Teachers protest 'Sinhalization' of Tamil schools
[TamilNet, Monday, 06 October 2003, 15:11 GMT]
The Twenty thousand-member strong Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union (CTTU) Monday warned that it would launch a massive agitation campaign in collaboration with Tamil political parties if the Western Provincial Council failed to stop posting Sinhalese teachers to Tamil medium schools. The People's Allaince (PA) controls the Western Provincial Council administration.
The CTTU further charged that denying Tamil medium pupils their right to learn in their mother tongue was violating the fundamental rights of the students.
Mr.T.Mahasivam, the General Secretary of the CTTU, in a memorandum to the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, Human Resources Development, Education and Cultural Affairs Minister Dr.Karunasena Kodituwakku and Western Provincial Chief Minister Mr. Reginald Cooray, said that posting Sinhalese teachers to Tamil medium schools could not be tolerated as it was depriving job opportunity to Tamils.
The memorandum said the Western Provincial Council has been posting Sinhalese teachers to Tamil medium schools in Matugama, Horana and several other areas in the western province in a final attempt to Sinhalize the Tamil medium schools.
In the first stage, the education ministry appointed Sinhalese non-academic staff in Tamil medium schools in all provinces excluding Northeast. In the second stage, the ministry started appointing Sinhalese principals to Tamil medium schools causing irreparable damage to the development of education to Tamil students. Now the Western Provincial Chief Minister has started appointing Sinhalese teachers to fill the vacancies that exist in Tamil medium schools for Tamil medium teachers, the memorandum said.
The CTUU and Tamils consider this act as a final blow to the existence of Tamil schools in all provinces excluding Northeast, the memorandum alleged.
"These illegal appointments are made without the approval of the Cabinet, Treasury and the central government and the act is completely contrary to the constitution. Posting Sinhalese teachers to Tamil medium schools is an act of violating the 13th Amendment to the Constitution under which the provincial council system has been established in the country," the CTTU said in its memorandum.