FUTA dismisses Govt. document to settle issue as rather vague
The trade union action by university academics entered the seventh week with the last week seeing more street protests in support of the action by the lecturers.
Among them were island-wide rallies and protests organized by various parties which support the Federation of University Teachers Association(FUTA)’s demands of autonomy in State universities and six per cent allocation of the GDP for education.
The Sunday Times learns that there has been no progress during discussions that FUTA representatives had with Government officials.
The Government on August 10 had submitted a document containing eight proposals with the intention of appeasing the academics.
This document said that along with the implementation of strategies and programmes to develop education and higher education, the Government intends to allocate a higher allocation from the GDP in order to build a knowledge economy in this country.
“The Government has completely solved problems in many essential areas to which it has allocated funding and the background has been also created to gradually increase the allocation for education as well.“In order to make it possible to produce qualified university academics and professionals, the Government will work towards building a postgraduate university within the next four years,” the document added.
On the issue of the autonomy of universities, the document stated that the Government accepts that internal autonomy and flexibility are needed for higher education institutions. However it stated that the relevant parties at universities should not make the places battlefields where they clash with each other.
However members of FUTA claim that this document is ‘vague’ and they require something that is rather specific to halt their trade union action.“We welcome that the Government has accepted the need to honour its commitment to allocate a higher percentage of GDP for education,” FUTA said.
Based on this positive position of the government, FUTA said it would like the Government expenditure on education is to be calculated according to international norms and include spending allocated to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Youth for Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) direct expenditures on school education including adult education, tertiary education (which does not includes vocational training) and vocational training.
Last Tuesday a protest was held in front of the Nugegoda Supermarket where FUTA members expressed their dissent on the issue of the current education system under slogans of ‘State Education in Crisis’,Stop Arbitrary Reforms in Education’.Dr. Terrence Madujith, secretary of FUTA said that the association requires specific and an effective time plan as to when the proposals of the Government will be implemented. He said that the mere submission in a vague document will not resolve anything.
“Over the years we have had many discussions with the Government to bring its attention to this issue but so far we have not received a proper response from the authorities. The Ministry of Higher Education should be under the leadership of a good leader, not a person who was imprisoned for insulting the Supreme Court,” said Dr. Maheem Mendis, spokesman of FUTA.
comments powered by Disqus