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Educators needed in Sri Lanka's rural regions

Although the years of conflicts in northern Sri Lanka have subsided, the region is now facing a new challenge - finding adequate teachers to support the newly reopened schools, IRIN reports.

In the two years since the government declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LITE), many of the destroyed schools have been repaired and children are eager to learn. However, the lack of teachers is making it nearly impossible to offer adequate education.

John Edward Solemn, assistant education director of Vavuniya South educational division in the region, said that of 197 English teachers needed, less than half of the positions have been filled. Only 87 of the 199 science teachers needed are signed up.

The majority of schools without teachers are in the rural regions where the lack of basic facilities like water and healthcare as well as lack of transportation don't make them very appealing for educators, Kandiah Muruganantham, a retired education officer in Kilinochchi, told the news outlet.

"When the appointments are in far-off places, getting there is difficult, and staying there is even more difficult," he added. "There needs to be some kind of a programme that looks into these issues."

Muruganantham added that there is no monetary incentives for teachers to educate in these regions, so many simply don't.

In order to combat these problems, humanitarian groups have been working under the Joint Plan of Assistance Northern Province 2011 to try to improve schools in rural areas as a way to get more teachers in.
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