Equal education opportunity lacking
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 September 1999, 20:03 GMT]
An acute shortage of Tamil medium teachers prevails in schools in the areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers, said Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union (CTTU). According to the union, the ratio is one teacher for 70 students in these areas while in rest of the island there is one teacher for 22 children.
Schools in government-controlled areas in the Northeast of the island also face a shortage of teachers where the ratio is one teacher for 35-37 students, the teachers' union said.
The General Secretary of the CTTU, Mr.T.Mahasivam announced the figures at a discussion held at the Trincomalee Vigneswara Maha Vidyalayam on Sunday.
He said the Government could not ensure equal opportunity of education to Tamils until the existing vacancies for about 10,000 Tamil medium teachers in the country are filled.
Several members of the CTTU, Trincomalee district branch also participated at the discussion. Mr.S.Kumarakuruthasan, President of the CTTU presided.
Mr.Mahasivam added that on an island-wide basis there was a surplus of about 14 thousand Sinhala teachers while in the north east schools the surplus stood at about 600 Sinhala teachers. But in the whole country over 10 thousand vacancies remain to be filled by Tamil medium teachers.
In the north east schools, over five thousand vacancies exist for Tamil medium teachers, Mr.Mahasivam said.
Mr.Mahasivam said that Sinhala officers have been appointed to look after the education of Tamil students in the other seven provinces, excluding the north east. He questioned why the government was not taking any steps to appoint Tamil education officers in the north east.
The government had issued a directive to appoint a Sinhalese and a Muslim as additional secretaries to the north east ministry of education to look after the interests of education of the students of their respective community. Likewise the government should take immediate steps to appoint Tamil additional secretaries to all other provincial ministries of education in the country, Mr.Mahasivam said.
The infrastructure of the zonal education system in the north east was not up to standard, compared to the other provinces in the country. A wood-work trained teacher had been appointed in a zonal office in the north east as an In-Service Advisor for Islam. These irregularities should be eliminated forthwith, he added.