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FUTA ups the ante

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The budget allocation of six percent for the education sector is being considered an achievement by the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA), although they are not totally happy. FUTA President Dr. Prabhath Jayasinghe told The Nation that FUTA is pleased the government has accepted that a six percent budget allocation is necessary, but feels no clear answer has been provided for the many issues faced by the education sector.

He explained that the previous government had not treated FUTA’s demands well, and were not willing to allocate six percent of the budget for education. However, Dr. Jayasinghe is not totally satisfied with the allocation for education and spoke about the two areas he wasn’t happy with. The FUTA president explained that FUTA expected a number, or a specific amount, allocated for education and also said that six percent will not suffice to solve the issues of the entire education sector, which includes primary and secondary education along with higher education.

“There must be structural change in the way money is spent,” Dr. Jayasinghe said, adding that it isn’t enough to merely allocate a percentage of the budget.

Past president of FUTA, Chandraguptha Thenuwara also spoke to The Nation, saying that “We have to study the budget, but are happy there is an achievement after all our struggles.” He too commented on how the budget allocation for education will be put to use. “Reform is necessary and money alone isn’t enough,” Thenuwara said. He added that there are many aspects of the education system as a whole, primary, secondary and higher education as well as short-term, mid-term and long-term programs.
There has to be gradual reform, Thenuwara said, adding that allocations without a plan are useless. There are many changes that are needed in the education sector, for instance the reduction of tuition for those at a primary and secondary level of education. These affect the quality of the students who later join universities, he explained.

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