Exams Department receives only 50% of February 2022 exam applications

  • Striking teachers/principals to not process balance 50%

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

While claiming that the Examinations Department has only received 50% of the applications for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level (A/L) and Grade Five Scholarship examinations that are to be held in February 2022, the teachers’ and principals’ trade unions (TUs) have warned that they would not send the remaining applications until their issues, including that of the teacher-principal salary anomaly, are resolved.

Addressing a media briefing yesterday (14), Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe stated that the number of applications that have been submitted so far were those that were submitted before the trade unions decided to withdraw from duties pertaining to sending examination-related applications.

In a letter dated 7 September 2021, Education Ministry Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera had directed all provincial, zonal, and divisional directors of education, and principals islandwide to submit the applications for the A/L and Scholarship examinations before today (15). The letter further read that if any student would be unable to sit for the said examinations due to a delay in sending applications, the relevant school principal should take the responsibility for it.

However, several education sector trade unions demanded that this letter be immediately withdrawn, claiming that it was a move to intimidate the principals involved in the ongoing trade union action.

Accordingly, Jayasinghe, who commented on this yesterday, said that it is not possible to take any action against principals regarding the matter, since they are engaged in trade union action.

He also said that only 50% of the applications for the two mentioned examinations have been received by the Examinations Department so far, adding that the remaining applications will not be sent until their demands are met.

“We will send the remaining applications only after our issues are solved. Therefore, there is no point in intimidating principals or teachers who are engaged in the trade union action. Instead, provide us with an acceptable solution,” he stated.

Commissioner General of Examinations Sanath Pujitha and Prof. Perera were unavailable for comment on the matter.

Nearly 30 teachers’ and principals’ trade unions have embarked on a number of trade union actions, demanding a solution to the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue, the provision of facilities for teachers and students to carry out online education activities, and several other issues since 12 July 2021.

The trade unions had decided to withdraw from all online and physical teaching activities in protest over the lack of a solution to the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue. In addition to online teaching activities, teachers and principals have withdrawn from duties related to sending applications for examinations including the A/L examination online.

They have also withdrawn from teaching activities at regional learning centres recently established by the Education Ministry. Also, nearly 5,800 teachers and principals have decided to withdraw from practical examination-related duties of the GCE Ordinary Level (O/L) examination that commenced on 26 July, and also from duties related to the A/L and Scholarship examinations that are to be held in February 2022.