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Friday, May 27, 2011

SB rejects JVPer’s claim

By Saman Indrajith

Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake said that there was absolutely no dispute over the necessity to increase the salaries of university teachers. However, salary increments couldn’t be made overnight, Minister Dissanayake said.

Responding to MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Minister Dissanayake said that there would be a discussion on June 3 between the FUTA and Higher Education Ministry to explore ways and means of setting the issue.

Minister Dissanayake said that only 35 per cent of teachers had resigned from their voluntary posts. None had resigned in the South Eastern University and medical faculties of the universities. Those who quit the Ayurvedic campus had later withdrawn their resignation letters. The minister alleged that only universities of Peradeniya and Ruhuna had been severely affected by trade union action.

The minister said: "Secretaries to ministries draw between Rs. 45,000 to Rs. 55,000, though a senior professor draws a salary of about Rs. 85,000. As I have once said the salary of a probationary lecturer should be increased up to Rs. 72,000." The minister said that he had called for provision to allow foreign students at Sri Lankan universities so that we could grant the said increments utilising the foreign exchange to be earned.

"We admit and agree in principle that the salaries of the university teachers should be increased. We have already granted some increments from the last budget. Their research allowance has been increased by 36.25 % and those who submit a project proposal for a research could obtain a 25 percent allowance. Already 80 percent of teachers have obtained this. Please view this increment against what a secretary to a ministry receives. Their increment was only Rs. 2,800. A Senior Professor got an increment of Rs. 25,124.94 and an associate professor got an increment of Rs. 19,053. A lecturer received an increment of Rs. 12,725. A probationary lecturer got an increment of Rs. 12,425. The government could not give a salary increment to other government servants from the budget but for the university teachers were given a 36.25% increment," the minister added.