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Thursday July 18th, 2024

Virtual education further stalled in Sri Lanka as talks fail between teachers and PM

FILE PHOTO – Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

ECONOMYNEXT – School teachers and principals in Sri Lanka will continue an ongoing strike as discussions between trade unions and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa concluded unsuccessfully Tuesday (27), a union leader said.

Ceylon Teachers’ Union general secretary Joseph Stalin told EconomyNext that the discussion on teachers’ salary anomalies failed and the strike will continue.

The strike will deprive tens of thousands of Sri Lanka’s students of virtual education.

Stalin said the trade unions collective could not accept proposals made by the cabinet sub-committee appointed to look into the matter.

Education Minister Prof G L Pieris has told the trade unions that he will submit another cabinet paper next week in order to arrive at an amicable solution, the union leader said.

The teachers’ and principal’s unions launched the strike on July 12 demanding a solution to longstanding salary anomalies and other issues pertaining to online education.

With the closure of schools in Sri Lanka owing to COVID-19, most students have had to resort to learning online, and questions remain on equitable access to technology and internet coverage.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Ramesh Pathirana told the weekly cabinet briefing on Tuesday that the government has identified the need to resolve the salary anomalies affecting teachers and principals

“But a decision on what kind of salary scale should be set has yet to be taken,” he said.

In any case, he said, the government is currently not in a position to make immediate changes due to the country’s financial constraints

“But the Finance Minister has agreed to remove the salary anomalies in a future budget bill,” he said.

While requesting the teachers to call off their strike and resume teaching students online, Pathirana said that international schools and many popular schools in urban areas are continuing their online classes without interruptions.

“It is the students of schools in semi-urban and rural areas who are being inconvenienced,” he said.(Colombo/Jul27/2021)

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Sri Lanka to conduct threat assessments for presidential candidates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a cabinet paper proposing security measures for presidential candidates and former presidents, following the recent attack on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in the USA.

“This proposal suggests the appointment of a committee to conduct threat assessments and provide necessary security for Presidential candidates as well as former Presidents,” a statement from his media division said.

The committee will include the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security as Chair, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of National Intelligence, and the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police/Elections.

A Deputy Inspector General of Police will be appointed to oversee all security arrangements.

The committee and the designated officer will work closely with the Election Commission to ensure seamless coordination of security arrangements, the PMD said.

After today, July 17, Sri Lanka’s Election Committee is empowered to announce a date for the presidential polls due to be held this year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry has said the election will be held on October 5 or 12.

Members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have said that the government should be accountable for the security of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the SJB’s presidential candidate. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.80/304.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed almost flat at 303.80/304.00 to the US dollar on Wednesday, from 303.70/304.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday, dealers said, while bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.60/75 percent, down from 10.82/92 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.60/38 percent, down from 11.65/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.72/78 percent, down from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.05/10 percent, down from 12.05/20 percent. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, John Keells, Hemas, Hayleys push turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Wednesday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.41 percent, or 48.44 points, at 11,830; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.52 percent, or 17.91 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was 1.2 million. A big part of this (Rs597mn) came from John Keells Holdings Plc (down at 194.25).

“There was foreign buying interest on John Keells and Hemas,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“We saw foreign interest in selective counters persist.”

Hemas Holdings Plc contributed Rs143mn to the turnover, and the share closed down at 81.10.

Hayleys Plc contributed Rs156mn to the turnover, and the share closed up at 101.50.

The three crossings made up 67 percent of the turnover.

The capital goods counters, with all the bluechips, was the leading sector contributing to the day’s turnover.

With the exception of Hayleys and a couple of other companies, the counter saw most stocks close down or flat.

Sentiment around the banking counters also remained negative.

“The volatility in investor sentiments persisted. There are a lot of spectators in the market over the last few weeks, despite some positive news coming in.”

Treasury bill and bond rates have also dropped.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Melstacorp Plc (up at 86.00), SMB Finance Plc (up at 0.70), and TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 40.00).

There was a net foreign inflow of 392 million. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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