The present government is ready to identify this issue and find solutions as indicated in its policy manifestation – The Minister Bandula Gunawardana
We as a government appointed the ‘Subodhini’ committee and obtained the necessary recommendations. – The Minister Gamini Lokuge
The Minister of Education G.L. Peiris said that it is not reasonable to ask to resolve instantly the teachers’ issue that remained for 24 years in a situation that not only Sri Lanka but the whole world is in an economic crisis.
The minister said this while addressing the media after having a discussion with the representatives of teacher – principal unions held at the ministry of education on 03.08.2021.
During the discussions held today with the trade unions, the history of this issue was highlighted and shown by the government sector. This issue was remained for about 24 years continuously from government to government. It is not an issue emerged yesterday or day before yesterday at all. It is a historical problem. This can be shown as a problem that was grown gradually for a long time and ultimately inherited by this government. Therefore, it is not a suitable solution at this moment not to come to school or not to teach the children. In a situation where the whole world is challenged with a huge economic crisis and some countries are even cutting down the wages, the government of the President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has taken actions to pay the salaries of the public servants including the teachers.
It is not practical to make such demands in a situation where the government has been affected greatly in all its income sources such as Vat, Customs, Excise Duties and expatriate workers which are the main sources of state income. It is not reasonable to say in a situation like this not to go to schools and not to do teaching activities all at once after 24 years. The most affected by this action is the children from poor families. The education of the children from affluent families is continuing. Therefore, this is an unreasonable endeavor.
Even if the secretary of education was accused of the circular issued recently, it was not issued according to his own will at all. By the morning today about 85% of the total 241,000 teachers have been vaccinated. Actions must be taken to open the schools gradually after finishing the vaccination. Then the teachers must go to the schools and create the environment of the schools in order to open the schools. It was not intended to threaten or frighten the teachers at all, he also said.
Expressing his ideas at this occasion The Minister Bandula Gunawardana said,
The government of the President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is ready to identify and find solutions for this issue as indicated in his policy declaration. It has clearly mentioned to take actions for removing the teachers’ salary anomalies and to take actions for the promotion of the status of teachers. But at this moment the government is in an economic crisis just like other countries in the world. In the year 2020, 86% of the state tax income has been spent to pay the salaries of teachers and public servants. In addition to that the government spends a large amount of money for free education and health sector. It is impossible to take taxes from the people who cannot pay their loan instalments, leasing instalments and their sources of income also have been challenged. While the reduction of salaries is happening in the private sector in other countries in the world, our government pays the salaries of government servants and pensions. The vaccination is happening throughout the country. Therefore, it is impossible to do what they expect. The method for it is to allocate necessary funds in the next budget in November and implement it. The cabinet approved it unanimously. Please understand the reality for the sake of nearly 44 hundred thousand innocent children, he said.
Expressing his ideas, The Minister Gamini Lokuge said,
As a government we have identified the salary anomaly of the teachers. In the duration of The Minister Dalas Alahapperuma, ‘Subodini’ committee was appointed and the necessary recommendations were also obtained. The covid problem emerged before the implementation of those recommendations. The entire world is in an economic crisis now. Teacher service is the noblest among all other services. We respect it. Just after our government came to power, the trade unions started trade union actions vehemently. In the previous era, it did not happen. International non-governmental organizations and other influences have been involved in these actions. The Minister of Education Professor G.L. Peiris is a respectable minister. He is also a teacher. What does the child think when the teacher is marching in a rally? Because of this the children climbing trees and mountains will suffer. We do not have any issue with the trade unions. The President, The Prime Minister and the cabinet and the government have the need for resolving this issue reasonably, he said.
The officers including the Secretary of the Ministry Professor Kapila Perera and a number of trade union representatives had joined in this occasion.