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Friday July 12th, 2024

Sri Lanka opposition leader bats for teacher jobs for unemployed graduates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Opposition leader has asked the government to give public sector jobs to 50,000 unemployed graduates, despite the country having a bloated state service sector, and an ongoing strike today by public servants demanding salary increases.

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said he had seen unemployed graduates striking on the road side during a visit to the North and East.

“Will they be given appointments? What is their future? Why are they not hired for essential vacancies based on their qualifications, they are asking,” he said in parliament.

“In the North and East the requests made by them I am tabling. From the government side what is the governments plan? The unemployed graduates in my estimation is close to 50,000. There is such a number.

“They have got the light from our free education, and will they go straight to the unemployed line, is what I am asking?

Premadasa said there were around 22,000 development officers also waiting from 2020 who had helped in teaching during Coronavirus.

“Actually they were engaged in the teaching service,” he said. “They did an excellent service during the Coroanvirus crisis. They have a request that if they were good enough to work during the Coronavirus crisis, why isn’t there a definite stable program for them.

“So I am requesting that they be given a proper status within the education system. When will justice be done for them?

Premadasa said there was a teacher shortage of 40,000.

“Just because they are graduates, they can’t be made teachers,” Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said in reply. “It is unfair by them and even more unfair on the student.

Sri Lanka’s teacher service charter specifies that recruits have to sit for a competitive exam and obtain a specific pass mark, and that their qualification match the subject, the minister said.

“I’m a law graduate, but I can’t become a teacher because law is not in the school curriculum.”

Related Sri Lanka opposition leader asks for jobs for unemployed graduates, more salaries

“The opposition leaders question was on unemployed graduates, with a focus on the North and the East,” Premajayantha said.

“There were mainly two occasions when large numbers of graduates were employed. During the time of President Mahinda Rajapaksa 40,000 unemployed graduates were recruited in one instance and placed in various state agencies.

Then during the time of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 52,000 unemployed graduates were recruited and after labelling them Development Officers, they were placed in state institutions.

About 23,000 were placed in schools, he said.

“Many were in provincial level. Some were in national schools to train as teachers.”

There was a cabinet paper submitted by then Minister G L Peiris to recruit them and sit an exam, Premajayantha said.

But there was no process in the teachers service in sitting and exam after recruitment, he said. He submitted a cabinet paper for a competitive exam which would then be followed by an IQ test for placements in relevant subjects. Almost all of the 22,000 had applied.

The exam was to have been held in March 2024.

Then a group of graduates had gone to court. They had requested that since they were put for training not to have an exam. The second was to recruit them regardless of their age limit, up to the age of 45.

But the according to the teachers’ service a graduate could be recruited only up to 35 years.

He said most teacher recruits refused to go out of Colombo, to schools in places like Anuradhapura.

“Sri Lanka requires a public sector workforce of 1 million to function efficiently. That is what the administration services commission says. But successive governments have ignored this,” Minister of Employment Manusha Nanayakkara said.

“From the opposition now we are being asked whether government jobs are will be given to unemployed graduates. We are asking whether in your policies or when you come to power you will give jobs to every unemployed graduate without regard to cadre?,” Nanayakkara challenged.

As there was no immediate answer forthcoming, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera insisted that the question be answered since government ministers give answers.

“It was a very simple question that was asked,” Wijesekera said. “He is asking whether they are going to be absorbed into the state service or not.

“The questions was whether he will hire everyone into the public service and create a bigger burden. If you are waiting to come to power how are you pay the salaries to the people who will be added to the public service?

Premadasa said the the government alone cannot solve the problem of unemployed graduates.

(Colombo/Jul9/2024 – Updated with more quotes and details of additional 22,000 graduates recruited as development officers, and questions raised by government ministers on how the opposition planned to pay for additional graduates hired into the public service)

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Sri Lanka appoints new Attorney General

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed K A Parinda Ranasinghe PC as Attorney General.

He was appointed in terms of Article 61E (b) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the president’s media division said.

The new AG received the appointment from President Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday.

Ranasinghe is the 49th Attorney General of Sri Lanka.

He fills the post after the retirement of former Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 301.70/302.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger at 301.70/302.00 to the US dollar on Friday, from 302.80/303.00 to the US dollar on Thursday, dealers said, while bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.90/11.00 percent, up from 10.85/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.75/80 percent, up from 11.80/88 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.10/30 percent, up from 12.15/25 percent. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, muted activity

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Friday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.35 percent, or 41.71 points, at 11,843; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.56 percent, or 19.20 points, at 3,454.

Turnover was low at 653 million.

“The market picked up a bit from yesterday but it’s still below the psychological 12,000 mark,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“Local retail participation drove the market predominantly.”

John Keells Holdings Plc brought in Rs109mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 194.50.

Melstacorp Plc contributed in Rs104mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 85.00.

Sentiment around the banking counters was mostly negative. Sampath Bank Plc closed down at 77.00, closed flat at 101.25, and Hatton National Bank Plc closed flat at 195.25.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc (up at 103.50), Bukit Darah Plc (up at 397.00), and Hayleys Plc (up at 101.00).

Foreign participation remained low as well. There was a higher net foreign outflow of 101 million.

“Foreign selling was seen on John Keells Holdings, and banking counters; Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 195.00), Pan Asia Banking Corporation Plc (down at 20.70), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc.

There was selective foreing interest on the diversified financials sector, particularly in companies that had vehicle leasing portfolios. “We think this might be due to the news of the vehicle import ban possibly ending.”

LOLC Holdings Plc closed up at 440.50, People’s Leasing and Finance Plc closed up at 12.20.

Softlogic Holdings Plc which announced the date of its rights issue, closed up at 8.50. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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