22 March, 2019

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Good Governance Is Not The Rule Of The Wild Asses!

By Hilmy Ahamed

Hilmy Ahamed

Hilmy Ahamed

Medical education in Sri Lanka commenced in 1870 with the establishment of the Ceylon Medical College. It became the Faculty of Medicine in 1942 with the establishment of the University of Ceylon. Sri Lanka produced well-recognized doctors who practice around the world with the quality education they received in our medical colleges. Post graduate studies in medicine for MRCP, FRCS, FFARCS, MRCOG, FRCR, MRCPath, MRCPsych, FDSRCS were not available until recently and had to be undertaken abroad, which were recognized by the Ministry of Health.

The demand for medical education has been growing with the state universities unable to cope with the rising demand. The limited opportunities in state medical colleges locally have compelled thousands of students who aspire to be doctors to seek universities abroad. Less than 20% of the eligible candidates who pass the General Certificate of Education, Advanced level are chosen for University admission to study for different undergraduate programs. The rest have to choose other fields of study or go abroad. Private campuses, some affiliated to foreign universities offer various non-medical degrees in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) has continued to refuse acceptance of local or foreign institutions offering medical degrees locally, even though the university grants commission has approved medical education institutes. The SLMC has no qualms of accepting foreign Medical degrees of questionable universities from a number of countries in the former Soviet Republic, China and the SAARC region. Some of these universities offer medical degrees even with O’ Level education and a foundation course, like for many other undergraduate courses. The SLMC does not accept this qualification for registration, but these students are able to practice in many countries around the world.

The state universities do not accept students from international schools that follow the London curricula either. It is estimated that over a hundred thousand students are following the London O’ Level and A’ Level syllabi in these schools. These students are deprived of a university education in their home country. Where do they go? The affordable universities are in countries that have standards far below ours. Why is it that those who are willing to pay cannot get quality medical education locally?

To fill this void, a visionary investor, Dr. Neville Fernando set up the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) with a thousand-bed teaching hospital. The medical Mafia decided to boycott this institution and The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) has urged the Health Ministry not to recognize medical degrees awarded by the South Asian Institute of Technology & Medicine (SAITM), highlighting the accusations of a faulty approval process and implying that the private medical faculty has insufficient clinical facilities. These may be valid reasons, but this cannot be used against the students who are now completing their five year course of medical studies.

On an application by the current medical students studying at SAITM, and with the consent of the Ministry of Health, the Supreme Court directed the Health Ministry to provide teaching and clinical facilities for the students of the SAITM campus at the Avissawela Base Hospital and the Kaduwela MOH. Today, medical students of state universities have started a campaign against this decision by staging protests on the streets. Is this not contempt of court? Should they not be arrested?

The University Grants Commission and the Sri Lanka Medical Council ask for minimum grades of 2C and 1S (2 Credit Passes and 1 Simple Pass) in the Advanced Level Examination to register as medical professionals in Sri Lanka, after having completed the Degree in Medicine, ERPM exams and an internship period of 12 months. All these students who graduate from SAITM or any other foreign university will have this minimum requirement.

The undergraduates who are protesting on the streets are blinded by selfish personal agendas or are misled by political groups with vested interests. These students have enjoyed the perks of free education from the primary until they completed their Advanced Level exams. They still continue to receive free education and Mahapola scholarships, receive preferred hospitals for internship, and are guaranteed employment in the case of doctors. Graduates who are unemployed too protest, demanding employment in the state sector and all the perks that go with it, and a pension scheme too. All this while the Public keep paying for all these, while some even send their children to private or international schools paying exorbitant fees. Their effort to enable their children to receive higher education without burdening the State is still seen as a reason for these undergraduates of state universities to protest on the streets, disturb civilian life, break the law, engage in contempt of court, and obstruct the freedom of choice for students who want to pay for their higher education.

Fortunately, while the authorities and Police are on their back foot, the general public are now willing to challenge these university miscreants. The recent reaction by a few motorists probably shocked the organizers of these protests. it’s a matter of time before a desperate motorist or civilians looses their patience.

Yahapalanaya does not mean allowing these wild asses to run amok and create mayhem and turmoil for everyone. Students who do not enter state universities too need justice.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    1) Appropriate national taxation (especially on the wealthy), is not in place (or is impossible to implement). Therefore it is impossible for further state medical facilities to be built.

    2) Private students will hardly employ themselves in the state sector(and in impoverished neighbourhoods and provinces), but will create a commercialized medical system for the wealthy.

    3) Private students will utilize their degrees mostly in foreign lands.

    4) Best way forwards is for wealthy students to pay their tax monies so further state facilities can be built. This might include tax-credits towards going to wealthy families so their children can enter

    5) Otherwise, country money will be perpetually stuck within Elite circles, never moving the country towards its true worth.

    6) That, is the gist, of what they are protesting about.

    • 7
      5

      Hilmy, Thank you, very well put!

      The protesting Docs, JVP student Unions, and narrow minded Sinhala language nationalist Faculty in the Universities of Sri Lanka have and continue to ruin Higher Education.

      Actually the JVP has ruined higher education for years. I was once a student at Peradeniya and remember being forced to take part in rallies.

      JVP student unions terrorize students in their first year to protest. JVP feeds on a politics of envy and class and racist hatred. And then there was the ethnic riots of 1983 that had their dry run at Peradeniya University when Tamil lecturers were attacked.

      The word Peretheya or PERETHAYO is a good one to describe the malignant emotion that the JVP uses to infest the poor students in the campus and spread envy and class hatred and hate speech. JVP hate those who speak English, particularly minority Tamils and Muslims and rag women students. The JVP’s barbaric control of the Campuses and their utterly narrow minded thinking must be trashed.

      However, because the so called Yahapalanaya Govt. of Ranil and Sirisena is so clearly corrupt and not a single corrupt politician of the Mahinda Jarapassa regime has been held accountable, while Sirisena has filled the Diyawenna Parliament with corrupt clowns like Sumathipala the bookie and match fixer, you can expect the JVP to join forces with Mahinda Jarapassa dregs to rock the boat.

      It is time for Ranil _ Sirisena A-yahapalanay GOvt. to deliver on promises or expect more such protest by JVP led university Students and narrow minded faculty.

      • 6
        1

        Quite correct Hilmy and Laxmi.

        Sri Lanka needs many more private universities and educational and professional education institutions. LUMS the Lahore University of Management is one of the Top ranked universities in Pakistan and SOuth Asia and is private. In India there are many private universities like TATA Institutes.

        These protests against the private Medical College in Sri Lanka whose doctors work in many hospitals, reflect the inability to get beyond a ‘zero-sum’ logic that dominates the backward and jealous Sri Lanka university mode of NATIONALIST thinking – “I(EGO) will lose if the ‘other’ wins”. This is the same mindset that promotes class, ethnic, religious hatred, particularly those who speak fluent English.

        These people say they are educated but in fact they are narrow and do not understand that the education pie can grow, public and private education my expand, and benefit everyone, for the greater good of all.

        When will the Neanderthals who run the universities and hospitals grow up?!

        • 2
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          Luxmi;Dodo,

          I, for example, certainly cannot be (am not) a hardline nationalist (or Sinhalese), but see appropriate taxation as the essential quality of all democratic and modern nations – such that will surely build Sri Lanka from ground up. We simply can’t have country’s wealth stuck within the Elite- minority or otherwise- that is begrudged by the Elite, and that should be released for the greater national good. Hence is the reason that there are/always-were ethnic tensions in the first place.

          And we have to forget about comparing ourselves to India, for theirs is based on caste concepts, which is very acceptable in their parts of the world – poor persons would hardly be protesting for greater rights e.g. any intelligence from poorer quarters is quickly snapped as being misplaced “high-caste” and entered into the high-class closed elite circles. As per Lahore, Pakistan is compensated directly by the US$$$. Quiet a different set of concepts from Sri Lanka.

          • 0
            1

            Romona your logic is quite WRONG! In sinhala they say: Koheda yanne, malle pol!
            ‘Where are you going? Coconuts in the bag”

            Fact is that there is room for very good National universities AND Private Universities in Sri Lanka which needs more qualified and educated Doctors. Sri Lanka also exports doctors who give back to the country from the Diaspora.

            The stupid, jealous and envious SInhala ‘Perethayo’ logic that sees education as a Zero Sum game – as Dodo says here, or the idea that if there are private universities in Lanka, the public one will lose out – is not at all correct.

            The pie will grow bigger and everyone wll gain because there will be more qualified, educated people including doctors.. The poeint is to ensure that the corrupt politicians stick to a good National education policy and ensure 6 percent funding of GDP for national universities.

            Sri Lanka needs to grow the education pie with good public AND private institutions for an inclusive society and to break down class, race, religious and caste exclusion from education.

            There is room for both public and private universities so stop being so darn narrow minded!

            • 2
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              Luxmi,

              What you say is exactly what will cause (as always), racial tensions in Sri Lanka in the first place. Over 80% of Lankan live below a level that makes it is impossible to generate an economy that the remaining 20% aspire to (most of the 80% being Sinhalese).

              (20% can be divided into 5% who are true Elite, and 15% who live within the conviction of the 5%’s standard).

              What you say is reflective of the 20%’s aspirations: “Sri Lanka also exports doctors who give back to the country from the Diaspora.” I take it that you mean that the diaspora and their doctors give back to the country of what they take out. Truth is, most of the diaspora have taken away valuable country assets as brain drain, monetary drain, and also creation of an unnatural war that crippled the economy. The diaspora then benevolently trickles back to the country what they took away en masse in the first place. On top of that you want more of the country’s monetary assets (that is stuck within elitist circles), to be used to produce doctors, to be exported for the diaspora, for the perpetuation of the same useless cycle.

              I also wrote this below and I am reposting:

              “Hilmy Ahamed ,

              If Elite paid standard modern democratic taxes, then more students could go to the state-unis. Instead, the qualifying criteria is too tight, and government institutions can only accept about 7% of students with the resources they have.

              Elite object about paying higher taxes, and it is impossible to collect much more from them. But they yet have enough money to send their children to Western universities(100 times the amount they would otherwise spend on taxes). There is certainly something very amiss with our national taxation system. Sri Lanka seems to be stuck in the times of 19th century conservatism of South America, where exclusive creole races ruled the government and economy, at the expense of the original inhabitants.”

              There is certainly room for public and semi-privatized public universities, where tax-credits can be used for students from elite backgrounds to enter Uni.

          • 0
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            Remona girl, taxation is an important aspect of a country’s well-being, probably even more than the health that our mercenary doctors provide. Yet, almost all of us are guilty of floundering or tax evasion one way or the other, Could you keep your palm on your beautiful chest and claim that you have paid your tax in full?

            The medical mafia is the biggest tax evader. Doctors fees are paid through a chit system in private hospitals and they need to be paid by cash. So, these are the bloody F..kers who are asking for more perks from the government claiming that they are sacrificing a lot for the sake of the wellbeing of the nation. Let us produce more of ethical doctors and pose a challenge to this mafia. Needless to say, those who are willing to pay for their education would come from better backgrounds than most of these scoundrels, and they MAY practice more ethical medicine

            • 0
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              salman khan,

              The places I have lived in didn’t ever let me get away with tax-evasion in the first place! They have robust taxation laws in place, and one doesn’t even need to dream of evading taxes. One has implicit awareness of what is honorable, and that this is why these places look so clean, sophisticated and first-world.

              As per the “bloody F..kers” doctors, they are trying to rub shoulders with the first-world closed-circuit circles of Sri Lanka (who do not pay proportionate taxes on their earnings, and hence is the reason for their first-world lifestyles)! If they take above the salaries that is state-authorized, they should be prosecuted!

    • 1
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      I wonder why Buddhists are not protesting against many of these unethical government doings as against Buddhist Precepts – the Maha Sangha and the Buddhists have a responsibility in this as Buddhism is the ”State Religion”.

      Perhaps ”independent Buddhism can do it if the state is secular.

    • 0
      0

      Wrong statement has been made about commencement of medical education in Srilanka. The first medical school was started in Manipay, Jaffna by Dr. Green, several years before establishment of Colombo medical school. Even today the hospital of that time which trained doctors is in existence, called Green memorial hospital.

  • 7
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    Dear Mr.HIlmy, I regret your lack of awareness or ignorance or vested self interest in relation to bashing medical profession. Few points for you to consider, education is fundamentally not a commodity and when it is made a commodity, it is highly regulated, and you cannot become a doctor or study medical sciences just because, 1.You aspire to be a doctor due to prevailing cultural perceptions that doctors somehow are superior beings(in lanka), 2.that you have money and want prestige( another cultural assumption)3. that you want to make s ship load of money(extremely false assumption)4. that you want to serve poor and heal people( very arrogant assumption).5. education is a basic human right, therefore, medical education too a basic human right, another very dangerous assumption.
    There are strict training programs that a student needs to go through to become a doctor in Australia, let alone to become aconsultant.
    Simply having money does not qualify, neither aspiratioins. In sri lanka, the attack on limited opportunities that are open to poor, and middle class intelligent kids is continuously and ever increasing.
    Sadly, common man, who is struggiing to make ends meet, who have become perpetual slaves and blinded by properganda,do not have time neither intellect, to observe what is fundamentally wrong. Justice, that is robbed from them by very people who preach that their justice is under attack.

    • 5
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      Dhammika

      Crush the GMOA. How come sub standard doctors from India, China, Russia and Bangladesh accepted by SLMC and GMOA?

      Take my word and it is a matter of time. SAITM will get recognized and our kids will have a place to go if they want to peruse medicine.

      The only way is to open up higher education to private sector. The academics and undergrads who cannot find employment in private sector will keep protesting. They have forgotten that they are there in the UNIs because of the parents of SAITM kids who pay income taxes!!!

      Ask the 25,000 doctors in GMOA as to how many of them pay income taxes to support free education in this country???

      Jagath

    • 6
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      Dear Mr Dhammika

      This is exactly what I am trying to say. We are shipping off some of our clever brains abroad for studies and most of those who are in developed countries never come back, Those who get substandard degrees from latvia, Belarus, Bangladesh, Nepal, Philippines, china have no other option but to come back. And the SLMC accepts them without a murmur if they have passed the necessary local ERPM exams. My argument is, why are they not allowed to follow the degree here, which could be monitored . Are you trying to say, the clinical facilities that Avissawela could provide is worse than those they get in some of these countries? You seem to be aware of the needs of medical students, but were you aware how the Rajarata campus was started, or the Ruhunu/ They all had their teething problems. SAITM has a 1000 bed hospital. Why cant the government assist them and make it a full fledged teaching hospital that could increase our intake of medical students by at least 300 more. Why should the state subsidize education for those who can afford it. Yes, there may be some commercialization of health care eventually, and there again, it would be the ones who could afford that will choose private medical care. The government should invest more in providing healthcare to the needy and allow the rich to chose private medical care, which they are already doing.

      • 0
        0

        Hilmy Ahamed ,

        If Elite paid standard modern democratic taxes, then more students could go to the state-unis. Instead, the qualifying criteria is too tight, and government institutions can only accept about 7% of students with the resources they have.

        Elite object about paying higher taxes, and it is impossible to collect much more from them. But they yet have enough money to send their children to Western universities(100 times the amount they would otherwise spend on taxes). There is certainly something very amiss with our national taxation system. Sri Lanka seems to be stuck in the times of 19th century conservatism of South America, where exclusive creole races ruled the government and economy, at the expense of the original inhabitants.

    • 3
      2

      Dearest dhammika with the simple ‘d’,

      Your rant is simply put, koheda yanne, malle pol.

      Learn to shut your gab.

    • 3
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      Dhamika, no one would envy the life of a doctor. They dont have time for themselves, children or their wives. All they have time is to make money and it doesn’t mater if the neighbor is peeping over the parapet wall as long as the bucks keep rolling. That is beside the point, We who are taxpayers should have a say in what our tax money is spent on

  • 4
    2

    This article starts with the lie that “Medical education in Sri Lanka commenced in 1870”.

    The writer may not be aware but a very sophisticated system of Aurvedic medical system (that came from India) existed in our little island for longer than two millennia before that! the system included treatment of all ‘roga’ conditions of the human body and also covered animal diseases. Treatment was always free except for a ‘bulath atha’ of appreciation by the patient.

    Like all our culture, the foreigners from Mughals, Portuguese, French to English, destroyed this excellent system. Now we can only talk of “MRCP, FRCS, FFARCS, MRCOG, FRCR, MRCPath, MRCPsych, FDSRCS”, mere permits to make money.

    So, like all false premises, the advice given in this article is a ‘dead rope’ founded on a lie and therefore the reader should take no regard of it.

    Medical students do have the freedom to protest and we not a police state or a caliphate, yet.

    • 3
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      Hela (imaginary) Wiraya

      This article is not about producing experts in koththamalli prescriptions (prevailing before 1870).

      So keep your garbage to yourself.

      • 4
        1

        Yes, Koththamalli prescriptions worked fine before 1870, before the jihadi dogs invaded our country. Just like the Mughals who ransacked India, raping women, killing Hindus, the current caliphate dogs are trying to screw us through Ranil and Sirisena.

        You can buy mor epaint and write slogans on walls yourself to get sympathy.

        But leave our doctors alone to save your uncut bit.

        • 0
          0

          Koththamalli prescriptions worked fine before 1870, before the jihadi dogs invaded our country!!!

          What the F..k is wrong with you. Don’t you have any other phrase than your F…king hate towards a peaceful people. No “jihardist” raped. Your village damsel may have spread their legs, but that is because they knew what was good. All you spineless and jundaless cowards are jealous of the jihadist because they get the best you have.

  • 4
    1

    Mr. Ahmed don’t lose it. These students have a right to protest against Private Med College or demanding toilet paper for their wash rooms don’t call them names. What matters is what government policy is on this. It looks like they are busy eating pongal rice in Jaffna. May be a private medical college in Jaffna along with a nurse throwing a Bra at Wiggie might get government attention.

    • 2
      2

      Patriot, everyone has the right to protest in a democracy, but that right cannot infringe on the rights of others in society. WHAT BLOODY RIGHT have these third rate hooligans got to prevent those willing to pay for their education to study locally?

      • 1
        1

        Mr. Fahim student protests/ activism is worldwide phenomenon. The problem we have here has nothing to do with students. When SAITEM was established during MR’s time he had balls to take decisions that antagonised the GMOA and student bodies. The current lot RW and M3 don’t have the hang of things to control anything. Your anger should be directed at them for the freak show they have created.

        • 2
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          Patriot, MR had Gota the terror. Maithri and Ranil are a different breed and will not send the white van

  • 2
    3

    Unfirtunately politicians whether MARA group or MS group don’t support what is right for the country but do what is politically correct. Credit to MARA and clan for supporting the establishment of SAITM.

    So far RW and the bunch have not objected to SAITM but has been reluctant to taken on the GMOA on this issue.

    It is unfortunate that approx 20,000 students who get through ALs and get admitted to UNIs think that free UNI education is a right and not somethingntha should be thankful for being paid by the tax payer of this country. They dont care about the balance 300,000 students who are not in a position to enter UNI. There is no free higher education for them!!!

    Also the GMOA thinks that they are above the rest of the professionals and academics and businessmen. Imagine after being paid for by the tax payer for almost 16-17 years of education and then demanding govt jobs after they pass out!!! Not only that . Even after allowing them to do private practice, they need a duty free car permit as well.

    Hope the RW govt has the courage to taken on the GMOA and allow 1-2 other medical colleges to be set up as well to compete with SAITM and give our students a choice.

    Higher education has to be unopened up to the private sector and a good regulator is important to ensure quality.

  • 4
    1

    There are too many vested interests in the SAITM issue. It is suspected that SB dissanayake and his son have major shareholding. The current health minister Rajaitha Seneratne has a daughter in law. What has Hilmy got in fighting so much for SAITM?

  • 0
    2

    Good article – needs to be stated.
    The whole problem started with the zonal system of entrance to Uni. Many of the medical students in govt. faculties get in so as to enhance their social status as they come from deprived backgrounds & they take it as their due right to this free ‘ride’ to upliftment. So they don’t want to share the ‘pie’ with others who they feel don’t deserve it. It’s a battle for social (& economic) enrichment & also insecurities.
    The government needs to be firm on this otherwise it’s never going to go away. And we will keep producing a bunch of lousy doctors who became doctors only for the money.
    Since the govt is so keen on following Singapre – it’s not good enough that a student excels in their A’levels but they need to undergo a stringent interview to be given a place in the medical faculty there. And NOTHING is absolutely free there – bursaries & loans are given.

    • 3
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      FYI: None of the medical schools in Singapore are private owned. All of them are public universities.

      • 2
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        Dear Mr Dhammika

        This is exactly what I am trying to say. We are shipping off some of our clever brains abroad for studies and most of those who are in developed countries never come back, Those who get substandard degrees from latvia, Belarus, Bangladesh, Nepal, Philippines, china have no other option but to come back. And the SLMC accepts them without a murmur if they have passed the necessary local ERPM exams. My argument is, why are they not allowed to follow the degree here, which could be monitored . Are you trying to say, the clinical facilities that Avissawela could provide is worse than those they get in some of these countries? You seem to be aware of the needs of medical students, but were you aware how the Rajarata campus was started, or the Ruhunu/ They all had their teething problems. SAITM has a 1000 bed hospital. Why cant the government assist them and make it a full fledged teaching hospital that could increase our intake of medical students by at least 300 more. Why should the state subsidize education for those who can afford it. Yes, there may be some commercialization of health care eventually, and there again, it would be the ones who could afford that will choose private medical care. The government should invest more in providing healthcare to the needy and allow the rich to chose private medical care, which they are already doing.

        • 0
          0

          Hilmy:

          If you were to become the Sri lankan president, you would not have done it.

          Reason, it is easy to preach, but difficult to achieve.

          Human migration made the whole world full of humans. those days, they were migrating for food. Now a days they are migrating for good living conditions.

          USA is a country made up of immigrants and even to date they are living well, at least show to living well, because of immigrants. Because, immigrants raise their GDP, contribute to economy and it is the graduate students coming there who contribute to scientific inventions which they commercialize.

          Investment work. but, motivation and initiative is needed. Otherwise, doctors, nurses more money for doing not much.

  • 0
    5

    The students who protest like this should be deprived of any form of state sponsorship including the Mahapola scolarship. The way students are taking the law in to their hands, this country would be destroyed soon. If young people can get degrees in any other field, why are the sacred cow doctors depriving the opportunity to study medicine privately after paying the necessary fees. Isnt the parents of these private medical collage aspirants the ones who are paying taxes and sustaining these scoundrels.

    • 0
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      Dear Susantha.

      Thank you very much for coming to my defense. It is greatly appreciated.

      Mr Dhamika, I do have some vested interest that might probably surprise you. I have two sons whom I want to stay in Sri Lanka and serve our nation instead of being third class citizens anywhere else in the world. I have lived most of my adult life crisscrossing the world and had a dream job (with plenty of money) that many in Sri Lanka would only dream about. People who worked with me, in the west and knew me respected and valued my professionalism, but for the others on the streets, I was probably yet another refugee from Sri Lanka. When I walked the streets of the west, I could feel their blue eyes glued and staring from behind, probably thinking “look at that damned refugee, wearing such good clothiers and driving around in fancy cars. Yes, we were suspected of exploiting their naivety and kindness. I couldn’t hang a board on my back saying “I am NOT A REFUGEE and I am here at the invitation of your government to serve you”. So I came back and I hope you understand why I don’t want to send my children abroad. I must also tell you, I have close to 20 medical professionals in my immediate family.

      For your kind information, I have never met Dr Neville Fernando or anyone linked to SAITM. I do not associate politicians (other tan for professional reasons) or expect any favour from them. I haven’t even seen Dr Neville Fernando in person ever, even though I would feel honoured to meet him. All I am lobbying for is for my sons to study locally if they choose to do medicine. I have pulled them out of Royal and enrolled them at CIS because I want them to have the best education possible. My God Allah has blessed me with enough (yes, more than I deserve) to see through their educational needs, but by giving them an education that would force them to migrate, is not certainly my intention..

      I will not get in their way if they eventually decide to migrate, but they have to learn that part of life themselves, I am not ready to pay for it. So, please help me to keep my children at home so that I could give them the best possible education in our blessed Sri Lanka. I can assure you, I have experienced and worked in almost every part of the world. There is no better place than Sri Lanka, at least for me. I would be a proud father if my children would stay and serve my motherland, So that alone is my vested interest. Thank you Mr Dhamika for giving me an opportunity to explain my vested interest.

      • 0
        0

        Mr Ahamed. Hats off to you. Your explanation and patriotic thinking has made me change my outlook on the Muslim community. What is it that you say ” massa allah?” You have made me to think differently of Sri Lanka and our future. I have always felt that Muslims were a self-serving lot, who would not think about the country or others. God has not blessed me with children, otherwise I would have been happy if they had married a noble patriotic Muslim person like you. Yes, I am going a little overboard, but this is what I feel and I must pen it before I regret not doing it. May you succeed in all your endeavors, especially in your crusade to educate your children in Sri Lanka. Hope Sirisena and Ranil read your article and comments

  • 2
    4

    Thank you Hilmy Ahamed for highlighting continuously the plight of the SAITM students. We left our luxury living in the middle east and came home so that we can educate our children, but the behavior of these hooligans makes us feel betrayed by the country. The President and PM will have to urgently deal with this.

    • 0
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      In a DemoCrazy, the politicians prioritise to stay in power at any cost. The country is an ATM and the mentality of the hooligans is to prevent progress and development of the country. Greed and jealousy will destroy them eventually.

  • 3
    3

    Well said Hilmy!

    The JVP student Unions and Faculty in the Universities of Sri Lanka have been and continue to ruin Higher Education.
    JVP student unions terrorize students in their first year to protest. JVP feeds on a politics of envy. They are PERETHAYO that infest the campus and spread envy and class hatred and had speech.

    They hate those who speak English, particularly minority Tamils and Muslims and rag women students. The JVP’s barbaric control of the Campuses and their utterly narrow minded thinking must be trashed.

    • 2
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      Hey Don,

      Don’t utter stupid lies here.

      I am no fan of JVP(I was an alaya when I was at the Uni)

      But I never saw JVP affiliated student unions have any quarrel with the minority. The reality is Tamil students underwent more ragging at the hand of their seniors. So don’t bring minority majority argument and show ur real face. You are more a disgruntle hater of the majority.

  • 4
    2

    Spot on. The Medical Mafia who are holding the Govt and Public to ransom need to be taken head on. These white coated hoodlums who are educated at Public Expense seek to rule the roost and mint money from the suffering sick.

    Govt MUST Privatise Education and end this unholy monopoly of Health Care Services by these Shylocks.

  • 1
    2

    Wild Asses no doubt. The main cause for all these is the JVP. They talk in parliament as if they are virtuous but they are the instigators of all these disruptions. JR made the biggest mistake of releasing their leadership from the prisons. If they had been kept there to die for killing thousands, the country would not have to face this crisis. The midget Anura Kumara Dissanayakeshould be arrested for all these

  • 2
    2

    Anything given free is not valued. These goons from our rural areas have become an insult to the serene living our villages practiced.

  • 1
    3

    There would be someone who would throw a bomb at these idiots one of these days and all these will stop with that.

  • 0
    3

    These GMOA fellows do not object to sub-standard doctors joining the Government service in thousands from sub-standard universities in Russia, China and Bangladesh. This is because there are many members in GMOA with foreign degrees. Certainly SAITAM dgree should be better than degrees from any of these foreign universities.The Government should stop recruiting these foreign graduates to the Government hospitals. What hypocrisy from the GMOA!

    • 0
      0

      SAITM is affiliated with a Russian Medical Academy.

  • 2
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    The article just examines only one side of the story.
    1. Does the author has any conflicts of interest with the SAITM institute or its students? He uses terms like “visionary investor, Dr. Neville Fernando” to a person who recruited students to a private institute without having necessary approval from the authorities. If he was indeed a visionary investor he would have thought about it before starting registering students. Now the students are in middle of nowhere but he is collecting profits and filling his coffers.
    2. How would you describe SAITM? A for profit organization or a non-profit organization. Private institutes at in developed nations which provide medical education are non-profit organizations.
    3. As one business man started an institute and recruited students, SLMC should never lowers its standards. In foreign medical schools the standards may be low but SLMC has to uphold the standards of Sri Lankan Medical Education and the doctors and those who study from abroad have to sit for ERPM and only 40% pass from that exams.
    4. We should learn from the Indian experience of starting private medical colleges. http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/india-medicine-education/

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      The author is a journalist who has written well about a number of social issues. He tends to write more about his community – Muslims, but I wouldn’t call him a person with vested interests. As far as I know, he runs a large enough business that has always worked on social issues and education. I cannot vouch for his integrity or his interest in SAITM, but I can assume from his writing that he is straight. I have seen him taking on Gota, MR, Maithripala, Ranil, The BBS and many others. So, I do not think he is a darling of any. I read his writings with interest.

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      Ramesh, I will repeat what I said to Dhamika in response to your worry that I may have some conflict of interest.

      I do have some vested interest that might probably surprise you. I have two sons whom I want to stay in Sri Lanka and serve our nation instead of being third class citizens anywhere else in the world. I have lived most of my adult life crisscrossing the world and had a dream job (with plenty of money) that many in Sri Lanka would only dream about. People who worked with me, in the west and knew me respected and valued my professionalism, but for the others on the streets, I was probably yet another refugee from Sri Lanka. When I walked the streets of the west, I could feel their blue eyes glued and staring from behind, probably thinking “look at that damned refugee, wearing such good clothiers and driving around in fancy cars. Yes, we were suspected of exploiting their naivety and kindness. I couldn’t hang a board on my back saying “I am NOT A REFUGEE and I am here at the invitation of your government to serve you”. So I came back and I hope you understand why I don’t want to send my children abroad. I must also tell you, I have close to 20 medical professionals in my immediate family. For your kind information, I have never met Dr Neville Fernando or anyone linked to SAITM. I do not associate politicians (other tan for professional reasons) or expect any favour from them. I haven’t even seen Dr Neville Fernando in person ever, even though I would feel honoured to meet him. All I am lobbying for is for my sons to study locally if they choose to do medicine. I have pulled them out of Royal and enrolled them at CIS because I want them to have the best education possible. My God Allah has blessed me with enough (yes, more than I deserve) to see through their educational needs, but by giving them an education that would force them to migrate, is not certainly my intention.. I will not get in their way if they eventually decide to migrate, but they have to learn that part of life themselves, I am not ready to pay for it. So, please help me to keep my children at home so that I could give them the best possible education in our blessed Sri Lanka. I can assure you, I have experienced and worked in almost every part of the world. There is no better place than Sri Lanka, at least for me. I would be a proud father if my children would stay and serve my motherland, So that alone is my vested interest. Thank you Mr Dhamika for giving me an opportunity to explain my vested int

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      What is needed is to stop all private practice for doctors who are employed by the health ministry. If the GMOA doesnt want private medical education, they should not allow government doctors to fleece the poor through exhobitant billing. Lets see what the GMOA has to say. If they want to continue provate practice, they have to quit the government sector. They are in the health ministry only because they want to catch the patients who come to government hospitals, direct them for private consultation and sometimes even ward them in their own wards in the government hospital. The patients too have become smart. They consult this greedy consultants privately, enter their wards and get the free medical facilities. How about all the tests that these consultant prescribe which are not available in the govt. hospital? Who gets commission for these tests

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    Ramesh

    In the developed world there are no govt UNIs. The best UNIs in USA are all private.

    What are the doctors scared of SAITM doctors? If they are no good, they will suffer.

    Crush the GMOA. How come sub standard doctors from India, China, Russia and Bangladesh accepted by SLMC and GMOA?

    Jagath

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      Its time that the government banned trade unions in the essential service sector. The leadership of the GMOA should be personally persecuted for their failure to administer their hippocratic oath and sentenced to prison terms so that no one would hold the public to ransom, more so the sick. F…k the GMOA

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      Jagath Fernando

      ” How come sub standard doctors from India, China, Russia and Bangladesh accepted by SLMC and GMOA?”

      How did you judge foreign doctors to be inferior to your home grown ones?

      Where have all your superior home grown doctors gone?

      Why hasn’t the state produce enough doctors and retain them in this island?

      If the Asian doctors are inferior why not import doctors from Western countries?

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        Native Vedda,

        This is a serious issue and not Mahinda Rajapaksa or Buddhist racist politics. Wd are talking about the future of our youth. We need to create the necessary environment for all professionals to stay and serve the country. One of their most important consideration of doctors and other professionals is the future of their children. Needless to say, their education is paramount. They fear the hooliganism of the unions led protests and the disruption that causes. And the quota given to the below average entrants causes threats to the ones who have worked hard and competed from urban schools. Do you think that the urban students have the same facilities at royal, visaka, ananda etc compared to Dehiwela maha vidyalaya. They are evaluated at the same level for university entrance. Do not forget the AAA grade schools get the best brains from the grade 5 scholarship exams. What happens to the rest in teh AAA schools?. They are also forced to be in the same boat as the brightest. Their above average brains have no place in an urban environment. Should they rot thereafter? The government has to stop funding everything and everyone. There would be need for support for the poor and needy. Special bursuries and loan schemes should be introduced so that they will pay back (as in most countries) after their graduation. This will also compel them to concentrate on their education and refrain from wasting their time on non-essentials. May the future of our youth be preserved!!

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      Jagath
      Why only considering USA as developed country. Other developed countries UK, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore all have public medical colleges. Even students in USA are now demanding tuition free education in public universities and Bernie Sanders Democratic Presidential Candidate has included it in his manifesto. UK opened its first private medical school in the year 2015 and the intake was 67 students and it was a not-for-profit venture. But SAITM had enrolled 152 students in the year 2010 for medicine and all of this without having a teaching hospital for its own. So according to you what is SAITM? A for profit venture or a non-profit venture.

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      why only USA the capitalists taken as the only example.

      what about the really developed scandenavian countries, UK and many europian countries ? Even Japan, Malaysia and Singapore have public universities for their citizens but overseas students make payments some times with taxes. This is how they support their free education with the marketing to overseas students.

      Our Government needs a sound policy not play ball to satisfy few individuals needs and lining pockets of ministers and businessmen.

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    Everyone has equal rights in a democratic society and those who pay compared to the ones who are getting everything free should have have more rights-

    The best way to solve this problem is by the SAITM students following the same strategy as GMOA, engage in continued protests and agitation until the government agrees to their demands.

    After all everyone has the same rights.

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      Well said moderate man. The government needs to be brought to its heel over their failure to take these stupid trade unions. We all must support any legitimate trade union action, but not this kind of jealous action. Our bloody doctors are chickening out because with a private medical degree, these smart kids are going to give these frogs in a well a run for their dear life. If the GOMA boys are willing to face the challenge, they can get the SAITM students to pose that threat.

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    Oh!Oh! now what a bias article this is.What is the definition of a visionary? the example given by the writer is Dr. Neville Fernando !!.

    Few facts on Sri Lanka’s medical education and its present and future:

    1. we have 8 state medical colleges.
    2. intake for these med colleges per year is 1800 undergrads or more.
    3. the yearly output of medical graduates is about 1200-1500 per year.
    4. in the government service there are nearly 20,000 doctors serving island wide
    5. there are about 700 graduates from overseas faculties sitting for the exam to qualify for practice in SL (ERPM) every 6 months. ABout 200 of them qualify each exam.
    6. However all who pass ERPM are eligible to get a government jobs at present. As the SLMC regulation of one year of internship is essential for registration.
    7. The basic admission criteria for A/L admission by UGC of 2Cs and 1S is to provide space for remote educationally facility deprived districts to be accommodated according to the district quota.

    Suggestions considering the above facts:

    1. Maintain and upgrade the on with university education with proper accreditation and accountability mechanisms.
    2. Increase the salaries of the university academics so the best will be attracted to the state universities. the quality of teaching and research will be maintained.
    3. The government should have a policy formulary with future projection of how many medical graduates are needed for quality health services.
    4. Priority to be given to Local graduates in the Government services as they are been trained for local practices and the tax money can be put to service.
    5. Be transparent about the actual need for doctors in the government sector and the PVT sector.
    6. GMOA: not to manipulate the pvt health care for their own personal income creation.
    7. Both the government and pvt sector health care should ultimately function separately. At present the Government employed doctors enjoying the benefits of both worlds and this affect the quality of care given to patients.
    8. the enter criteria to medical college should be considered by the Z score of each district. Not by the minimum entry criteria given by the UGC which is being interpolated to the maximum by profit making institutions of pvt education.

    ‘the Education, Higher education, health and transport should not be handed to profit making pvt institutions !’ period.

    The government should have a sound policy to protect the above services for the greater good of public interests and the sustainability of our nation.

    After independence our nation progressed due to two main policy changes:
    free education and free health.

    We do not want the out come of privatising bus services and its out come of destroying the CTB and then subsidising the quality to the core.

    Think without coloured glasses with self interests. Visionary is to think of greater good of our people with equity and equality.

    Much more to be said but time is a limitation.

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    This “Struggle” on the question of “Malabe Private Medical College” (popularly called and known)is like “putting the cart before the horse”. As author of this article said “Fernando” (who started this institution)is a “Visionary” in all respects. He knew “where to invest” and how to “tap the resources” and he DID IT without wasting time. I recognize his “Ingenuity” and “resourcefulness”. Now who put the “cart before the horse”? It is the Government and no one else. Before giving the green light to go ahead, all aspects, from the intake of the students, viz. the entry qualifications to the final outing should have been very well “spelled” out and properly “invigilated” by the respective authorities that handle and award Medical Qualifications to practice. For all such “Services” this Institution should have been charged for, because the students have the capacity to bear such expenses. That is the assumption of the writer as well as very many commentators. The Government should have known that this is not a FIELD to “Fool Around” like very many other matters they mess up; because that directly affects the HEALTH OF A NATION.

    Now, we have a problem and that is why it is being debated. So what is the SOLUTION? (1) Check all the qualifications of the students who have been enrolled and register them as qualifying for Medical Studies. (2) Check and stipulate the curriculum and require that qualifying instructors are in place to do the teachings. (3) Require the Institution to provide practical training as per the stipulations required of the Government Medical College and or retain such services on payment of a fee from the Government Institutions. (4) Set the standards to be achieved at various stages of the course contents and make it compulsory for all students to sit the same examination as that set for those in the Government Medical College.

    As per the above proposal, we will have “Proper Medical Professionals” entering to SERVE and PROTECT the HEALTH of the Nation from two channels: (1) From those who “HAVE” and (2) From those who ‘HAVE NO” categories. At the end all; “HAVE”; “HAVE NO” and PEOPLE live happily. THE END.

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    SLMC has recognised medical schools abroad after perusal of their fitness for such recognition.

    http://www.srilankamedicalcouncil.org/foreignuniversity.php

    Graduates of these schools sit for the qualifying exam of SLMC and those who pass are registered to practice.

    Neville Fernando commenced his PMC on false assurance that its degrees will be soon approved, purely as a business venture as the ‘market’ for medical education was/is huge in Sri Lank.
    His PMC standards are low compared to schools abroad and hence no recognition.
    1000 beds mean nothing unless standards are high – modern hospitals are of very high standard :-

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/10/16/new-fully-digital-humber-river-hospital-aims-to-be-a-model.html

    So are those, used for teaching in schools abroad recognised by SLMC.

    In every country, bodies like SLMC recognise medical schools and degrees.

    University Grants Commission cannot duplicate functions of SLMC.

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      OMG Justice. If you see some of these doctors from the substandard universities and their knowledge of medicine, you would wonder whether the SLMC guys were taken on a jolly ride to these universities, given the best of chinese noodles (and flesh) and Chappati in Bangladesh and Nepal with an underage virgin to get the recognition;

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    GMOA holds the country at ransom. The moment even a fly passes their nose, they are ready to strike. This time it was for the car permits and then to make them “good” they tagged on other demands.

    After all the free education they received I would like to tell you as to how they treat the patients and the care givers. We are told that Doctor consultant will arrive at 5 PM he comes at 6. If it happens on one day we could say that it is because he was held up for an emergency operation. It is the daily occurrence. Some of them do not spend a minute with the patient. There was a doctor whom I took my mother for arthritis. I had no 58. There was a patient on the bed and then one in front of him and one about to be examined. He didn’t take a minute to put my mother on the bed and raised her legs and then was asked to get down. Prescription was written and he didn’t even discuss what is wrong with my mother and how do I prevent further deterioration.
    Then the number of tests that are ordered even for a simple illness. There is a case where the doctor had ordered a stomach operation for complaint of a stomachache. He opened the stomach and he closed up saying that a major operation has to be performed. For opening and closing the stomach his charge was 280,000 and then he also said that the major operation would cost 2,000,000. Then patient went to the general hospital and they removed her appendix. She is now perfectly normal without the 2 million operation!!!

    Doctors are rude and there is no set time to visit the wards. Relatives have to wait and wait maybe taking leave to see the doctor when he does his ward rounds to find about the patient. In addition they are rude and do not tell us about the patients as he doesn’t have the time. He runs from one hospital to the other searching for money and not for the welfare of the patients. If you say “boo” they will go on strike.

    I could relate stories about the callous behavior of the doctors particularly the consultants who do private practice

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    well said justice..

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    Since my comment appeared, a good friend of mine from abroad (for him it is day time) called me and “directed” a huge “salvo” at me. The main criticism leveled at me was: “you are proposing to legalize the “Malabe Doctor Kade”. I don’t blame him at all, because that is the PERCEPTION created in the minds of our citizens including the students as regards the very “establishment” and the “functioning” of this Private Institution. I again blame no one else other than the Government for allowing such a situation to “arise” and “function”.

    Having engaged in a long conversation (at his expense, because it was his call) to explain my proposal, I failed to take that perception of the “Malabe Doctor Kade” from his mind. Anyway to make an end (friendly)to the long drawn conversation, I told him this: “I don’t care from what “KADE” that Doctor comes from, (he can be from “Malabe”/ “Colomba” Kade”) provided he is properly qualified, competent to address my health issues. Also I don’t care whether he/she is a son,daughter,nephew/nice/daughter-in-law etc of a Politician, a Money Launderer, a Drug Dealer or any other “vagabond” hailing high in our Legislature.” I also told him of this comment and most probably will call me again. I know he doesn’t give up that easily. I am ready for him, because a son and daughter-in-law (both Doctors from Sri Lanka) of a another friend who migrated have given me enough information as to how foreign qualified Doctors are enrolled and granted “License” to practice as Medical Practitioners in that country where my caller resides. By now he must be KNOWING how many such migrated foreign qualified “Doctors” are making a living as “Taxi Drivers” being unable to meet stringent entry requirements to the profession. Note: I do not mean to insult those Doctors who do the job of a Taxi Driver in that country.

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    THE TRUE OF HISTORY PMC Malabe(SAITM)
    The board of investment(BOI) of srilanka granted approval on 31/03/2008 to Dr.Neville Fernando investment company(pvt)Ltd to set up a higher education institute.The application to the BOI clearly states that the name of the institution is South Asian Institute of Technology&Management (SAITM) (note Letter M denotes Management;not Medicine).the application did not include a proposal to set up a medical school.
    But as health science was mentioned as one of the areas for which there was going to be a training programme,the BOI gave the approval on the condition that the approval of the health ministry be obtained prior to providing training in health sciences.
    A few months later,SAITM started a Medical School without health ministry approval,clearly violating the BOI agreement.

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    THE TRUE HISTORY OF PMC Malabe(SAITM)
    The board of investment(BOI) of srilanka granted approval on 31/03/2008 to Dr.Neville Fernando investment company(pvt)Ltd to set up a higher education institute.The application to the BOI clearly states that the name of the institution is South Asian Institute of Technology&Management (SAITM) (note Letter M denotes Management;not Medicine).the application did not include a proposal to set up a medical school.
    But as health science was mentioned as one of the areas for which there was going to be a training programme,the BOI gave the approval on the condition that the approval of the health ministry be obtained prior to providing training in health sciences.
    A few months later,SAITM started a Medical School without health ministry approval,clearly violating the BOI agreement.

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    Separate the private health care from public health care and the matter will be resolved.

    Hope Ranil has the courage to do this.

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    The Government of Sri Lanka has a moral duty to provide their citizens to practice Medicine if they meet their regulatory requirements of the local and foreign qualified students. The Medical profession is known to be a Noble endeavour to serve humanity, however in Sri Lanka the Medical Mafia has commercialised this profession for the protection of huge profit. The private sector could be the force to offset this sickness held by the Medical Mafia. The cost of medical care is not within the reach of an average person. The demand supply ratio is manipulated by those with the vested interest in the industry. The obstacle the foreign students face to clear certification is another tightly held grip.

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    If the “THE TRUE HISTORY OF PMC MALABE (SAITM)” (described by Predictor) is the “TRUTH” why this “Investor” Fernando is not sued for fraudulently carrying on a “Business” illegally and defrauding the students and the parents or others who are depositing FEES for such fraudulent studies? This is food for thought by the students and parents or others who paid fees to this “Investor”.

    • 0
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      Hope is a gamble we like to indulge in.

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