While the 2007 GCE Advanced Level examination paper marking has come to a standstill due to trade union action by some teachers’ unions, the Supreme Court yesterday made an order restraining the unions from threatening and intimidating the Assistant Examiners who were to scrutinize the answers scripts.
Court made this order following a petition filed by H.S. Rukman Senananda, a student who had sat the examination, citing Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, Ministry Secretary Ariyaratne Hewage, Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe, the Ceylon Teachers’ Services Union, All Ceylon United Teachers’ Union, Education Professional Association, Ceylon Teachers Union and Lanka Home Science and Agriculture Union and IGP Victor Perera.
The 19-year-old student of Nivaththakachethiya Maha Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura who sat the A/L examination in August stated that after the examination was conducted, Additional Examiners and Assistant Examiners were invited to scrutinise the answer scripts. He said 234,958 candidates had sat for the examination and there were 1.8 million answer scripts in 27 evaluation centres selected to scrutinise them from August 20.
Prior to this the Ministry had organised several meetings with the participation of Assistant Examiners to discuss the marking schemes starting on August 16.
However, prior to a meeting at Royal College in Colombo, trade union leaders had sabotaged the said meeting and some of the Assistant Examiners had walked out.
Then the agents of the respondent trade unions had shouted slogans and had abused those who remained in the hall. Later, they too had walked out. The trade union action was based on a demand for a salary increase for the officers of the Sri Lanka Teachers’ Service and Sri Lanka Principals’ Service. Due to the said action the scrutinising of answer scripts had come to a standstill.
The petitioner complained that the scrutinising of answer scripts was a voluntary service rendered by the Assistant Examiners for the Commissioner General of Examinations and not by the Teachers’ or Principals’ services.
If the scrutinising process was not allowed to continue, irreparable loss and damage would be caused as the results would be delayed causing delays in university admissions, and also delay students intending to enter foreign universities.
The petitioner asked court to issue an interim order on the Education Minister, Ministry Secretary, Commissioner General of Examinations and the IGP to ensure that the Assistant Examiners are not prevented from discharging their duties by the unions and an order directing trade unions to refrain from threatening and intimidating the Assistant Examiners from engaging in the scrutinising of answer scripts.
By Susitha R. Fernando