CTTU, Education Secretary discuss Tamil Education Issues

[TamilNet, Friday, 15 October 2004, 00:55 GMT]
A delegation of the Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union (CTTU) Thursday led by its general secretary Mr.T.Mahasivam held discussions with Secretary of the Minister of Education in the United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Government, Dr Tara de Mel, Thursday at the latter's invitation regarding the problems confronting the development of Tamil medium education, sources said.

Dr. Tara de Mel
During last several years Tamil medium education has suffered due to acute shortage of Tamil principals, teachers and non-academic staff in Tamil medium schools in the Northeast province resulting in the decline of educational standard of Tamil medium students, CTTU sources said.

Dr de Mel invited the CTTU for talks on October 13th Wednesday following an ultimatum by the CTTU that it would launch direct trade union action if sixteen demands put forward by the CTTU were not met before October 15.

Talks scheduled for Wednesday took place Thursday between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm education ministry sources said.

Dr de Mel told the CTTU delegation she agreed with them that there were lot of problems faced by Tamil medium principals, teachers and students in the development of Tamil medium education in the northeast province.

mahasivam_t.jpg
T. Mahasivam, CTTU president
Currently a Tamil Language Unit which focusses only on the development of Tamil Language is functioning in the ministry. The Secretary of Education told the delegation she will establish a separate unit for Tamil medium education development within a month.

She further said that a special task force (STF) comprising of Deputy Director General of Education, Ms Siriwardene, Administrative Director, Mr.Wickremaratna, and Directors of Education Messrs Kachchu Mohamed and Gunawardene will address and report on the urgent needs and shortcomings that confront the development of Tamil medium education in the northeast and other areas. The STF will submit a report on November 5 and she will be holding next meeting with the CTTU on the same day, she said.

CTTU delegation requested the Secretary that until the northeast Tamil medium students in the northeast province are provided with all resources on par with Sinhala students in other province, the Sri Lanka Government should not accept the recommendation of the NEC that eighty percent of the intake to universities in future should be on merit.

On monthly interim allowance of three thousand rupees Dr. de Mel said no interim allowance would be paid, as there was no money in the Treasury, but a salary increase would be given from January next year as recommended by the Tissa Devendra Salary Commission.

She told the CTTU delegation that she would make a request to the Public Service Commission (PSC) regarding the question of conferring permanency to about 160 volunteer teachers who are left out earlier and would also get cabinet approval for giving permanency to about 820 part time English teachers.

Regarding the payment of arrears of salary to northeast teachers and principals Dr de Mel said she would advise the Financial Commission that allocates funds to all provincial councils in the country to take necessary steps to release 325 million rupees needed by the North East Provincial Council to pay such arrears, CTTU sources said.

CTTU represents ninety eight percent of Tamil teachers in Sri Lanka.

 

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