English language, maintaining continuous passion to learn English, and acquiring the skills associated with lifelong learning of English have now become essential. Thus, most Sri Lankan universities have also acknowledged the need to offer an English course for all the undergraduates and it is vital that the undergraduates should develop into lifelong learners of English who retain a passion for learning English even after the completion of formal examinations. Thus, this paper attempts to explore whether the undergraduates in Faculty of Social Sciences and Languages (FSSL) of Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka (SUSL) have the inclination to become lifelong learners (LLL) of English after completing their Core English Language (CEL) course and whether there is any association between their gender and their tendency to become lifelong learners of English. Using the simple random sampling 130 students of SUSL were selected for this study. In addition to semi structured interviews and class room observations, data were collected mainly by questionnaires designed on a five-point Likert-scale adopting items from Macaskill & Taylor's questionnaires (2010). Mean Comparison, Crosstabs and Pearson Chi-square were computed for the purposes of analysis. The study revealed that over 80% second-year undergraduates of FSSL in SUSL had the propensity for lifelong learning of English whereas 19% undergraduates were not lifelong learners. Moreover, no significant association could be seen between their gender and the tendency to become lifelong learners. Hence, as they have the most required propensity to become lifelong learners of English irrespective of their gender, the lecturers, and the administrators should take every possible step to make them enjoy learning English, get the maximum benefit out of the CEL course, and help them to sustain and develop the skills associated with lifelong learning.