SAITM medical faculty abolished | Page 5 | Daily News

SAITM medical faculty abolished

TO come under supervision of Higher Education Ministry
Presidential Committee makes eight-point recommendations

The Presidential Committee appointed to resolve issues related to the South Asia Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) has recommended abolishing the SAITM Medical Faculty and establishing a not-for-profit Institute under the supervision of the Higher Education Ministry for its operations and management.

The Government Information Department in a press statement yesterday, made known to the public the eight-point recommendations of the Committee headed by Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva on SAITM.


Dr. Neville Fernando

The Committee’s proposals are aimed at a permanent solution to the long-drawn issue of the SAITM and its medical degree. The Committee, which consulted all stakeholder groups including the Deans of Medical Faculties of all State Universities, submitted the report to the President in September.

With the abolition of SAITM, the profit oriented entity owned and managed by Dr. Neville Fernando and family will cease to exist.

“Abolishing SAITM shall be done in a manner legally acceptable to the current shareholders, lending institutions and the new entity interested in,” the Committee has proposed.

The Committee has specifically stated that the current shareholders of SAITM shall not participate in the ownership or management of the new entity.

“The cooperation of Dr. Neville Fernando and family is extremely important in this regard,” the statement stressed.

It requested all parties to cooperate to ensure the implementation of the proposed solutions and provide an opportunity to students to return for education.

According to the proposals, the assets, liabilities, staff and students of SAITM shall be transferred to a non-state, not-for-profit making degree awarding entity that will comply with the minimum standards on Medical Education and Training. The new entity to be legislated will utilize any excess income over expenditure of the organization for development or research or scholarships, without distributing among shareholders.

“The Government has consulted several already established non-state, not-for-profit entities with the objective of establishing the proposed not-for-profit entity for this purpose. Detailed discussions in this regard with interested parties shall start very soon,” the statement added.

“The new entity shall recognise all students currently enrolled at SAITM, who possess the required entry qualifications. Opportunity will be afforded to these students to continue medical education in the proposed new institution,” it added.

“Issues in respect of former students who have completed their degree course at SAITM should be addressed on the advice of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, based on the determination of the Supreme Court case filed on the same. Arrangements shall be made for the said students who have completed the degree at SAITM to undergo clinical training at recommended government hospitals” the Committee proposed.

However, the suspension on admission of medical students to SAITM by the letter issued by the Higher Education Ministry Secretary on September 15 will continue. All new admissions shall be made to the new entity, which will comply with the minimum standards on Medical Education and training.

The Health Ministry will gazette and place before Parliament the agreed minimum standards for Medical Education and training based on the Draft submitted by the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). “This task must be mandatorily completed within one month from today,” the Committee stated.

The Government is to immediately appoint a Committee of high level officials to coordinate the implementation of the above measures.

“This entire process shall be mandatorily completed by December 31, 2017,” the Committee recommended.

 


 

There are 3 Comments

It is illogical to abolish a legal institute SAITM and keep students hanging in limbo until perhaps a new entity comes along in total agreement. Realistic President. Premadasa lnvited his 'enemy' Dr. Nalin de Silva -refer YouTube on SAITM and history of modern education June 2017- who had the know how to draft the requirements without injustice, and let NCMC move the existing students into internship, while the new intake into Kelaniya uni. also moved parallel without interrupting each other. SAITM left high and dry is injustice as SLMC does not promote twin training from 2 different institutes though they can choose to do so. Injustice even to down trodden, is recognized by all and does not promote honor which is due to honest leadership

In 1990, a historic and just agreement took place in relation to perhaps a similar Issue, which could well be a precedence to resolving the current crisis. The astute of the time will note that this solution was the product of a group of University students who neither towed the privatisation line of Jayewardene/ Kalpage etc nor the abolition line of the then JVP/ Nalin de Silva influenced Inter University Student Federation. The solution was to award the degree MBBS(NCMC) to the batches of private medical school students allowing them not only to complete their medical education but also compete on level grounds with State Medical School Students for Post graduate qualifications. Several of those doctors are contributing to health care in Sri Lanka and abroad. From then on the new batches were recruited on NOT the minimum criteria BUT an extension of the merit and district basis requirements that existed for recruitment to the other State Medical faculties. That was the birth of the University of Kelaniya Medical Faculty. Graduates from that institution MBBS(University of Kelaniya) also serve both locally and abroad. I am surprised that my contemporaries especially in Sri Lankan academia have not applied that precedence and advised the government or did anyone not pay heed to them?! Retention of doctors in SL has been a major issue and needs careful study. Also, the best performing in GCE Advanced Level do not translate necessarily to good doctors. But those are separate albeit important issues which need to be studied and new policies implemented as a matter of urgency.

I think the decision taken in 1990 to nationalise the north Colombo private medical college is a wrong decision taken in the history and repeating the same error is not the answer. The private medical education should be established in this country. Even the GMOA mentioned that they are neutral in this issue but they are against SAITM. Even though the structure of SAITM is abolished the private medical education should not be abolished at any cost. There is a teaching hospital, there are enough resources and there is everything ready to train a quality medical graduate in the SAITM based surrounding and there is no reason to object now. Establish a solid institute based on SAITM and train private medical graduates. This will be a real investment and we will be able to provide facilities to our own children who seek medical educational opportunity in foreign countries.

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