» 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.
(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
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
evening, members of FUTA, religious leaders met at the
Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) in order to discuss for the public awereness.
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."
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."
should fight together and be committed to the rights FUTA demands," he added, "so
that our children can have a free education."
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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