"End discrimination against Tamils in education" -CTTU
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 18 June 2002, 19:14 GMT]
The Ministry of Education under the United National Front (UNF) government continues the discrimination of Tamil people in the sphere of education, the Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union (CTTU) has told an advisor to the Prime Minister (PM).
Mr.T.Mahasivam, General Secretary of the CTTU, met Mr. Bradman Weerakoon, an advisor to the PM, at the latter's office, and said that the posts of Deputy Director of General Education (Tamil), Director of Education (Tamil language), Director of Education (Tamil medium education) and Director of Education (Plantation Tamil schools) have been suppressed under this regime, causing immense harm to the education of Tamil people.
Jaffna district Tamil National Alliance arliamentarian Mr. Mavai Senathirajah was associated with Mr.Mahasivam in the discussion.
"The National Institute of Education (NIE), which is empowered to formulate the education policy of the country, has no Tamil officer in its top-level staff," Mr.Mahasivam told the PM's advisor.
"The posts of Director General, two posts of Deputy Director General, six posts of assistant directors are in the hands of Sinhalese. They are empowered to formulate the education policy of the country. How can Sinhalese officers formulate the Tamil education policy without the assistance of Tamil officers?
"The current practice of writing textbooks in Sinhalese and then translating into Tamil, gives room for distorting the history of Tamils in the country.To overcome this problem it was earlier decided in consultation with the World Bank to hand over the task of writing Tamil text books to Tamils and Sinhalese textbooks to Sinhalese. But the decision has not been implemented yet. It is high time to implement that decision that the World Bank has endorsed.
"The decision of the line ministry that the north-east provincial ministry of education can appoint three thousand Tamil medium teachers to ease the acute teacher shortage in the province if they are prepared to pay their salaries from the provincial council funds is an unjust decision. The central government should pay the salaries to new appointees."
The then People's Alliance government gave cabinet approval to the appointment of three thousand Tamil medium teachers to overcome the teacher shortage in the north-east province. However the new UNF government soon after it assumed power suspended the PA's cabinet approval. According to the latest data collected in the north-east province about five thousand vacancies exist for Tamil medium teachers in the province, education sources said.
In other provinces, teachers and principals have already been paid their arrears of salaries due to promotions and salary conversions up to date. However, the payment of such arrears to teachers and principals in the north-east province has been held up for want of funds for more than three years, Mr. Mahasivam told Mr. Weerakoon.
Mr.Weerakoon accepted that several complaints are valid and assured the CTTU general secretary that he would bring these problems to the notice of the Prime Minister, Mr. Mahasivam told TamilNet.