ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 09

New assessment system for teachers faces protest

By Isuri Kaviratne

Teachers serving in the Western Province who prove that their students have performed well will be in for better salary increments under a new system, but teachers are opposed to it. A new teachers’ task assessment scheme aimed at improving exam results and performance of students, has been put in place in the Western Province.

Western Province Chief Minister Reginald Cooray told The Sunday Times that the main intention of the new assessment system was to improve the education level of students in the Western Province.“We have to make sure that the role of the teachers is being played well as they are the ones who interact with students directly”, the minister said.

According to the new system, the teacher should acquire a sufficient amount of marks to qualify for salary increments, which are finally approved by the Regional Education Director.

“We have placed the leave the teacher has taken in an important category. There is no point in the teacher being talented if the students are not benefited. For the students to be benefited, the teacher should come to school daily and teach”, he said. Lanka Teachers’ Services Association (LTSA) secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said the LTSA was opposed to the reasoning behind the decision as it leaves no peace of mind for the teacher to teach.

“For the teachers to get the annual salary increment, the teacher should obtain the approval of the Principal, teaching instructors, Zonal Education Director, Education Director of the relevant subject and the Regional Education Director”, he said adding that the LTSA does not approve the number of days leave the teacher had taken in making the assessment. According to the new system, the teachers are assessed according to the results of the students in their classes in the Scholarship, O/L and A/L examinations.

“How can the teacher in Grade 5 be responsible for the student passing the scholarship exam? If marks are to be given for the student passing the scholarship exam the teacher at the pre-school stage should also get the credit”, he said. Under the final category of the assessment the teacher gets 10 marks for his/her work being appreciated by the Provincial Education Director or Provincial Education Secretary.

The LTSA said appreciations were not given fairly. “Giving marks for a mere appreciation is quite inappropriate”, Mr. Jayasinghe said.“According to our belief, the new education reforms implemented in 1997 were the main cause for students not performing well.

The system should be changed, not the way the teachers are being assessed. With this system, the teachers might lose the little they get as salary increments and we wonder whether the Education Ministry is responsible for this assessment system,” the LTSA said.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.