CTTU speaks up for predicament of Vanni education

[TamilNet, Saturday, 24 March 2001, 14:22 GMT]
An acute dearth for teachers, textbooks and furniture prevails in the schools of the Vanni region, irreparable damaging the educational development of the childrenî, Mr. T. Mahasivam, General Secretary of the Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union (CTTU) told Tamilnet Saturday, commenting on his official visit to the north last week. The majority of the students in Vanni schools sit on mats supplied by the UNICEF. Most of the teachers do not have chairs to sit and teach. They have to be on their feet from morning till closing time, according to him. Mr. Mahasivam was in the Vanni for a week to attend meetings of his trade union branches in the Liberation Tigers controlled region. He returned Friday.

mahasivam_t.jpg"The severe shortage of teachers has badly affected the standard of teaching in the Vanni schools. Fifty to sixty percent of the teaching vacancies in the Vanni region are not filled. Only 40 to 45 percent teachers of the cadre are working. This has placed a great burden on the teachers working there" Mr. Mahasivam said.

"About six hundred volunteer teachers working in Vanni have issued an ultimatum to the authorities that they would stop teaching if they're not given permanent appointments. If the volunteer teachers struck work then the education in the Vanni would be affected very badly," the CTTU general secretary told Tamilnet.

vanni_classroom_240301.jpg"The student-teacher ratio in Sinhala medium schools 1: 20 (an average of one teacher for twenty students) and in Tamil medium schools in those parts of the north and east which are under the Sri Lanka armyís control the ratio is 1: 28. But in the Vanni schools the student-teacher ratio is 1: 40 to 50. We have already appealed to the Minister of Education to rectify this acute imbalance prevailing in Vanni region,î Mr. Mahasivam said.

A report submitted to the Ministry of Education recently by the Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union gives the following figures collected from the schools of the Vanni about the teacher-student ratio in the region:

Killinochchi zone- Number of students ----------36,872

Number of teachers-----------766



Mullaitivu zone------Number of students----------24, 296

Number of teachers---------515



Thunukai zone--------Number of students---------15, 801

Number of teachers----------320



Madu-----------------Number of students----------8, 182

Number of teachers----------184



Vavuniya north-------Number of students-----------9, 123

Number of teachers----------228



Referring to the distribution Tamil medium textbooks Mr.Mahasivam said;

ìThree months have passed and the end of the first term of schools is nearing, but not a single student in the Wanni has received Year 10 Math textbook so far. The science textbook for Year 8 too has not been distributedî.

 

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