realistic salary for WP teachers of differently abled ignored
* Rs 3,000 allowance enough to cover transport
International Womenís Day tomorrow
by Shamindra Ferdinando
While politicians and NGOs preached on womenís rights
regularly and hold extravagant functions to mark the annual
International Womenís Day on March 8 (tomorrow), a group of
teachers, mostly women who had been employed as teacher
assistants by the Western Provincial Council to educate
differently abled children, had been paid a mere Rs 3,000
They accused successive governments of turning a blind eye to
their grievances and sending them from pillar to post for over a
decade. Sky rocketing cost-of-living fuelled by sharp increase
in fuel, gas and the forthcoming electricity hike had made the
Rs. 3,000 allowance irrelevant, the sources said.
Despite repeated pledges by successive governments, no
tangible action had been taken to at least provide them with a
reasonable allowance. They said ministries and NGOs, which focus
on the differently abled, too, should take up this issue.
The Island recently received a set of documents which
revealed the pathetic case of a young woman who had been
teaching mentally retarded children for over 12 years for a
paltry Rs 3,000 allowance. The sources said it wasnít an
isolated case. In fact, the entire teaching staff looking
after the mentally retarded children in the Western Province had
been denied a realistic allowance. The sources asserted that
their allowance would be perhaps the lowest paid to any category
of workers. Even a municipality labourer would be on a better
payment scheme, the sources said.
Although the Education Ministry had assured them permanent
appointments, after their plight was brought to the notice of
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in early March last year, no
tangible action had been taken to keep that promise, the sources
The affected teacher assistants are attached to Colombo,
Piliyandala, Homagama and Jayawardenepura.
The sources said that the Education Ministry had rejected the
possibility of accommodating them on a permanent cadre on the
basis of the Teachersí Service Minute. The sources said that
there was absolutely no dispute with the ministry. If they
couldnít absorb them onto the permanent cadre, they could at
least provide them with a realistic allowance. The sources said
there was no point in fighting over categorization of the
teacher assistants. The urgent need was to increase their
allowance without further delay, the sources said.
The sources said their plight had been also brought to the
notice of Reginald Cooray, Dallas Alahapperuma, Wimal Weerawansa,
Lakshman Nipunaarachchi, G. L. Peiris, Jeevan Kumaratunga and
Susil Premjayanth, but the issue hadnít been resolved, the
sources said. Although Susil Premjayanth, Reginald Cooray and G.
L. Peiris had moved up the political ladder, the teacher
assistants whose problem they promised to resolve remained an
uncared lot, the sources said.
The sources said they were still hoping for justice 11 years
after they were promised permanent employment by the Western