Teacher on the Roof must Go

Minister: Protesting teacher must leave Royal

By Aanya Wipulasena


The lady teacher who staged a roof-top sit-in at Royal College, Colombo recently protesting her transfer will not be allowed to remain at the school, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardene said yesterday. He told the Sunday Times that her transfer to Isipathana Vidyalaya remained valid and a departmental disciplinary inquiry would continue.

What a come down: The teacher last week

“This was a fair transfer. It is the duty of the Education Ministry to transfer a teacher who had served for more than eight years in one school. Since this teacher has violated the standard procedures a disciplinary inquiry will be held. If the teacher is found guilty, she will be penalised accordingly,” the Minister said.

Sinhala language teacher Kalyani Dissanayake claimed at the time that her transfer along with five other colleagues was announced on the day prior to her giving a statement to the Public Services Commission (PSC) against Royal College Principal Upali Gunasekara.

The Royal Principal said the teacher was first issued a transfer order on December 24 last year to Anula Vidyalaya in Nugegoda, along with several others but this was put on hold following complaints made by the teachers to the Public Services Commission and the Bribery Commission.

“However, after subsequent inquiries the authorities came to the conclusion that the teachers should be transferred and I received the transfer letters on July 17. I handed over the letters to the teachers concerned. I was not aware that they were to give a statement to the PSC the following day,” he said.

“Every year the Principal of a school is asked to give a report on the number of excess teachers. I sent this report on December 16, 2012 to the Education Ministry and the ministry looked into it and issued the transfer orders later that month. I did not initiate the transfers,” he explained.

The statements were sought by the PSC for a case filed in 2011 in the Supreme Court accusing the principal of irregular conduct.
Mr. Gunasekara said various allegations were made against him, one being that he was claiming to be a relative of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“These teachers cannot come back to Royal College as it will set a bad example to other staff members. They will think that this is the appropriate way to handle future problem,” Mr. Gunasekera said. The teacher, however, maintained that the transfer was carried out in an unfair manner and that she was being forced to leave the school.

“We complained to the Human Rights Commission, the Bribery Commission, the Education Director and even the Secretary to the Education Ministry but did not receive a favourable reply. It was as a last resort that I decided to protest in this manner,” she said adding that she hoped to go back to the school.(Sunday Times)



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