Multi-party meeting held on teachers’ issue 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera 

An all-party meeting organised by the National Movement Against Teacher-Principal Salary Anomalies (NMATPSA), was held at the Abhayarama Temple in Narahenpita yesterday (6) to discuss the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue and for the Movement to intervene to find a fair solution to the matter.

The meeting was attended by Chief Incumbent of the Abhayarama Temple Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera, Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa, former President and incumbent Government Parliamentarian Maithripala Sirisena, former Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP President’s Counsel (PC) M.A. Sumanthiran, and a large number of civil society representatives.

When questioned about the purpose of the said movement, Ven. Ananda Thera told The Morning that the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue was discussed at length and that the movement would be working as an intermediary group between the authorities and the teachers in the process of resolving the salary anomaly issue. “We don’t intend to launch any struggles, but we hope to intervene to find a fair solution to this issue since we can never ignore the education of millions of students in the country. Accordingly, we hope to discuss this with the relevant parties in the coming days,” he said.

Meanwhile, Premadasa, during the meeting, said that the immense sacrifices made by the teachers and principals for the welfare of the students should never be underestimated and that their very reasonable demands should be fulfilled. “Despite all the difficulties, the role played by the teachers was immense and their issues should therefore be resolved,” he added.

Nearly 30 teachers’ and principals’ trade unions have embarked on a series 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 The trade unions have withdrawn from all online teaching activities, from duties related to sending applications for examinations including the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level (A/L) examination and from physical teaching activities at regional learning centres recently established by the Education Ministry. Also, teachers and principals have withdrawn from practical examination-related duties of the GCE Ordinary Level (O/L) examination and have further warned that they would not attend the duties related to the GCE A/L and Grade Five Scholarship examinations that are to be held in November 2021.