FUTA in its letter addressed to His Excellency the president on 28.02.2016, has severely condemned the unaccountable action of Hon.Lakshman Kiriella, the Minister of university education and highways. The minister in his letter addressed to the Head/Department of economics of the Univesity of Kelaniya on 08.02.2016 had requested to consider the recruitment of an individual known to him for an academic post.
Below is the letter sent to the president by FUTA.
“We, the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA), have been constantly reiterating the need to secure the autonomy of universities through politicization of the university system. We were somewhat convinced of you and your Government’s commitment towards securing the same.
However, we regret to inform you of our deep displeasure and disappointment regarding a letter sent by the Minister of Higher Education and Highways, Minister Lakshman Kiriella, dated 8th February 2016 (Attachment 1) requesting that a particular individual be appointed as a temporary lecturer to the Department of Political Science at the University of Kelaniya. The said letter has raised our concerns about your Government’s policy of good governance.
As we have pointed out earlier, political interference still take place during recruitment of individuals for non-academic positions within the university system. We would also like to refresh your memory about a particular member of parliament attempting to admit a student to a university through political interference during the previous regime. We feel that the said letter sent by the Minister is an indication that your Government is reinforcing the same type of political interference in the university system.
We would like to bring to your attention the fact that Minister Kiriella has previously attempted to appoint a member to the Council of the University of Kelaniya. His conduct as the Minister in-charge of Higher Education is condemned as both unethical and irresponsible.
In addition to the actions of the Minister in this instance, we strongly condemn all direct and indirect forms of undue political interference to the national university system. We strongly request of you an assurance that uncritical political interference of this nature would not take place in future.”
– Letter sent to President by FUTA and signed by its President Dr Rangika Halwathura and Secretary Shyama Banneheke