Minister assures phased troop reduction near NorthEast schools
[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 February 2006, 13:54 GMT]
Mr. Susil Premajayanth, Minister of Education, at a meeting with a Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union (CTTU) delegation held Thursday evening at his ministry office in Colombo, assured the CTTU officials that he would take action to reduce the presence of State armed forces and sentry points from the vicinity of schools in the North East in stages. He said that Sri Lanka government has to implement any changes regarding SLA troops without provoking the extreme elements in the South, CTTU officials attending the meeting said.
CTTU delegation led by its General Secretary Mr.T.Mahasivam brought to the notice of the minister that education of students in the northeast province are adversely affected by the heavy presence of armed forces and sentry points which are closely located to schools. Hence the government should take immediate steps to create a healthy environment for students to follow learning in schools without fear and anxiety, sources said.
CTTU delegation comprised Mr.T.Panchalingam, Senior Deputy Secretary, Ms E.J.Mahendra, Deputy President and Mr.S.Nagenthirarasa, Deputy Secretary.
Mr.Bandara, Co-ordinating Secretary of the Education Ministry, Mr.V.Gunaratne, Director of Education and Mr.Mathivathanam, Commissioner of Education Publications Department participated in the with the Minister, sources said.
Mr.Susil Premajayanth said he would not allow transfer of undergraduates from one university to another in future after admission when the CTTU delegation pointed out the problems caused due to transfer of students from Jaffna and Eastern Universities in the mid of academic year, sources said.
Mr.Susil Premajayanth informed the CTTU delegation about the proposed meeting with Mr.Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Jaffna district parliamentarian representing the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Tuesday regarding university admission issue. The Minister invited the CTTU general secretary to participate in that discussion, sources said.
Mr.Susil Premajayanth rejected the appeal made by the CTTU to absorb all qualified volunteer teachers serving in northeast schools into the permanent cadre. The CTTU delegation pointed out about six thousand volunteer teachers are serving northeast schools for several years. However only 495 have been absorbed into the permanent cadre leaving large number of such teachers with no future. However the minister said he would call for a report from the Provincial Education Ministry Secretary about volunteer teachers who have not been made permanent although they possess necessary basic qualifications.
Referring to the complaint that free Tamil medium textbooks for students in Grade 8 have not been distributed even after two months have passed in the new year and due to this discrimination Tamil medium students in the northeast have been deprived of their equal opportunity in education, the minister instructed officials concerned to expedite the distribution of Tamil medium textbooks, sources said.