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  • » 08/22/2012, 00.00


    Professors and students take to the streets after authorities shut down country's universities

    Melani Manel Perera

    Medical faculties remain open, but the government wants to end the two-month long professors' strike. Teachers want better salaries and more money for education. A mass demonstration is planned for tomorrow.

    Colombo (AsiaNews) - The government of Sri Lanka yesterday ordered the closure of all of the country's universities, except medical faculties. It took the step in response to a two-month long strike by professors. For the authorities, such action is jeopardising students' future. For the Federation of University Teachers' Association (FUTA), the decision by politicians is "stupid and unjust" and will have as a consequence the destruction of the country's educational sector. The Federation announced a mass demonstration in opposition to the closure tomorrow in Colombo.

    FUTA wants the government to invest 6 per cent of GDP in education, raise teachers' salaries and ensure universities' independence from any political interference. Its strike began on 4 July. Since then, all activities on university campuses have stopped.

    Last evening, members of FUTA, religious leaders met at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) in order to discuss for the public awereness.

    "The educational system is going through a profound crisis," said the Venerable Shobitha Thero, a Buddhist monk. "What economic aid universities receive is inadequate. This has led to the underfunding of the system. So far, 20 university professors have had to leave the country."

    According to Sanjeewa Bandara, a student union leader, "This problem should trouble the entire population because the crisis disproportionately affects young people, who are our future, and the entire educational system."

    "We should fight together and be committed to the rights FUTA demands," he added, "so that our children can have a free education."

    "Between 2005 and 2020, the government closed 355 schools, forcing students to move to cities and spend a lot more for their education," he explained. "This government is undermining the value of education, trying to turn it into a consumer good."

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    See also

    24/09/2012 SRI LANKA
    A four-day march to revitalise universities
    Thousands of people are joining a new protest by the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA). The latter's strike is already in its third month. Religious leaders urge government and teachers to focus on students, the country's "most precious resource."

    24/09/2016 14:34:00 SRI LANKA
    Colombo students’ practical advice to protect the environment by eliminating plastic bags

    About 2,000 women and girls took part in a six-kilometre march to back Pope Francis’s Laudato si’ encyclical, which speaks about social justice. Sri Lanka is among the five countries that pollute oceans the most. Developing best practices in school can be passed on in the family.

    20/07/2016 14:13:00 SRI LANKA
    Church against drug use in Sri Lankan schools

    The Archdiocese of Colombo calls for broad partition in mass rally on 30 July. Drug abuse is rapidly increasing even among Catholic students. The island nation has about 45,000 heroin users as well as 200,000 cannabis users. It is a transit point for drug trafficking originating in India.

    30/09/2017 12:24:00 SRI LANKA
    An exhibit dedicated to Saint Joseph the Apostle of Sri Lanka

    Catechism students from three parishes have set up 15 stands, made of different materials and with digital media. The preparation lasted two months. Parish priest of Bolawalana: "Young people are our future". Two students: "We did not know where to start and we prayed to St. Joseph. And he also gave us good weather. "

    21/09/2006 SRI LANKA
    Catholic Church alarmed country might fall "into a state of anarchy"
    The archbishop of Colombo voices local clergy's concerns about the escalating violence in the country's north-east, calling on the authorities to shed light on the disappearance of Fr Jim Brown.

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