Teachers still saying no Advanced Level
With the A/L paper marking being boycotted by teachers due to a salary anomaly the National Salary and Cadre Commission Chief Lionel Fernando said the problem should be resolved in a few months as a proper salary scale would be introduced in December.
Mr. Fernando called on teachers to be patient as the G.B. Karunaratne Commitee would complete its report on the completion of the service unit on four educational sectors -- teachers, principals, educational specialists and the educational administrative service. He said the unions too were agreeable to this move.
“There has been a delay as the Education Ministry was unable to complete the service units even after nine months because according to the Ministry it does not have the staff to do the job,” he said and added that the Ministry gave a temporary system to formulate a salary scale but it was too difficult to implement.
Mr. Fernando said that it was unfair to boycott the A/L paper marking as it had nothing to do with salary anomalies. The salary issue was something different and it was not fair by the students and their parents who are suffering due to this boycott.
Teachers Service Association Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said the teachers waited for 10 years to correct the salary anomaly and it is difficult to understand why the government was asking the unions to wait longer.
“It is near impossible to prepare a salary system by December based on the service units. Earlier the Salary and Cadre Commission gave August 7 as a deadline to come up with a solution. But they were unable to do it”, Mr. Jayasinghe added.
He said the interim proposal by the Education Ministry had also not been implemented and that was one of the main reasons that compelled the members of our union to go on strike.
Mr. Jayasinghe said the unions decided to launch strike action during A/L paper marking as going on strikes during school hours didn’t work before.
He said the unions conducted protest campaigns and went on rallies but the government took no notice. If the consequences of the strike are unpleasant to the government, it must come up with a proper solution, without making promises,” Mr. Jayasinghe explained.
The Examinations Department Chief Anura Edirisinghe said the paper marking centres were kept open and the teachers could come at anytime for work.“I have come to the end of my tether. I have nothing more to do except to await some action by the higher ups. If the teachers don’t turn up for paper marking then I’ll bundle the answer scripts and store them”, he said.
“The action by the teachers is a serious crime committed against the nation, the students and to education. There are 210,000 teachers in the country but only 2,000 get involved with paper marking. How fair is it for them to go on strike and use a small group to get meet the demands of a larger group,” Mr. Edirisinghe said. He said his Department had nothing to do with teachers’ salary scales.
“I purchase their expertise to mark the A/L answer scripts. I pay them for the service. I have a different agreement with the teachers,” Mr. Edirisinghe said. “I challenge them to go on a strike when the schools start on September 3 as this matter is connected to the classroom, not to us”, he said adding that he was sure any such strike wouldn’t be successful.