Statement regarding higher education ministers’ attacks on the academic community (FUTA)

In most countries, a highly educated, exemplary minister is assigned education related ministries. However, the trade union action by FUTA has shown beyond doubt that we are burdened not only with a minister that does not portray any of these qualities, but actively renounces strategies that would benefit the entire education sector in this country.

Even after two months into the trade union action, his utterances shows that he does not understand (or pretends that he does not understand) what our demands are about. Though our demands centres around enhancing recruitment and retention capabilities of the university system, safeguarding university autonomy and enhancing free education in Sri Lanka, the minister rather than meaningfully intervening makes arbitrary and unfounded accusations against academics using foul language unbecoming of a public figure.

The uncouthness of the minister has no bounds, which has previously landed him even in jail. Placing a jailbird as a minister of higher education and the meagre funding allocations (to education) in itself shows the attitude of the government to education in the country.

FUTA vehemently objects to the ministers’ uncouth and aggressive conduct and behaviour and request the minister to follow the norms of engagement in resolving the issues that we raise.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri