Education should not be affected by economic crisis: Unions write to Ministry 

  • Unions write to Ministry 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

(CTSU) has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Education to prevent any obstacles to the functioning of schools in the face of the prevailing economic crisis.

Commenting on the said proposals, CTSU General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said that the number of “Sisu Seriya” buses currently in operation should be increased to provide relief to school children and teachers. He also said that in the current situation, the payment of Rs. 62 per kilometre (km) for such buses should be increased.

He further said that the current school hours from 7.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. should be extended and that the number of school days should be limited. In addition, he noted that the timetables currently in effect in schools should be revised and that the number of days on which teachers are called to work should be limited.

“We also propose to facilitate the purchase of bicycles and electronic motorcycles, taking into account the difficulties that teachers face in meeting transportation needs. In addition, special arrangements should be made for teachers who travel by taxi on roads where public transport services are not operational,” said Jayasinghe.

Speaking further, he said that in view of the current situation, the complex transfer system in the national and provincial public service should be abolished. Instead, he pointed out that teachers working in national schools and schools operating under provincial councils should be relocated, taking into account their permanent residency.

“Although these proposals have been submitted to the relevant authorities on a number of previous occasions, we regret that they have not yet been implemented. However, we sent a letter containing these proposals to the Education Ministry Secretary yesterday (6). We are ready to discuss and provide the necessary support in this regard at any time,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) recently pointed out that school attendance of students has dropped significantly due to the current fuel crisis, which has caused reduced bus services and also increased bus fares.

Speaking to the media, CTU President Priyantha Fernando said at the time: “Due to the recent increase in fuel prices, bus services are not running properly and bus fares have also gone up. As a result, student attendance at schools has dropped significantly. There are certain students who come to school for just a day or two.”

Taking this situation into consideration, he said that the Ministries of Education and Transport should work together to provide the necessary facilities for students to come to school without inconvenience.