Teachers allege discrimination | Sunday Observer
British School in Colombo:

Teachers allege discrimination

25 October, 2020

Teachers of the British School in Colombo have sent a petition to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa alleging discriminatory treatment to the local staff by the management of the school.

In a letter addressed to the President, and copied to the Education and Foreign Affairs Ministers and the British High Commissioner, they complained of several discriminatory acts including the hiring of under-qualified expat teachers.

They state that the usual practice is to advertise any available vacancies internally, giving all staff an opportunity to apply and be interviewed for selection.

However, without following the due process, the management ‘over the counter’ hired an under qualified foreign national to teach Year five students, they allege, adding that some of the expat teachers are ‘not up to standard and their teaching levels poor.’

They also stated that the management harassed the local teachers to an extent of making them want to resign.

They also alleged that the incentives for the local teachers for the school year ending in June 2020, had not been paid citing lack of budgetary allocations despite their hard work, and teaching pupils online from March to June adapting to the new systems.

Nevertheless the school fees were not reduced as the parents struggled to pay it while the school had purchased a new luxury bus, they allege.

The annual increase of school fees is disproportionate to the annual salary increments granted to teachers, they claimed. The school fee is annually increased by a percentage on the pretext of payment of salary increments for the staff but only a Rs. 3,000 flat rate was given to all the staff in 2019, the teachers alleged.

In the Reception, Year one and two curriculum had been changed allowing students play school- day-long without teaching the proper curriculum, they alleged, adding that students were promoted to higher Grades without achieving the expected levels of skill, knowledge and competency.

They stated that a percentage of school fees is waived from the children of the staff depending on their service. A child would get 100% fee waiver only if the staff member had ten years of experience. However, according to the petition the Principal had offered complete fee waiver for the children of certain new expat staff members.

However, the Colombo British School Principal Dr John Scarth in his response has denied all the allegations. “The school has very good communications within it,” said Dr Scarth adding, “I can honestly say that these concerns have never been raised with me. I do not recognise any of the allegations as accurate for our school.”