Arab Today, arab today sri lanka\s universities open after 3 month strike
Last Updated : GMT 07:10:47
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Sri Lanka\'s universities open after 3 month strike

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Sri Lanka\'s universities open after 3 month strike

Colombo - XINHUA

Sri Lanka's academics returned to work on Monday after a three-month strike that left the university system crippled and students at a dead end, an official said here. The Federation of University Teachers' Association (FUTA), the trade union of the academics, reluctantly agreed to a government proposal last Thursday after over a dozen round of talks. They had been on strike since 4 July over eight key demands including a 20 percent pay increase and allocation of 6 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education. Currently Sri Lanka spends only 1.8 percent of GDP on its higher education. However, the Government has only pledged to "focus prominently and give education priority," as well as establishing a Presidential Task Force to iron out FUTA's main demands within three to five years, according to a joint statement released by the two parties. FUTA's media spokesman Dr. Mahim Mendis confessed to being " disappointed" over the conclusion but said that the union had called off the strike due to the distress of students. A large number of students arrived for the resumption of classes in the capital and admitted that they were relieved to be getting back to their studies."We had our exams postponed and the intake of a new batch has been delayed. There will be a lot of extra work to catch up to all that we missed out on," Preethi Fernando told Xinhua while outside the University of Colombo. Trouble is already brewing between the universities and the government over funding for the intake of 5600 extra students. The increase in students was ordered by Sri Lanka's Supreme Court after results of a key university entrance exam was found to be at fault resulting in 5600 students having to be added to the usual intake of 21,000 youth. Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Navaratne told media that an estimated 2 billion rupees (about 15.5 million U.S. dollars) would be needed for the extra facilities.  

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