Tamil teachers meet World Bank delegation
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 27 April 1999, 22:06 GMT]
A two member team from the World Bank visiting Sri Lanka met with a delegation from the Ceylon Tamil Teachers Unioun (CTTU) today. The team is in Sri Lanka to asses the implementation of World Bank funded educational reforms.
During the discussion held at the World Bank's permenent mission in Colombo the CTTU raised several issues of concern.
During the talks the CTTU delegation pointed out that there are currently over 4,000 vaccancies for Tamil medium teachers in the North - east province.
The team accepted that a shortage of Tamil medium teachers exists and said that current vacancies could be filled on condition that new recruits will be posted only to areas of shortage, said the CTTU's General Secretary, Mr.T.Mahasivam.
The officials insisted that under no circunstances could the new teachers be posted to districts where there was already a surplus of Tamil medium teachers.
The World Bank team told the CTTU that complaints about spelling and grammatical mistakes in Tamil medium textbooks had been taken up with the Director General of the Institute of Education.
The misrepresentation of the history of Tamil people on the island caused the team particular concern, said CCTU sources.
To prevent such unfortunate lapses occurring again the World Bank delegation has suggested that in future teachers could be trained and paid to write textbooks.
The team also told the CTTU delegation that the printing of school textbooks would in future be handed over to the private sector.
Under the new reforms five senior posts held by Tamils in the Education department had been abolished, said the CTTU to the two officials.
The posts of Deputy Director-General of Education(Tamil section), the Director of the Tamil Language Unit, the Director for Tamil schools,The Director for Muslim schools and the Director for Plantation Tamil schools had been abolished.
Education authorities had previously said that the posts were abolished on the advice of the World Bank but the officials told the CTTU delegation today that they had simply asked for a reduction in department size and had not asked for specific posts to be cut.
During the discussion,the World Bank team had accepted in principle that a Director for Tamil schools and a Director for Muslim schools should be appointed, CTTU sources said.
The CTTU also pointed out that despite a large number of vaccancies at Jaffna University and Batticaloa university in the North eastern Tamil areas of the island no steps had been taken to fill the places.
The CCTU delegation also alleged that the total number of Tamil students being admitted to the two universities in the Tamil areas of the island has dwindled every year.
The offiicials took note of the point and asked the CTTU to submit a full report detailing admission of Tamil students to the two universities, said CTTU sources.