We are a concerned group of academics fighting to ensure the opportunity of high quality public higher education for the Sri Lankan masses. This blog is intended as a bulletin board to share news and ideas relevant to the cause. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the FUTA. If you wish to post any interesting articles please e-mail them to uteachers.sl at gmail.com
Sri Lanka is presently spending approximately five percent of its GDP for education, Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake said in Parliament yesterday.
The Minister observed that it is a UNESCO recommendation that a country must spend about six percent of its GDP to develop education. He observed that the UNESCO refers to the total money spent on education, and not only the government allocation.
The Minister pointed out that when the government allocation of two percent for education is added to other expenditure of education borne by individuals and private parties, Sri Lanka spends about 5% of its GDP for education.
The Minister stressed that the FUTA demand to allocate six percent for education from government revenue, which only amounts to 14.3 percent of the GDP, is impractical and hilarious. He noted About 5.4 percent of that 14.3 percent of state revenue is spent on paying salaries and wages, while another 3.3 percent is spent on providing various relief and concession and 5.6 percent on stiling loan interests.
He also observed that almost all the countries which have allocated more than six percent of their GDPs for education either charge fees for education or have high poverty levels. The Minister stressed that the Sri Lankan government is determined to maintain free education even in the future.
He said that the allocation for universities have been increased over the past years. The amount which was Rs. 5000 million in 2000 was increased to Rs. 10,200 million in 2005, Rs. 19,600 million in 2010 and Rs. 25,000 million in 2012.
He also noted that the salaries of the university lecturers had been increased, tremendously during the second term of office of the President. He noted that non of the public servants salaries had been increased at least by half of this amount in the history of Sri Lanka he said that the salary of a senior professor was increased by 73-83 percent, and the salary of a probationary lecturer by 36-39 percent. He stressed that FUTAs demand to increase the salaries further, is not justified at all.
He also said that the university administration which was taken over by student associations in the past, is now again in the hands of vice chancellors, deans and lecturers. He observed that the present regime was able to bring the university administration to normalcy. The minister was responding to a questions raised by DNA MP Anura Dissanayake under standing orders 23 (2), on the stance of the government over the demands of the FUTA, and future measures to bring the academic work in universities back to normalcy.