Government reopens  universities without teachers



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By Dasun Edirisinghe and Norman Palihawadana


Colombo Arts Faculty undergraduates launched a Sathyagraha opposite the University Grants Commission yesterday demanding solutions to teachers’ problems. Pic Sujatha Jayaratne.

The police yesterday baton charged a group of students protesting outside the University Grants Commission (UGC)in support of the strike launched by the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA). The police also fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse unruly crowd causing major traffic congestion in the area. A senior police official told The Island that protesters were briefly detained.


Students of the Arts Faculty of the Colombo University launched a Sathyagraha opposite the University Grants Commission demanding that the FUTA demands be met immediately. They vowed they would not vacate the place until academic activities resumed.


The police said that they used force after protesting students refused to leave in spite of being asked on several times.


The latest clash erupted in the wake of Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake’s latest attempt to re-open universities failing to materialize. Minister Dissanayake on Wednesday told The Island that universities would be re-opened today due to ongoing talks with the FUTA making progress.


Universities reopened yesterday, but academic activities were at a standstill as teachers continued to strike.


Many students had not returned to universities in view of the strike launched by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) two months ago.


FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that the government was responsible for disrupting universities.


Meanwhile, Spokesman of the Inter University Trade Union Federation Wijayathilake Jayasinghe told The Island that the government had not honoured its promises, though the non academic staff had called of their strike.


"We ended our strike after the government assured us that it would issue the circulars to solve our problems within 45 days," he said.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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