I’m Nipuna Jeewanthaka Wadimuna, a student from Peradeniya Medical Faculty. I was born in Madawachchiya in 1991 and faced my advanced level examination at Anuradhapura Central College. And got selected to the Peradeniya Medical Faculty. I write in response to the article published on Colombo Telegraph on 22nd of March, 2017, by someone who claims him to be known as Sarath Bandara, a final year medical student from Peradeniya Medical Faculty. I was bit surprised after reading his article, because most of the details he has written are deceptive and manipulated facts to win the sympathy of people, while misleading the readers creating a defective picture regarding our faculty. As a student from Anuradhapura area who has come to this state through commitment and dedication I feel guilty to be silent at this occasion and I feel like I’m the best one to answer these false allegations he has made.
Firstly I could not find anyone known as Sarath Bandara from Anuradhapura area in any of the recent batches in the Peradeniya Medical faculty either from senior or junior batches of mine. It is not difficult to find students from Anuradhapura area, because they are of limited numbers in each batch. that in mine, there are only 3 students from Anuradhapura Central College. According to Sarath he is from a village called Radagama, and as a resident in Anuradhapura, I have never heard of such a village at 10 km proximity to Anuradhapura town. He says that he couldn’t enter the Anuradhapura Central College before grade 5 scholarship examination because his house is 10 km away from the school. But in fact ANURADHAPURA CENTRAL COLLEGE doesn’t have a primary section that it has classes only from grade 6 to A/L s and distance is not a barrier for you to enter the school as far as you have good Grade 5 scholarship exam or O/L s results or have special achievements in sports. Best evidence to support this is that I and my two fellow batch mates. Nirosh Priyankara and Harshana Guruge are about 50 km, 60 km & 80km away from ANURADHAPURA CENTRAL COLLEGE respectively.
It is a manipulated fact that he is trying to show Anuradhapura Central College has very limited number of A passes for Mathematics & Science in O/L s. I don’t understand his intension of showing these deceptive information. Most of the students at Anuradhapura Central College have A grades for mathematics and Science and they are not that rare as Sarath has stated in his article. Every year Anuradhapura Central College’s O/L s results are among the top 20 schools in the country. I remember one year it had the Island’s best O/L s results in English medium. Anuradhapura Central College has a high demand from the students to study Bio Science and Mathematics (physical sciences) streams in their A/L s because the school has shown the best results in the district for many years.
I suppose that the age he states in the article at several occasions are far from true values, as no one can be delayed to such extent in our country. I also agree that there are delays. But staying for 4 years after A/L s exam is a big lie. I’m a final year medical student and my age still is 25 years and 8 months, I wonder how on earth Sarath be 32 when he pass out from the faculty.
If you want to do you’re A/L s in Bio science or Mathematics streams in Anuradhapura you have no option other than to come to the town area, because most of the peripheral schools do not have necessary facilities. Anuradhapura being the biggest district in the country, it is not a strange fact that you have to move a lot of distance to come to the town. I had to travel more than 50 km everyday by two buses to go to the school, because I did not want to stay at hostels. And my fellow batch mate, Lasantha, had to travel about 80km to come to the school. Most of the people in our district are not rich and face numerous difficulties financially and socially, but we do not want to write our stories to beg sympathy from the public. For example my other batch mate Nirosh’s father who was the breadwinner of the family, was a victim of the chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology and it is not uncommon in our area. Despite several difficulties he was able to get through the exam and got selected to the medical faculty with 3As. His father passed away when he was at 1st year. But he has never begged sympathy from you. My other batch mate Lasantha was from Padaviya and they have suffered a lot from the LTTE arracks before 2009, but somehow he was able to enter the medical faculty after obtaining 3As.
I was amazed to hear him stating that he was ragged in the Peradeniya medical faculty. I can 100% guarantee that our medical faculty is a zero rag faculty like most of other medical faculties in Sri Lanka. Our seniors didn’t rag us by any means. But there was a well-planned system to get to know our batch mates and seniors, by means of extracurricular activities like cultural events, where everyone had to work together, sharing and caring for each other. It was a wonderful experience which will never be forgotten. I can still remember the New Year festival of the faculty, where we the fresher got into teams with other senior and staff and get involved in the events. In May 2013 we built a “Wesak Kuduwa” at Galaha junction from our batch. It is the biggest Wesak lantern in Kandy area and is built annually by 1st year students of our faculty. It was a good opportunity for us to show our artistic skills and also to work as a team, getting to know each other. We had to work till late night and even students from Kandy area came to stay in our hostels. So it is not true to say that hostels are strange places to Kandy students of the batch. Even seniors came to help us by every way they could. Money for the Wesak lantern is earned by selling wesak cards by seniors, so that finding money was not a burden to us. Medical Faculty Students union’s cultural subcommittee arranges cultural events every month like “Kujadawa”, short drama festivals, where we can write dramas and stage them. Panel of judges will come from the arts faculty and we were lucky to get advices from great professors like Liyanage Amarakeerthi and they helped us to improve our skills and talents. Environmental subcommittee arranges hikes and students from all batches can participate in them, where we can interact with them. Faculty meet which is organized annually by the students union, was a golden opportunity for our talents and also to get to know about seniors, lecturers and helped us to get used to the university subculture. Fresher’s sports meet organized by the Physical education department of our university and the Peradeniya students’ union was also a nice experience. We has the chance to work with students of the 8 other faculties of our university. I also see this as a privilege enjoyed only by Peradeniya university students. I was able to make many friends from other faculties, even they help me up to now by the means they could. Peradeniya University is the most beautiful university in the country, with this beautiful calm and quiet environment and taking part in above mentioned activities I have enjoyed my stay at this university so far.
When we focus our attention on the academics of our faculty, currently we are using 06 hospitals for our clinical training, namely they are Kegalle Teaching Hospital, Mawanella Base hospital, Gampola Base Hospital, Sirimavo Bandaranaike Specialized Children’s Hospital- Peradeniya, Kandy Teaching Hospital, and Peradeniya Teaching Hospital. It comprises of 16 departments and 11 units including the Nuclear Medicine unit. Academic staff and Non-academic staff are very friendly and help us to learn effectively. Seniors and other batch mates help us with the “Kuppi” classes, which is an important part in university subculture and reflects the morals like helping each other. We had an English training programme of one month duration and with the help of friends and academic staff I managed to get used to this academic programme within about 2 months. I had the fear that I will fail at the 1st semester exam because my English language was not so good at the time I entered this faculty, but I was able to show a good progress by two months and was able to pass every exam in the faculty in my first attempt. Findings books was not a big problem to us that many seniors gave their text books after their exams and having the largest and well updated medical library in the country, we are lucky enough to have every book we need in the library.
Clinical training is very hard at the beginning, but I have realized that this training is mandatory to work as a doctor so I have dedicated a lot. Exams too were difficult as they should be, because we deal with the lives of the patients and only the ones with the knowledge and skills should pass. After finishing 04 years at this faculty and I’m at the final year. I have humble pride that I have managed to come so far and also recollecting the past memories at this wonderful place, gives me mere satisfaction and motivation to work hard and go for my target of becoming a good doctor to this country. After seeing the article written by Sarath Bandara I could not help myself from writing a reply because of the manipulated facts he has shown throughout his article, on his way of creating a false image about the place I love the most. I see this cheap attempt as another low grade act like the shooting drama by the SAITM.
This story was written by three NCP students in the Medical Faculty who wished to highlight the problems faced by students from rural areas as a response to the stream of SAITM stories published recently. I taught English at the Faculty and translated and edited (reduced content, inserted illegally and asked for a reference to Australia) it at their request. I find I have wrongly translated Anuradhapura schools as Anuradhapura Central in the first paragraph. The lead author tells me that he lives in Radagama, south of Anuradhapura passing Tammannewa and his parents teach in a school nearby. The others contributed to it and that is why I put (typical) in the title. The name Sarath Bandara is made up of parts of two of their names. Unfortunately, medical students have a misapprehension that examiners in viva voce examinations can be vindictive and given the large number of staff and consultants with children in SAITM, our boys were reluctant to identify themselves. I can assure readers that these boys are well behaved and do not participate in the demonstrations in Colombo, possibly for the same reason. Most of them are first year students and students from other Faculties going to Colombo in buses organized by the student union.