The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) expressed deep displeasure and disappointment regarding a letter sent by Minister of Higher Education and Highways, Lakshman Kiriella, ordering that a particular individual be appointed as a temporary lecturer to the Department of Political Science at the University of Kelaniya.
The said letter (CO/SA/02/NA/UE – 40) sent on February 08 by Speaker of the House, Kiriella to Head of the Department of Economics of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Kelaniya, Prof. Upali Hettiarachchi states that K.P.D.D. Amarasinghe of Watte Walawwa, Doranegama, Medawala, Harispaththuwa, is a person personally known to Kiriella and informs Prof. Hettiarachchi to inspect Amarasinghe’s qualifications and take steps to appoint Amarasinghe as a temporary lecturer of political science.
Writing to President Maithripala Sirisena, the FUTA condemned Kiriella’s conduct as unethical and irresponsible.
Whilst strongly condemning all direct and indirect forms of undue political interference to the national university system, the FUTA reiterated the need to secure the autonomy of universities through the de-politicization of the university system.
The said letter has raised concerns about the Government’s policy of good governance, the FUTA explained, adding that political interference was still taking place during the recruitment of individuals for non-academic positions within the university system.
Kiriella previously attempted to appoint a member to the Council of the University of Kelaniya, the FUTA remarked.
President of the FUTA, Dr. Rangika Halwathura said that such moves should not be repeated henceforth.
“As the initial step, we totally condemn and criticize this move and we have informed the President of the gravity of such,” he added.