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Sri Lanka: University dons happy over 30 percent rise in allowance

jayewardenepuraGovernment has decided to increase the educational and research allowance of university teachers from 25 to 30 percent with effect from January 1.

The 100-day strike which the university teachers launched came to an end following the MOU reached after discussions between the University Teachers Associations and Higher Education Ministry. Sri Lanka has around 4,000 teachers for nearly 82,000 university students.

The government’s decision was officially delivered to the Higher Education Ministry yesterday in the presence of a top-level delegation including the University Teachers unions and university vice chancellors. Sri Lanka freedom University Teachers association secretary Dr Ajith Dissanayaka thanked the government for agreeing to a satisfactory revision in their allowances. He was happy that some of the promises have already been met.

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said he expected the cooperation of university teachers and other professionals in future since the government hopes in the coming years to make a massive investment in the fields of education, higher education and vocational training.

The Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa called the outcome of the discussions a victory for everyone who contributed to finding a solution to the problems of university teachers. They included the President, the Higher Education Minister SB Dissanayaka, Secretary to the Treasury, University Grants Commission, University Teachers and others. The Minister Rajapaksa said that results of this victory would benefit the entire nation including the academic community.

Following Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Higher Education Minister SB Dissanayaka’s intervention the Government took steps to remove several circulars that obstructed the rights of the university teachers and the independence of the universities as well as to revise a number of other circulars. Also the government has agreed to accept the proposals of the academic staff in entering into memorandums of understanding with the private sector on external university courses.

Since allowances given to university teachers were earlier not considered an income it led to a reduction in contributions made to the university Employees Provident Fund, that circular too has been revised. Now allowances too are considered an income.

According to the new revisions the increases will be 60 percent for a junior lecturer, up to 75 percent for a lecturer, up to 80 percent for a senior lecturer (second grade) and senior lecturer (first grade) and up to 85 percent for a Assistant Professor, Professor and Senior Professor.

Fifty percent of this increase will be paid from next January and the balance will be paid from next June. From January the increase in the research allowance from 25 percent to 35 percent will be paid equal to the basic salary.

Higher Education Deputy Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr.Sunil Navaratne, university vice chancellors, FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjit Devasiri, University Teachers association secretary and other high-level representatives attended the event.

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