Dayasiri claims teacher took 24 paracetamols over hiring issues

  • Requests Edu. Minister to resolve recruitment injustices
  • Susil says matter to be resolved through Select Committee 

BY Kiara Warnasuriya

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary and “independent” Opposition MP Dayasiri Jayasekara claimed in Parliament yesterday (24) that injustices caused by the system in the recruitment of qualified, degree-holding teachers had driven a teacher to attempt to die by suicide, and therefore requested Minister of Education Dr. Susil Premajayantha to provide a fair solution to the problem.

“These teachers were recruited on 31 December 2019, but you (Dr. Premajayantha) have changed this date to 31 December 2022. If you had left this as 2019, no injustice would have happened to anyone. A teacher consumed 24 paracetamol tablets and is now in hospital. The teachers are in a major crisis because of this situation. Please provide a fair solution to this,” requested Jayasekara.

In response to this problem raised by Jayasekara, Dr. Premajayantha explained: “In the years 2018, 2019, and 2020, about 53,000 qualified individuals were registered with the Ministry of Public Administration. Some of them, with or without their consent, were sent to schools as qualified trainees. Some were taken into departments and offices under the Ministry of Public Administration, and those people are being paid their basic Government salary. 

“There are only two ways of recruiting teachers. A year before they are recruited, their General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A/L) results and Z-scores are taken according to their applications and filed in a computerised system, as per the teaching grade for which they have applied. They then undergo a three-year training period at teaching colleges, following which they become graduates of those colleges. 

“Afterwards, they are sent to teach mid-level classes. About 4,000 of them are assigned accordingly; some for mathematics, some for social science, etc. There are different methods under the same general process for subjects like English. The second method of recruitment is the recruiting of university graduates and assigning them to GCE A/L classes. They however go through an application process and a competitive exam. In rural areas, we have started to accept diplomas as qualifications as well, because of the dearth of teachers in those areas.”

Dr. Premajayantha further assured MP Jayasekara and the rest of Parliament that the problem in the discrepancy of the years in the regulation of the recruitment of teachers has been informed to the Public Service Commission (PSC). 

“It is a very unfortunate situation that you mentioned. I’d like to remind this House once more that we are behind other countries in terms of education. Singapore trains teachers for four years and they have an annual performance appraisal, and it is harder to become a teacher in that country than it is to join the civil service, while teachers in Finland carry out all exams until Grade Nine, because their responsibility to children is taken seriously, Britain provides their teachers a three-year contract, and if the class average has not reached 80% in those three years, they do not renew the contract,” stated the Minister.

Premajayantha also revealed that he plans to change the education system in Sri Lanka completely, claiming that a National University of Education will be established by combining 19 faculties to improve the process of recruiting teachers. He stated that teachers will be sent to classrooms following a four-year degree and teacher training programme.