Dons allege VCs violating their agreement with govt.



by Dasun Edirisinghe


University teachers yesterday claimed that Vice Chancellors of universities countrywide, were refusing to accept and implement the conditions in the agreement between the government and the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA).


These conditions are spelt out in a joint statement issued after both parties came to an agreement which resulted in the suspension of the FUTA’s 100-day strike on Oct. 13.


They said that the government’s response to FUTA’s demands, including the cancellation of eight circulars issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC), allocating 6 per cent of the GDP for education, consulting university teachers before commencing the leadership programme for prospective university entrants, a pay hike, etc. was included in the joint statement signed by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake and FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri.


Dr. Dewasiri told The Island that one and half months had passed since the statement was issued, but university administrators had refused to implement it.


"We will meet Minister Dissanayake on Dec. 03 to review the progress of the agreement," the FUTA Chief said, adding that the neglecting of the joint statement by VCs was the major issue to be taken up at the meeting.


Dr. Dewasiri said that they would also discuss the appointing of members to the proposed committee to look into the problems university teachers were faced with.


the FUTA had been asked to name two members to the committee and it would make a decision at its next Executive Committee meeting scheduled for Thursday (29), the senior academic said.


Dr. Dewasiri said that UGC had already informed them that they could withdraw only three circulars out of eight. "According to the UGC, three circulars would be withdrawn, two would be amended, one would remain and two would be discussed with the Treasury and the Labour Commissioner," he said.


The FUTA would discuss it at Thursday’s Ex-Co meeting and inform its decision to the government at the Dec. 03 meeting, he said.


When contacted, Secretary to the Higher Education Ministry Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said that they had sent a letter to Vice Chancellors of universities countrywide, last week, to abidy by the agreement.


"However, university teachers still have problem over the implementation of the joint statement. We will discuss it at the meeting scheduled for December 03," Dr. Navaratne said.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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