Report on CTSU and the problems of education in Sri Lanka
It is very much pleasure to us to be here in this beautiful city of Mexico. I specially thank to the comrades of CNTE Mexico for hosting this valuable conference and for their warmest welcome and hospitality. Now I would like to speak about the education sector in Sri Lanka.
There are 4 services in Sri Lanka education sector. They are as follows.
- Sri Lanka teacher service (SLTS)
- Sri Lanka principal service (SLPS)
- Sri Lanka teacher educator service (SLTES)
- Sri Lanka education Administrative Service (SLEAS)
Almost all these services face a great amount of problems
Specially the Teacher’s Service and the Principals Service have been facing salary anomaly problem since 1997. The teachers and Principles union have resorted to various trade union actions. Even though 21 years have gone still they haven’t solved this problem.
For the principals Service as well as the Administrative Service are facing this problem. Without looking at the education qualifications or service qualifications the Government of Sri Lanka (present as well as past) are giving political appointments. So far we were able to stop these to some extent by going to the court. And also union have taken trade union actions as well.
The teachers as well as principals are forced to fulfill other duties none other than teaching the students. They have to cover all the works of health department, Insurance Co-corporation, Construction works etc… The CTSU have launched a campaign against these “irrelevant works” and in near future we are planning to go for an island wide strike action.
Privatization of Education
As we all believe “the education is not for sale” but in Sri Lanka the bourgeois governments always keen to sell it for high prices. In 2008 the then Rajapaksha government started private medical college named SAITM. A degree is cost about 12 millions Sri Lankan Rupees (USD 77420) this PMC was illegal and the staff as well as lots of proceedings were illegal. A large protesting campaigns were held since 2008. At last the government of Sri Lanka had to close it and attach the students, only those who have qualification, to a government university called Kotalawala defense University.
Above are only a few problems that we face in education sector in Sri Lanka.
There are 10222 Government schools and 18 Government Universities in Sri Lanka. But the problem is that there is a big gap in schools specially in remote areas. There are 1500 schools those have only 50 or less students. And there are nearly 50 schools where there are 5000 students.
There are four types of schools in Sri Lanka
- 1 AB – Have advanced level science and maths streams
- 1 C – Have only advanced level arts and commerce streams
- Type 2 – From grade 1 to 11
- Type 3 – Up to grade 5
This categorization is not scientific, as you all know. But the education authorities have not yet taken a decision to change it.
There are 225000 teachers altogether and 15000 principals and around 4 million students in schools and 125000 students in universities.
The Ceylon Teachers Service Union is the most powerful Teachers union in Sri Lanka. At present there are more than 60,000 members. i.e. 27% and we are covering all parts of the country.
It was started in 1997 on international teachers day. Since then we have launched several strike campaigns and as well as lots of protesting campaigns. We have fought not only for teachers rights but also for pupils rights as well as the rights of free education. In CTSU there are 13 office bearers and 125 central committee members. The office bearers and the district organizers meet once in a month and the central committee meets once in 3 months.
In Sri Lanka there is a co-operatives society called education co-operative society (EDCS) which facilitates various kind of loans and scholarship scheme and pension scheme. There are nearly two million members in it. The director board and the general body members are selected for it by an election which is held once in 3 years. In the election held in May 2016, the CTSU were able to gain a landslide victory. Out of 317 general body members we were able to win 291. Now the EDCS is governed by a CTSU director board which comprises 15 members.
Even though we were able to become the major union in Sri Lanka we are still fighting to win the rights by uniting the other teachers unions. But it has become a difficult task since now.
I suppose that you know that we are a class oriented trade union movement. We affiliated to the revolutionary party in our country.
We vehemently condemn the rejection of VISA application of comrade Movrikos to enter United States. That tells us one thing, that the WFTU is in its correct path and it is really anti imperialist and class oriented trade union movement.
We should expressed our solidarity to the Palestinian people and their fight against the Israel occupation of the Palestinian land. And we express our solidarity to Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea etc… for their fighting against the imperialism headed by USA.
We know that we are fighting with a big enemy so we believe that the counterattack would be success if we stand strongly on correct ideological position. Imperialists cannot defeat us by threatening and killing. But the imperialists can dilute our ideology as a class oriented trade union movement, then the imperialist would win. So the quantity is not good if there is no quality.
Long live CNTE
Long live FISE
Long live WFTU
Ceylon Teachers Service Union