Teachers threaten to boycott A/L script evaluation

by Dasun Edirisinghe

School teachers belonging to three major trade unions decided to boycott the GCE (A/L) answer script evaluation, scheduled to begin on August 30, unless the government met their demands within the next three weeks.

The Education Professionals’ Association, All Ceylon United Teachers’ Union and Ceylon Teachers’ Union announced their decision at a press conference in Colombo yesterday.

The teacher unions demand that, the interim salary proposals made by the Education Ministry be implemented, the salary anomalies of the trained teachers and the graduate teachers be rectified in accordance with the 2008/45 circular, talks on the proposed constitutions for principals and teaching professions, which have been submitted to the Cabinet without discussing with the unions be resumed, payment of salary arrears and much delayed promotions be made immediately.

"We discussed the issue with the Education Ministry Secretary H. M. Gunasekera few weeks ago and he invited us for another round of talks. When we went there he did not come for the meeting," Secretary of the Education Professionals Association Wasantha Dharmasiri said.

He said that the ministry officials did not take the issue seriously, but this time they would show them their strength.

Dharmasiri said that they don’t want to put students in trouble, but there was nothing left to do other than resort to trade union action.

Meanwhile, addressing a separate press conference, the JVP-led Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) also threatened trade union action if the authorities failed to provide a solution to the teachers’ problems before August 30.

CTSU General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena and other high ranking officials agreed to meet their demands, at a discussion held on July 06, but nothing had happened after that.

He said that every government promised to fulfill their grievances during last 14 years but all of them did not honour their promises.

When contacted by The Island, Examinations Commissioner General Anura Edirisinghe said that he hadn’t been informed about such trade union action.

"Unionists can say anything, but this time teachers will not fall into their trap," he said.

Edirisinghe said that a majority of teachers were with the government and they had already agreed to mark answer scripts.

The GCE (A/L) examination commenced on August 08 and it would end on August 23. The examinations department plans to hold answer script evaluation in 54 schools island wide.

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