Kilinochchi schools face acute teacher shortage
[TamilNet, Sunday, 11 February 2001, 10:00 GMT]
Tamil schools in Kilinochchi district with an attending student population of 34,300 is short of 970 teachers, said P. Ariyaratnam, Director of Education, Kilinochchi, yesterday when speaking as Chief Guest at the price giving ceremony at Bharathi Vidyalayam. He added that Sri Lankan Government's unwillingness to make timely appointments is one of the reasons for the present staff shortage.
Bharathi Vidyalayam was celebrating its 11th anniversary after reopening the school. Karaichi Deputy Government Agent Pon. Nithyanantham and Vanni Education Council chief Gnanam also participated as special guests in the ceremony.
More excerpts from Mr. Ariyaratnam's speech follow:
"We need a total of 1600 teachers for a student population of 34,300. But we have only 630 teachers. In Sinhala districts the student, teacher ratio is 25:1 where as in Kilinochichi the ratio is close to 55:1. The situation is the same in Bharathi Vidyalayam.
"Teachers who were appointed to teach in this district and who gained experience teaching in Kilinochchi schools are increasingly choosing to leave our soil.
"Sri Lanka Government has reappointed 6 Kilinochichi teachers to Vavuniya district. Of the 36 teachers who went for training only 22 have returned. 12 teachers have been given appointment in areas occupied by security forces. While 140 teachers have been sent to Teacher Training School this year only 70 volunteer teachers have been appointed to fill those places. Tamil Eelam Education Council supplements the stipend of Rs. 700 provided by the Human Development Center (HUDEC) to 100 more volunteer teachers. A further 180 volunteers are teaching without any pay.
"In Pooneryn Valaipadu school there are only two teachers for 250 students. In Gnani Madam School 450 students are taught by 3 teachers including the principal of the school. There is only one teacher in each of the Chundikulam, Nallathannithoduvai and Poonaithoduvai schools.
"The Government and the Education Department have failed to look after the academic welfare of Kilinochichi students," said Mr. Ariyaratnam when concluding his speech.