Colombo Telegraph

Higher Education Ministry Is Like A Job Bank: Jaffna University Union

University of Jaffna Employees’ Union today charged that the Ministry of Higher Education was functioning like a typical job bank.

In a statement, the union also expressed their deep distress and dissatisfaction over the recent attempts made by the ministry to fill the non-academic staff vacancies without falling proper procedure.

Minister Kiriella

“Even though the University of Jaffna administration gives the excuse that its actions are according to UGC Circular 876 dated 6 June 2006, this is an excellent example showing that this Government of Good Governance is administering institutions exactly as the previous government did,” the statement signed by the union’s President S. Thangarajah and Joint Secretaries S. Kalaraj and T. Sivaruban said.

The union charged that while ordinary citizens lack the opportunity to have their names entered on this list of persons to be employed, the university has been transformed into a place where employment is offered to the stooges of representatives of the ruling party.

“In his 2015 Election Manifesto, President Maithripala Sirisena promised us that he would permit universities to function autonomously, and that is also what the universities Act of 1978 promised us, but after this Government of Good Governance was formed, the new Council appointed for University of Jaffna filled vacancies for Computer Applications Assistants, Laboratory Assistants and so on only by newspaper advertisements. For this departure from Circular 876, the Ministry of Higher Education had given its authorization,” the union said.

They also charged that even when the Council Members stated that those appointed from ministry lists had no verifiable certificate proving the qualifications of such appointees, some Deans and Department Heads were threatened and were harassed by these political appointees.

They union also charged that even the vacancies of IT Personnel, Security Guards and Workers are filled by the Ministry of Higher Education lists.

“Is it because the authorities think these lower level appointments will cause no problems to Department Heads? Is it because you think only lower level supervisors will face problems from these appointees and not higher level administrators?,” the union questioned.

The union alleged that there were credible reports that there are agents who can get people on to the Ministry of Higher Education lists for bribes in several lakhs. “In the times of the previous government, the Minister of Higher Education, Minister of Local government and our Vice Chancellor worked collaboratively in the recruitment of staff [through these lists]. Sending the list to the party office to have it vetted, having names removed and added there, and getting approval for the amended list from the Minister of Higher Education, were all ordinary every day events those days. This time too we understand that the original list has been sent and an amended list received,” the statement said.

According to the union, with a new Vice Chancellor expected to be chosen in mid-2017, it appears that even some Deans are supporting the Ministry list to gain favour.

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