By Rathindra Kuruwita
The Eastern Province Ministry of Education has cancelled all transfers of Muslim teachers from Tamil schools, ordered by the provincial Governor, M. L. A. M. Hizbullah.
The Provincial Ministry of Education has acted on the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena.
Earlier People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) MP S. Viyalendiran had complained to the President that Hizbullah was abusing his power by transferring Muslim teachers to Muslim schools and attempting to create a separate education zone for Kattankudi.
The President instructed the Provincial Ministry of Education to cancel the transfers. If the teachers concerned do not return to the schools where they served prior to their transfers, they will be sent on no pay leave.
The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary Joseph Stalin said that they had earlier opposed the moves by Hizbullah to transfer Muslim teachers from Tamil schools on the pretext of ‘avoiding possible problems.’
“Over 270 Muslims teachers have been transferred from Tamil schools by the Governor. We oppose this because all these are Tamil medium teachers and if there is a problem, the government must try to solve it,” he said.
Stalin said there had been some issues at certain schools, where the majority were Tamil students over the Muslim teachers covering their heads. “There was an issue in a school in Western Province and the solution of the authorities have been to transfer the Muslim teachers. There is now an issue at a girls’ school in Kandy. The government must resolve these issues. What will happen if all Tamil teachers decide to leave Muslim schools?”