Teacher shortage imperils NorthEast education - Sampanthan

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 December 2003, 19:21 GMT]
"The quality of education in Tamil medium schools in the North East province is very adversely affected from the level of primary education through the level of secondary education as a result of the severe shortage of Tamil medium teachers," and dismal student performance at the GCE (advanced level) examination is a direct result of this shortage, said the parliamentary group leader of the Tamil National Alliance Mr.R.Sampanthan in a six page letter sent to the Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe Monday.

Excerpts from Mr.Sampanthan's letter follow:

"This severe shortage has prevailed over a long period of time without sufficient attention by Government. The shortage is having a seriously adverse impact on the quality of education imparted to Tamil medium children in the North-East and should not be allowed to continue any longer.

"An examination of the GCE (Advanced level) results, would show that the cut off Z score in very many of the districts in the North-East, other than in Jaffna, is lower than in most of the other districts in the rest of the country. Even Jaffna, which in earlier years, competed with Colombo; the position today is that many other districts in the rest of the country are able to compete with Jaffna.

"This situation is not purely attributable to the war in the North-East. It is also very substantially attributable to the severe shortage of Tamil medium teachers that has existed in the North-East for a long time.

"The quality of education in Tamil medium schools in the North East province is very adversely affected from the level of primary education through the level of secondary education as a result of the severe shortage of Tamil medium teachers. This eventually has an adverse impact on the results that the students are able to achieve at the GCE (advanced level) examination. With 40% of the admission to universities being on the basis of all island merit, this long standing discrimination against Tamil medium students in the North-East, deprives them of equal opportunity to education, a fundamental right of every child.

"There are at present 4221 vacancies for Tamil medium teachers in the North-East and 4026 in the provincial schools and 195 in the national schools. The Sinhala medium schools in the rest of the country, I am informed have an excess of more than 5000 Sinhala medium teachers; according to some estimates the number in excess is as high as around 10,000. There are also 199 vacancies for Sinhala medium teachers in the North-East, 158 in provincial schools and 41 in national schools.

"I urge that immediate action be taken to recruit the Tamil medium teachers required in the North-East. Such recruitment could also accommodate, the subjects for which applications have not been sought as per the current advertisement by the education ministry.

" May I suggest that you appoint a senior official to look into this whole question immediately, and also summon a meeting of all concerned for about mid January, when this whole question can be examined fully and necessary decisions taken. It is absolutely essential that early decisions be made and implemented forthwith. There has been delay in regard to Tamil medium teacher recruitment in the North-East and this should not continue", said Mr.Sampanthan.

Mr.Sampanthan has sent copies of this letter to the Human Resources Development, Education and Cultural Affairs Minister Dr.Karunasena Kodituwakku, Chairman of Public Services Commission, North-East Governor, Education Ministry Secretary and Provincial Education Ministry Secretary.

 

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