Saturday, November 12, 2011

Little chance of Lanka becoming knowledge hub: FUTA

Daily Mirror, FRIDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2011 21:00 Local universities are facing a brain drain and will not be able to achieve the government’s goal of turning Sri Lanka into a South Asian knowledge hub as the academic staff has not received their wage increments promised by the government, the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) said today. FUTA spokesman Mahin Mendis said only 25 per cent of the academic staff in local universities were doctoral degree holders and that if the universities were to retain the PhD holders the government should ensure that they received the increments owed to them. “You can’t call a university a university if it is not run by PhD holders. If we are to have the highest qualified academics in our local universities they should be paid accordingly,” Dr. Mendis said. The 2008 Prof. Malik Ranasinghe-Jeffrey Committee set up to inquire into salary anomalies of university academic staff had recommended that salaries of senior professors be increased to Rs.168,750. Dr. Mendis said this recommendation has not been implemented and that instead the academics have only received a 25 per cent conditional allowance for research and development and an increase in academic allowances. “We have only received an interim solution which is no solution at all. It is not acceptable, but should be urgently fulfilled if not there will be a crisis in 2012” he said. Dr. Mendis said only one per cent of the country’s national income was allocated for higher education in Sri Lanka but it should be increased to six per cent. He said Sri Lanka was one of the South Asian countries that invested the least in higher education. “Even if investments in higher education are increased to six per cent we will still be the lowest investor in education as other countries in the region allocate much more,” Dr. Mendis said. (Olindhi Jayasundere)

No comments: