A short-term relief mechanism a must to solve teacher/principal issues It is rather unfortunate and sad that members of the noblest profession in the world, for whom we all have the greatest respect and regard have been compelled to take to the streets, as never before, to win over their long outstanding and pressing demands. [...]


Letters to the Editor


A short-term relief mechanism a must to solve teacher/principal issues

It is rather unfortunate and sad that members of the noblest profession in the world, for whom we all have the greatest respect and regard have been compelled to take to the streets, as never before, to win over their long outstanding and pressing demands. Making a bad situation worse is that these protests and processions organised by them are unfortunately taking place amidst a huge health risk to themselves in the wake of the current speedy COVID spread.

That said, it is also shocking and disappointing to note the lukewarm attitude of the present Cabinet of Ministers and especially that of the Minister of Education, towards the existing salary anomalies of the teachers and principals, which had been festering and had remained unresolved for little over two decades – a record of sorts indeed!! As such, they are hellbent on proceeding with their agitations, come what may, until a workable solution which is the need of the hour, is found.

The grim reality is that all respective governments down the line since 1997 are no doubt responsible for kicking this vital issue into the long grass, so to speak, without making any sincere or concerted effort to resolve it. It is beyond one’s comprehension as to how any government consisting of decent human beings – a rare breed now – could have side- stepped issues concerning the teachers of the country whom they know full well as a committed lot held in much reverence by everyone in society.

Of course, like in all professions bad apples are no exception among teachers too. However, the majority in society are hugely indebted to their beloved teachers for what they are today.

There are approximately 245,000 school teachers as well as 17,000 principals who are badly affected by these salary inconsistencies that have supposedly cropped up, due to recommendations of the B.C. Perera Commission report in 1997. Ever since, many a past government had only made promises to rectify this crucial issue and today it has snowballed into a national crisis – the end result of soft-peddling issues by politicians.

In this backdrop, it is high time that the Cabinet of Ministers stop shedding crocodile tears for the welfare of students in the country for whom they never bothered to provide required facilities for on-line studies when needed and instead made them climb mountain, roof, tree tops etc.,. to follow lessons, which were painstaking efforts by many dedicated and diligent teachers at their own expense.

As of now, the priority of the Government should be to provide whatever possible relief in the short term that is agreeable to all parties and a permanent solution in the next Budget as promised, without dragging these longstanding and reasonable demands further by appointing committees which are well known ploys of any government, either to delay or shove most issues under the carpet.

M.R. Pathirage  Kolonnawa

Taking note of serious consequences of online education

The attention of readers is drawn to the on-going recourse to teaching school children via digital laptops and smart phones. The implications are the denial of receiving education to the lower middle-class and the poor, the irregular self-employed wage earning households in Sri Lanka. That is the ‘have-nots’.

Their incomes are insufficient to access computers, laptops and smart phones or to spend for the running recurrent costs. It denies education to the children of the have-nots who comprise the majority in this country.

The serious consequence of online digital education has not been discussed. Firstly it is the income transfer from the ‘have-nots’ economic sector to the middle and upper middle class where the income transfers immediately boost the wealth of the digital information industry sector: the poor become poorer  and the digital information providers become wealthier.

The second immediate transfer of incomes from ‘have-nots’ to the haves will endanger the socio-political stability of our nation. The outcome is dangerous.

Thirdly it behoves the Government to immediately pre-empt social unrest. Sri Lanka’s democracy was promoted by the British colonial regime especially the Donoughmore Constitution Legislative. Thanks to the indefatigable efforts of Education Minister C.W.W. Kannangara, we Sri Lankans were blessed with universal free education. It resulted in social equality brought about by the upward hierarchical mobility of students from the have-nots who could move up to hold high positions in the Government and the private sector. Obviously online digital education is no less than paid education vis-à-vis denial of free education to the majority of the have-nots income classes.

It is suggested that the Government alleviate the injustice to the have-nots population. Online digital education was the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All children above a designated age, teachers, school employees and their household members should be inoculated so that schools can resume. This covers parents similarly those supporting schooling activities  such as those providing transport including their household members.

Children should benefit from a midday snack, if possible a glass of milk. Also suggested is to grant  job advancement short –term scholarships to teachers of all class grades on an annual basis.

Moreover all Government schools should be provided with a hygienic infrastructure.

D.A. Meemeduma  Colombo 5

Commendable service by Army at vaccination centre

My wife and I who are in our late seventies went to ViharaMaha Devi Park to receive the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Army officials at the vaccine centre were very courteous and kind. They offered us two seats, took our ID cards and vaccination cards, got them duly filled and afterwards took us in and gave us the vaccination. The whole process took only five minutes.

The services rendered by the Army were remarkable and very impressive. Hats off to the SL Army!

A.M. Farook  Nugegoda


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