Tamil medium teachers still receive Sinhala only letters

[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 August 2003, 20:53 GMT]
Tamil medium teachers and principals in Sri Lanka, especially in the northeast province where Tamil is the main medium in schools, are still undergoing untold hardships in transacting official business with the relevant departments as the central ministry of education and other related departments still correspond with them only in the Sinhalese language, the Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union (CTTU)'s General Secretary, Mr.T.Mahasivam, said.

Soon after the assumption of power by the UNF government in Sri Lanka in December, 2001, Education Minister Dr.Karunasena Kodituwakku gave an assurance to the CTTU, a major trade union for Tamil teachers, that he would take immediate steps to conduct official business with Tamil medium teachers in the country in the Tamil language and not in the Sinhala language as done in the past.

However, the central ministry of education still corresponds with Tamil medium principals and teachers only in the Sinhala language, CTTU sources said.

At a conference held at the Education Ministry office in Colombo Thursday and attended by about 150 representatives from more than 40 teacher trade unions in the country, the CTTU’s general secretary, Mr.Mahasivam, brought to the notice of the Minister that even now Tamil medium principals and teachers receive letters and circulars from the ministry and other related government departments in the Sinhala language only.

Mr.Mahasivam said he received even the invitation for the conference from the Minister in the Sinhala language and not even a translation was enclosed. That was why he did not send his trade union proposals in advance to the ministry, Mr.Mahasivam replied to a query by Minister Dr.Karunasena Kodituwakku, sources said.

" I did not understand what was written in the ministry's invitation as it was in Sinhala," Mr.Mahasivam told the Minister. Immediately Minister queried from the official concerned why he did not send the invitation for the conference in Tamil.

The Minister promised that in future he would see that correspondence with Tamil medium teachers and principals would be kept in Tamil language.

CTTU sources said Minister had given such promises several times earlier but such promises had not been kept.


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