Vanni schools make do with fewer teachers

[TamilNet, Friday, 27 July 2001, 15:03 GMT]
There are only 2079 teachers to teach 86177 school children in the Vanni, according to officials of the Northeast Provincial Ministry of Education. “The shortage is more than 52 percent. There should be at least 4020 teachers for this number of children as stipulated by the Ministry of Education. The actual shortage is much higher when we take into account the number that is at Teachers’ Training Colleges,” an official said. “This puts tremendous pressure on children and teachers alike as the education system in the Vanni is struggling hard to survive under the economic embargo,” he added.

Education department officials in Vavuniya said that they had made several appeals to the Education Ministries of the central and provincial governments to rectify the problem at least partially. But there has been no response so far, they said.

Many teachers are reluctant to work in the Vanni because the cost of living is very there and they have to cope with severe economic hardships caused by the embargo. Teachers receive an average salary of 70 US dollars a month.

“This is not enough at all to survive in the Vanni, particularly when you have a family. The special allowance is meagre. Some teachers skip meals to make ends meet,” an education official from the Mulliathivu District.

Tamil teachers from districts outside the Vanni are reluctant to work there also because of the sever travel restrictions imposed by the Sri Lanka army.

The breakdown of teachers’ shortage in Vanni is as follows:

Vavuniya north education zone – 226

Thunukkai zone (Mullithivu district) – 360

Mullaithivu zone – 409

Kilinochchi zone – 694

Madhu zone – 252


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