Education Ministry invites CTTU for talks to avert strike

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 October 2004, 14:31 GMT]
Ms Tara de Mel, Secretary to the Ministry Education in the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government has invited the Ceylon Tamil Teachers’ Union (CTTU) for talks on 13 October at her office in Colombo to resolve problems confronting the Tamil medium education and Tamil medium teachers and students in the northeast and in other provinces. President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge is also holding the portfolio of Minister of Education. Her deputy Minister for Education is Mr.Mangala Samaraweera who is also the Minister for Media.

mahasivam_t.jpgHer invitation is in response to an ultimatum issued by the CTTU to the UPFA government that it would resort to direct trade union action if its demands are not met before October 15, CTTU General Secretary Mr.T.Mahasivam said.

Demands put forward by CTTU include that the promise given earlier to remove all distorted versions of the history of Tamils in the country from Tamil medium school text book has not been implemented. Tamil medium students still being taught based on such textbooks without rectifying the distorted versions.

Other demands follow: -

  • According to the Ceasefire Agreement all government schools occupied by the government security forces should be handed over to the Department of Education. Even after more than thirty months have passed since the CFA came into force, more than one hundred schools are still in the control of State armed forces. All such schools should be handed over to the Education Department without delay.
  • No constructive step has been taken to reconstruct and rehabilitate the affected, displaced and destroyed schools in the northeast due to the two decade-old war.
  • Teachers in the northeast are not paid salaries in time. North East Provincial Council needs 325 million rupees to pay arrears of salary to teachers and principals. But the Line Ministry in Colombo never treats the NEPC, in the same manner as other provincial councils in the country. It has become a routine for the Line Ministry and NE Provincial Education Ministry to wait till teachers and principals in the northeast to go on a strike to get their arrears of salary and other benefits.
  • Payment of distress loan, cycle loan, vehicle loan and five years’ salary as loan to build houses are not paid to teachers and principals in the northeast as in the other seven provinces in the country. This discrimination should be stopped forthwith.
  • Special examination was held to recruit officers to the Sri Lanka Educational Administrative Service to fill all vacancies exist in the northeast. Several months have passed and the results have not been released although there is severe dearth for SLEAS officers in the NE province.
  • Discrimination is shown to Tamil and Muslim teachers in the promotion of principals to Class 1, II and III of the Sri Lanka Principal Service.
  • Sinhalese who do not know single alphabet in Tamil language are appointed as principals and teachers to Tamil medium schools outside the northeast province. Even Sinhalese are appointed as non-academic staff to Tamil medium schools in the south of the country. This practice should be stopped forthwith.
  • Anomalies in salary scales of teachers and principals should be rectified.
  • Salary increase has not been given to teachers and principals with effect from 1.1.1998. We demand a salary increase. Until then an interim monthly allowance of Rs: 3000/= should be given immediately.
  • Permanent appointment to 820 part-time English teachers in northeast schools should be given without delay as promised. 160 volunteer teachers also should be given permanent appointment.
  • Education supervision of Tamil medium schools in other provinces except NE is carried out by officers who are not proficient in Tamil language, resulting in discriminating Tamil medium education and also depriving equal opportunity in education.

     

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