Sri Lanka increase Salaries of University Lecturers
Despite Sri Lanka's striking university teachers, Federation of University Teachers' Associations stepping back from their ongoing strike that dragged for nearly four months; Sri Lanka had increased the salaries of University Lectures with effective from 1st October 2012.
Speaking to the Asian Tribune Secretary to the ministry of Higher Education Dr. Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne said that accordingly the Salary of a Senior Professor has been increased to Rs. 140,721.
As at 30th June the salary of Senior Professor was nearly Rs. 119,000 and by 01st July 2012 it was increased to Rs.131,329 and with yesterday’s increase now it has increased by over Rs.21,000” Dr. Nawaratne said adding during the last four months a salary of a Senior Professor had increased by over 18.25%.
Subsequently the salary of a Senior Lecturer had been increased to Rs. 98,761 and the salary of an Assistant Lecturer has been increased to Rs. 55,775.
“The lowest grade Assistant Lecturer or Lecturer on probations salary alone had been increased by Rs.21, 32 on 1st July 2012 from Rs.52,857 and further to current level of Rs.55,775 as at 1st October 2012 and it is nearly a 5.52% increase.
Dr. Nawaratne added that the latest salary increase is a part of the series increments that came into effect for university lecturers salaries.
He noted that it’s only the Finance Ministry that has its powers to increase the salaries of the lecturers.
On the contrary as per data the salary of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka amounts to only Rs. 70,000, the salary of a Secretary to the Ministry range to Rs. 44,000, the salary of an Administrative Service staff is only Rs. 29,810 and the salaries of the graduate service amounts to Rs. 15,635.
The Ministry of Higher Education further noted that no government in the past has increased the salaries of lecturers by this proportion.
Sri Lankan university lecturers are also entitled to some of the other perks and privileges including to retire late at 65 years of age, and upon completion of 8 years service, becomes entitled to a duty free vehicle permit renewable every 5 years, 3 years and 9 months fully paid study leave to study for Darshanapathy and Doctorates, 7 years leave and one year’s salary to further their educational activities and 42 days fully paid leave when they go for foreign countries for lectures, seminars and workshops and with free air tickets provided for them and their spouses for overseas studies and they can join any local and foreign institution and earn another salary and earn any consultation fee on consultation they provide for private companies on a project basis. University lecturers are also entitled for housing loans under concessionary interest rates and can provide advisory service to any institution and can get 90% of the remuneration received from such service. They are also entitled for post graduate scholarships and for 3 months vacation leave and 42 days full paid leave annually.
In Sri Lanka generally an external lecturer will get paid at the rate of Rs.1, 500 per hour, whilst university lecturers are entitled from Rs. 3,000 to Rs.5,000 for post graduate lectures and for additional payment for conducting university examinations, for preparing question papers, for marking answer scripts, for acting as invigilators, for scrutiny of thesis, and for invitee lectures.
On the contrary, several parent and university undergraduates learning at private universities in Sri Lanka outline that several private education houses that has affiliations with American, British and Australian Universities are paying commissions to the same university lecturers on a per student basis to fail in their exams such that those students are continuously contributing cash as fees for those private companies.
“In our private university that offers us American Degree programs, British Degree Programs and Australian university programs we have nearly 10 to 20 lecturers who are also lecturing at government universities and each class room is only accommodating a maximum of 30 students.
But our private university owning company pays commissions to university lecturers for each student they fail so that the private university can retain those students as income generating instruments for the owning company,” Shehan Lenadora a student at a Sri Lankan private university said.
Whilst Shehan Lenadora learns at private university owned by a leading private insurance company in Sri Lanka –the only remaining subsidiary of a failed business conglomerate and a tycoon - he said that similar practices are being done by some private universities that are also owned by an automobile company and another university owned by a conglomerate that is into many freight forwarding ventures in the island nation.
“I have many friends who are learning at different private universities in Sri Lanka and they also tell me these type of unethical practices are being conducted,” Lenadora said.
While Shehan Lenadora pays nearly US $ 2,000 per semester for his private university, he said government will also need to safeguard the future education of Sri Lankan students who are falling prey to private companies that try to make exorbitant profits from private education ventures with foreign universities.
Dinesh Lokuhetty another student from a private university said, “It is sad Sri Lanka has only 14 public universities that only accommodate nearly 20,000 students, so most of us among over 300,000 students who pass out from Ordinary Levels and Advanced levels, go to private universities but we learn from same lecturers - but those lecturers are happily serving at private universities since they are paid commissions to fail the future generation of our country.”
“A lecturer at our university is nearly paid at the range from Rs.150,000 to Rs.300,000 per month,” Shehan Lenadora said.
Meanwhile, yesterday the union of Sri Lanka's striking university teachers, Federation of University Teachers' Associations (FUTA) expressed willingness to step back from their unyielding demands that asked for 20% increase of their salaries.
As the union faced criticism from many segments of the public including the parents and students affected by the strike for failing to reach a resolution with authorities due to their unwavering stance, FUTA secretary Terrence Madujith speaking behalf of the union admitted it was difficult to allocate that amount of money for education instantly, and the FUTA secretary called on the government to promise to grant their demand within a certain period by gradually increasing expenses for education.
Sri Lankan government's 2013 appropriation bill, which last week received cabinet approval, has increased the funds allocated for the education and higher education sectors in the next year's budget. Allocations to the Education Ministry has been increased by Rs. 3.43 billion from last year to Rs. 37.9 billion while the Higher Education Ministry has been allocated Rs. 27.9 billion, which is an increase of Rs 4.1 billion from 2012.
- Asian Tribune -