25 July, 2017

Act Fast To Save Local Medical Education!

By Somapala Gunadheera

Somapala Gunadheera

The medical students’ boycott of lectures has continued for the last three months. Neither the President nor the Prime Minister appears to have succeeded in putting an effective end to this tragedy, despite many announcements in the papers that continuous efforts were being made by the authorities to settle the matter.

Perhaps they are resorting to the JR method of ‘cure by disregard’ that was tried out in the eighties when a similar situation arose during his incumbency. That stand-off resulted in a downturn of the national learning curve that became a permanent loss to our knowledge base. A quick fix that compromised the basic fabric! Besides, the cure was discriminatory, as the have-nots vegetated at home helplessly, losing precious time, while the effluent went abroad for further education and bettered their prospects. It is earnestly hoped that the present President who has come from a modest background, would not resort to such thuggish policies to serve the purpose by sacrificing the deprived.

Some parents of the striking students have appealed to the UGC and the President to help resolve the problem but to no avail. The Minister of Higher Education and Highways has forwarded a formula to settle the issue. Unfortunately the GMOA has split hairs on it without realizing that by trying to exclude outsiders, they are truncating their tribe. Such intervention is sure to starve the Minister’s first portfolio, pushing the unfortunate students on to his second. The activists should come up with a workable amendment to the Minister’s proposals to achieve their objective, without sacrificing the interests of the budding doctors. The solution to the SAITM problem lies elsewhere. Perhaps the regulation of the apparent disparities in training, remuneration and facilities among state and private medical faculties may be a possible solution. Using medical students’ strike to solve it has failed so far. Nor is it likely to succeed hereafter

In an article entitled “Ending medical lecture boycott”, I wrote to the Island soon after the trouble started, I said, “What is needed immediately to initiate action on the UGC plea (to resume medical studies) is a definite target for the resumption of studies. This can be done by the medical faculties issuing a crash lecture schedule to cover up lost time, with immediate effect.” It is learnt that an effort in this direction made by a single University has failed, as it was not a coordinated move.  All medical faculties should make a joint start by announcing the date for this year’s annual exams. At the same time the students must be specifically told that only those who collect the necessary credit hours would be allowed to sit the exam.

It is said that there is disparity among the lecture hours earned by the respective Faculties. The crash programme of lectures should provide for this anomaly. Once the schedule is issued with definite notice that only those who complete the schedule would be allowed to sit the exam, the chances are that the bulk of students would decide to resume their studies. They will be followed by the few who have been presumably persuaded by vested interests to keep away from lectures. The resuming students should be protected from harm from possible disruptive elements.

Thus the final solution to the boycott of medical lectures lies in the collective hands of the respective Vice Chancellors. I trust they would rise to the occasion, if they are genuinely committed to their responsibilities and proceed resolutely without vacillation. Let us not throw away the leaves we have already collected at the sight of a fleeting deer!

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  • 9
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    SLMC depends on GMOA muscle power. GMOA depends on med. students boycott. When failures become leaders RJ to send students astray, they cant study and wont allow others to progress. Fools cutting off their degree and livelihood and ruining others as well. GMOA escapes. How foolish can meds. be to destroy their own state free education. Z score does not test wisdom and common sense. Their degree has nothing to do with SAITM except they are political pawns and will pay the price, the cost of their career. When foreign uni put out doctors here in 6-7 years, it will be too late for recovery, forever in poverty & folly. If they agree to allow the small SAITM batches to intern each year, they do not lose and can get their degrees. Now they have bound themselves to the SAITM and created an issue in spite of a court verdict which lawless Carlo’s dementia cant handle. His time is over.

    • 1
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      Somapala Gunadheera

      RE: Act Fast To Save Local Medical Education!

      1. “The medical students’ boycott of lectures has continued for the last three months. Neither the President nor the Prime Minister appears to have succeeded in putting an effective end to this tragedy, despite many announcements in the papers that continuous efforts were being made by the authorities to settle the matter.”

      “Perhaps they are resorting to the JR method of ‘cure by disregard’ that was tried out in the eighties when a similar situation arose during his incumbency.”

      President Ronald Regan dismissed the striking Air Traffic Controllers.

      The Govt. should let the students strike as long as they can. Let them be older and wiser after many years of strike.

      2. “Some parents of the striking students have appealed to the UGC and the President to help resolve the problem but to no avail.”

      The politicians and the public understand very well this is about the hegemony, castism and privileges, GMOA and SLMC got at the expense of the poor tax payers in the country, and keep getting paid in the govt hospitals and then get paid again as consultants in private hospitals. They accept ptvate hospitals, buy not private medical schools. his is castism, hegemony.

      The solution is more private medical schools and more doctors.

      They should do intelligence tests for all medical students when they enter and when they graduate. Thre are many medical graduates who entered the medical schools after spending 3, 4 or even 5 years at the A/L, which should have been a 2-year study.

      • 1
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        Mr.Amarasiri,Can I add another clause to the solution you have provided Viz” The solution is more private medical schools and more doctors.”

        All exams at the Universities should be conducted in English.That will make it possible for the graduates to find employment, here or abroad.

        University education should be free within the period of study. On completion the students should payback the cost of the education they had obtained.If they fail to complete the education during the stipulated period, additional charges should be imposed.

        Exams of all Universities should be held on the same day and time and a common question papers should be set.

        • 0
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          Upali Wickramasinghe

          “All exams at the Universities should be conducted in English.That will make it possible for the graduates to find employment, here or abroad.”

          “University education should be free within the period of study.”

          “Exams of all Universities should be held on the same day and time and a common question papers should be set.”

          Three good points. In addition, there should be intelligence tests. Patients need to be treated by intelligent doctors, not bu doctors who crammed their subjects.

          Yes, English would give the option for the medical graduates, to seek employment abroad, in case of an oversupply of doctors. In addition, it will bring in foreign exchange, as they will likely send money home as well, and spend locally when they visit home.

          However, the standards have to be maintained. It may be a good idea to encourage the medical graduates to take the foreign exams as well at around the same time, so that they van be compared to global standards.

  • 1
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    “…………………solution to the SAITM problem lies elsewhere”

    The problem is/are members of the GMOA who taught – and are still teaching at SAITM – for high salaries.
    They are cut throats who teach at a non-recognised medical school.
    Without them, SAITM cannot exist.
    One of them was even called “Vice Chancellor of SAITM”.
    This is ignored by everyone – even by the SLMC, who should demand their explanation.
    The medical students of the existing medical faculties are aware, but are reluctant to say it because these people teach some of them too.
    Their greed for the filthy lucre, and the fact that some of their own children and of VVIPs are at SAITM compounds/complicates the issue.

    • 2
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      You are not aware teaching is as much a high calling as healing. Some do it for money, while there are others wanting to release whatever good things they have learnt to others as teaching is in their very nature. Mr. Justice has no idea that justice gave verdict that SAITM is legal. So they can be taught by doctor teachers. Is anything wrong if parents want to teach and give what they have to their children. It is universal and called the law of inheritance.

  • 1
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    I heard in SLBC that the govt wants the SAITM medical school in the stock market. I could not believe it.

    • 1
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      Many unbelievable things will happen soon. President listened to IUSF crazy suggestions as stated in a daily today and putting SAITM in the stock market. Are there no professional presidential advisors? No need to please insane street walkers, who change their goals daily. Earlier the socialist front wanted 30% Z score places in SAITM. All who want popularity rather than principles are going to get very confused soon.

      • 0
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        Mr.SAD “Are there no professional presidential advisors”

        He has GADFLIES.

        Why cannot the President take a principled stand without attempting to placate all and sundry jokers. GMOA can strike over issues involving their service conditions and not involving competition which can eventually expose their greedy nature. GMOA is no better than some men in safron toga.They are greedy,self conceited.

        GMOA want to maintain their monopoly.They ruined the training at the Peradeniya University.

        Govt should encourage the people to demand the cost they bore to teach the members of the GMOA jokers.GMOA asses did not pay for their education, the people of this country did.The Govt should provide reeds – Vevel -to the people in the first instance.

  • 1
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    How long should the government and the citizens of this country tolerate the holding to ransom of a whole nation by the students of the state medical education institutions, the selfish GMOA and the spineless GMOA? It is time that the UGC decided that any student who has not clocked in the required hours of lectures will not proceed and will have to spend an additional year. Of course, they could offer a crash course to catch up, but if they do not comply, they should be penalized.

  • 1
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    Are students of all State Medical Colleges/Faculties on strike? I doubt it. I was made to understand that the Medical Faculty at Peradeniya held its exams in Feb-Mar. How could it be that they are on strike for three months. So could the students who sat for exams be considered as on strike? These facts should be verified by Mr. Gunadeera before stating so.
    How come UGC and VCs propose a crash course for missed class when the students do not turn-up for lectures? Firstly they should give-up their strike action and return for lectures for administrators to work out a formula on missed classes.
    However, it’s the choice of the students not to attend lectures. This is what the students have opted and the administrators are not bound to remedy their follies not attending classes, who have been misled by GMOA.

    • 1
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      You are discovering facts. This whole strike is a farce. Colombo finished MBBS. Now Pera probably doing it to be ready for November internship. Others too must be deceiving the ignorant politicos and getting them maximally confused with wrong choices and actions. Not a laughing matter. Pros. in parliament must save the legislature from these goons as other members do not know how to. Chaos to topple is the message. Z score lies cloud the atmosphere and no rain.

  • 1
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    When University Students are not categorized as workers (wage earners) they have no legal or moral right strike. If they do not attend class it is not a strike, but a boycott. When they boycott lecturers, the authorities are not bound to arrange special classes for the lectures they have missed. So, it is their own folly. Mr Gunadeera, a seasoned administrator, suggesting crash course of lectures for what they have missed on their own, cannot be or should not be accepted. If the administrations do not do it, it cannot be even challenged in a court of law as they have missed lectures at their own will.
    These things should not be advocated or encouraged by a person of Mr. Gunadeera’s stature. Mr. G., please take a break.

  • 0
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    University students boycotting lectures is a new phenomena. Gunadeera accords special status to Medical students. Why?

    SAITM issue received more media coverage compared to the recent garbage mountain collapse? Has it got anything to do with the class divide?

    • 0
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      Correction: “…….. boycotting lectures is NOT a new …….”

    • 0
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      SAITM issue has media coverage as the gimmicks of medical mafia are only exposed a little at a time. GMOA farce thickens as they head for reelections in June. Are not genuine doctors ashamed of them. Also the injustice is so apparent but the law seems helpless to deal with terrorists who hit and run. Attendance registers will be cooked up after the lecturers also have enjoyed their holiday. Nobody wants progress in country except if personal selfish advantage only.
      SAITM broad basing so welcome as chairman is happy with stock market, which solidifies it. Now GMOA/SLMC will harden more starting a circus. More will die of epidemics and the clowns will continue to entertain.

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