Teacher trade unions angry over new school closing times
June 18, 2012
Teacher trade unions are on a collision course with Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane against the extension of school time until 3 pm each day.

Trade unionists in the education sector said the Ministry had forced school authorities in some areas to conduct academic activities till 3 pm, and the situation had created practical difficulties for teachers and students.

Sri Lanka United Teachers Union President Ven.Yalvela Pannasekara Thera said it would not be psychologically viable for students to study at a stretch for such long hours a day. Besides, he said school children had problems in rural areas while traveling back home, and this decision, if implemented, would pose inconveniences to them.

“Teachers also need time to prepare lesson plans for the next day. The Ministry has not issued any circular in this regard. But, they have forced the authorities of some schools to conduct educational and extra curricular activities till 3.00 pm. We are going to seek a meeting with the Ministry to discuss this matter along with other issues in the education sector,” he said.

The All Ceylon Active Principals’ Union, airing their views on the matter, said that there were several practical difficulties that would crop up as a result of this decision taken by the Ministry. Its Secretary, Piyasiri Fernando, said that it was accepted that the normal school time which was 7.30 am to 1.30 pm, was the psychologically appropriate time limit for students to study. “We have noted that some schools arrange sports activities for the students after school hours. That was not a problem. However, both students and teachers would face a lot of hardships if the scheduled closing time for schools to close for the day was formally extended. It appears that the education authorities have been forced into taking such a decision. It would be impractical to force teachers into something which they were not prepared for,” he said.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka