"Please sir, can I have some chalk?"

A pretty common request in any school, but very surprising to hear spoken in English within the walls of a small, rural school in Sri Lanka.

But perhaps not, given the English teacher at Kiula School became Principal early in 2013. 

Since then, he has encouraged all the pupils to interact with him in English.

He says he did it to give them some context for a language they currently don't hear outside their classrooms and therefore don't really understand the need to learn.

But it seemed like a very far sighted move for SRI Directors, Jackie and Jonathan, visiting the school for the first time in November 2013.

The area around Hambantota is on a developmental cusp and a number of hotels setting up in the area have already found that demand for English speaking staff  outstrips supply.

The Principal says his priories for the school are to repair classrooms, ensure a better water supply and to get a photocopier as the nearest shop is more than three kilometres away.