19 November, 2017

Harsha De Silva Explains The Not-SAITM-But-Still-SAITM ‘Solution’

Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development Dr. Harsha De Silva has elaborated on the government statement on SAITM issued on October 29, 2017, making it clear that while SAITM will be abolished a separate non-state institution will be established with all SAITM assets and liabilities transferred to it in due course upon the agreement of the current stakeholders.

Dr. Harsha de Silva

De Silva’s clarification in no way rules out the involvement of current stakeholders in the to-be-established institution. Despite De Silva’s assurances, it would then be a SAITM without SAITM but with SAITM, the difference being that it will a) be a not-for-profit entity and b) will comply with yet-to-be-legislated ‘minimum standards’.

The following is the full statement posted by De Silva on his official Facebook account:

There have been many interpretations of what happened yesterday for the fast to stop and hopefully the decision to call off the class boycott.I offered clarifications on the section on the abolition of SAITM as per the President’s communique on the solution to the SAITM crisis. There were suspicions on the ‘abolition’ due to various statements by various people. But it is clear in the 29 October government statement that (abolition) in fact was the position. And that all assets and liabilities as well as students will be taken over by a new non-state and not-for-profit entity upon agreement of current shareholders, financial institutions that have lent money and the to be agreed new entity. And thereafter SAITM will no longer exist.

So last night I explained that all current SAITM students will be absorbed to a special purpose vehicle of sorts that will have a specified sunset clause. And that they will continue their education over the remaining period. No new students would be admitted to this ‘sunset’ entity. After all current students complete their education, it would cease to exist.

I was pointedly asked the question as to whether the Government was trying to mislead the students by saying SAITM will be abolished but in fact attempting to establish a new entity and it was just a change of name? I said that I was not here to mislead nor to lie; that the government position as articulated in the 29 October communique is to establish a non-state not-for-profit entity that meets the (to be legislated) Minimum Standards. But that is separate from abolishing SAITM. Both will happen over a period of time; and the new entity will begin after meeting compliance conditions of Minimum Standards. Anyway we agreed to delink the two issues as that was out there in the future, not last night.

It was indeed a mature political discussion where we all agreed on the abolition of SAITM. Of course certain groups (who oppose any non state higher education at all) were not in agreement of the envisaged medium term outcome. But we agreed that in a democracy we have the privilege to express differing views.

I thank everyone who assisted us in resolving this issue. I hope this matter is now behind us. (By Renuka Jayasinghe)

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Latest comments

  • 1
    2

    Harsha,

    We know you are a Sinhala/Buddhist and a proud Southerner, please listen to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and learn and see if his interaction with students had made any difference on your perception of yourself.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=390Ft3qJEfw&feature=youtu.be

    • 0
      0

      Dear GMOA, JVP, Peratugami, Parents of govt medical students, Medical faculty teachers and public at large

      Disappointing to note that the solution offered by govt cannot be understood by many including all of you.

      1 SAITM will be abolished and all assets and liability will be transferred to a new Special Purpose Vehicle SPV. Most probably a guarantee company.

      2 SPV will be not for profit and hence no profit distributions to shareholders but the profits made will be reinvested in the SPV. Profits would be required to keep improving and upgrading the medical school.

      3 The SPV will be a fee levying entity.

      4 SPV medical students will have access to Neville Fernando hospital and any other state hospital for clinical training.

      5 SPV will meet minimum standards to be gazetted by the govt.

      6 SPV will have a new board of directors. They would decide fees to be charged. Current SAITM fees around Rs 10 m and the cost to the state for a state medical student is approx Rs 5 m.

      7 SPV medical students will meet minimum entry criteria. Deserving students with very good results may be given scholarships.

      8 The degree to be awarded would state MBBS (SPV)

      9 Not sure as to whether Act 16 exam has to be passed by these students. Could be similar to KDU students.

      10 there could be atleast another 2-3 fee levying medical schools in the near term.

      11 it is likely that SLIIT in Malabe will be asked to take over the SPV.

      12 Neville Fernando would have to be compensated or he would have to donate his ownership rights to the state.

      Hope the solution is clear.

    • 5
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      Had Rajapakshe managed this at the time, it was at its bud level, nothing like this would have gone this further.

      I think if anything was started by Rajapakshes, that ended up creating and introducing new form of disputes.

      I really dont know this nation would NOT easily forget this.

      God save the country.

    • 5
      1

      This nation dominated by CULPRITS have already proved nothing can be introduced to them.
      Entire world including develped folks offer chances students with high marks to enter PVT medical colleges and and complete their degrees, but the people with filled and rotten with all hatreds and enviousness stand on the way any good moves towards the progress of this nation.
      Media men supportive the sinister actions being carried out some party men, should be punished by Karma today or tomorrow.
      Then only we the people that seek a better future can reach our goals.

  • 4
    0

    I haven’t participated in the SAITM debate thus far, even though I am a great believer in private colleges. I am a product of a private fee-levying school. However, the standards the private colleges maintained have waned over years due to dwindling funding and increasing expenditures.
    *
    The most I admired in privately managed schools was discipline. We have lost that supreme quality even in private schools, today. Which suggests that adequate funding that keeps up to increased expenses could bring back the desired results.
    *
    We ought to encourage disciplined private administrations. Yes. But, their products have to qualify through a centralised system that monitors activities & certifies their graduates.

  • 4
    1

    Excellent solution. But will it be successful with the distorted egos of Sri Lankan politicians and their blind followers.

  • 5
    2

    The govt. should not give in specially at a time the quality of education and standards have deteriorated at state universities. GMOA might want us to close down govt. medical colleges to safe guard patients. The entire world is going private let us not be left our.

  • 1
    1

    Sri Lanka perhaps may be the only country where education is compromised. In certain African countries doctors use their earnings to start medical schools for the poor and they become renowned globally. What is happening in Sri Lanka is an absolute travesty against the education system. Successive governments too failed to address the issue leaving it to fester. Sri Lanka needs more universities to assimilate the aspiring students and to resolve the issues. Systems cannot be permitted to be suffocated by a handful of miscreants that deprives many talents going to waste. Expansion of universites district wise would prevent the chaos and increase the intake. A well defined
    disciplinary action must be in place to deal with unlafull characters appropriately. Such initiatives will be a step in the right direction to meet the country’s demand for physicians. Appeasing politics will not bring long term benefits. Hard decisions with desciplinary measures may seem chaotic but certain to bring in benefits in the future.

  • 5
    1

    Just because 5 men pretended to commit suicide with Karl Marx help on stage, and fear and intimidation brought naïve young Dr. Harsha to meet them, it is not possible legally to abolish SAITM by govt. decision against its own judicial verdict of 31st January 2017 granting SLMC registration and internship training to those who obtained MBBS from SAITM. Refer VERDICT ca-writ-187-2016.pdf from Court of Appeal. There are procedures to follow and legislation to be done to prevent any form of injustice against every enrolled student in the Institute who legally has constitutional rights and equal protection of the law just like State MBBS students..
    SLMC registration accepts 5 years, but is averse to twin institute programmes, a negative point. Clinical training in hospitals will be a huge war with GMOA, a negative point, which Deans who proposed this have no experience with, a negative point. University Act 16 ERPM is an exam. which uniquely covers more than 2 years heartache pass rate of 15%. Then 85% SAITM will be jobless after 10 years of medical study and gone past student age, an extremely negative disaster without INTERSHIP.
    This so called ‘Clinical Training’ must be upgraded to include their legal SLMC registration with “
    “INTERNSHIP TRAINING” which is their legal right for even more than one year if necessary, like in the NCMC switch 20 years ago which remained legal till the last student qualified. To break the continuity of the curriculum of SAITM is definite destruction of their future, even Postgraduate institutes later not being able to accept them. This transition is ill planned towards destroying rather than building up.
    PRESIDENT has guaranteed MBBS and CLINICAL TRAINING for all SAITM, but SAITM is entitled legally to higher than Student Clinical training to superior “INTERNSHIP TRAINING” after MBBS, which is their legal right, if denied causing injustice. Thus Prez. when explained to, will surely agree and guarantee MBBS and INTERNSHIP TRAINING for all SAITM. Like former NCMC, when this is completed, SAITM can be abolished and forgotten and doctors can practice sans problems. If SAITM is abolished before this process, it becomes vulnerable to destructive issues.

  • 0
    1

    There is an old saying in Sinhala:

    Presenting the younger sister to the Bridegroom but getting the elder Sister married off!

  • 1
    1

    The tragedy of Dr. Harsha being economist is that once financial transactions to his new entity are completely transferred from SAITM, then he thinks it should cease to exist. WRONG FOCUS. This whole exercise is about producing more doctors fee or free. So SAITM should cease to exist when all who have paid full course fees for their govt. approved MBBS, which are the currently registered students, when they have completed their internship. It is a mockery to offer clinical training only when they are legally entitled to Internship training after MBBS. Then only SAITM will cease. Thus govt. must offer MBBS and Internship training and not just Clinical training student clerking.

  • 2
    3

    Neville Fernando who became a millionaire and S.B.Dissanayake, a corrupt politician who made what is not known, but altered ‘management’ to ‘medicine’ in the gazette notification – which ‘established’ SAITM, are getting away with what they did – establishing a half baked medical graduate ‘factory’ only for rich/politicians’ kids who could afford Rs. Seven Million down payment – which will now continue with state patronage and facilities.
    This ‘final solution’ is dictated by the parents of these students – from behind the scenes – who have money & political clout.

  • 1
    0

    Could this non state not for profit “sunset entity” stay stationary? If this vehicle starts moving again towards the nearby lunatic asylum, its identity would be lost like what is now proposed for Dr. Neville Fernando. Then disastrous consequences will render a 1000 youth jobless. SAITM was not even consulted for the destiny of its own students and staff, very specially for academic aspects

  • 1
    1

    The Harsha de Silva solution (or whatever) is “SAITM is abolished and resurrected as SAITM”. This is yet another blatant application of the well established “You can choose any colour provided it is black”.
    The Colombo elite will continue to benefit.
    Harsha concludes ~ “….I thank everyone who assisted us in resolving this issue. I hope this matter is now behind us……….”.
    The resolution came because of protester-fatigue. The interested party sensed that the time is just right. But the matter may NOT be behind us.

  • 3
    1

    By abolishing SAITM, government has shown their incapability of handling educational opportunities to the youths of this country which globally accepted norm as well as UN Declaration on Human Rights.How our county is govern by the extremist ,thugs ,trishaw drivers .monks GMOA etc etc .They are very keen on punishing their opponents but not to safeguard the higher education rights of the youths.No where in the world one against others education but in Sri lanka.

  • 0
    2

    Our Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne will now say ~ “SAITM is dead. Long live SAITM”

  • 0
    1

    Dr Harsha. I need to ask Four questions. Hopefully you will read this and answer.

    1. How come change of ownership from Dr NF to a state entity or Not for Profit Management Structure affects the Quality of the SAITM medical Faculty. Quality Standards are to be established and monitored for compliance by the Regulatory body and it has no relevance to the Ownership style of the Institution. Either you comply with the QA standards or Cease to Exist.

    2. If the government thinks Dr. NF is charging some exorbitant fees from the students, why don’t another entity (Government or Semi Government) starts it’s own Medical faculty charging lower fees. Why try to grab Dr. NF started SAITM with his Money.

    3. Can you publish, how much the state incur to produce one medical doctor from their State Faculties. (e.g. Cost for Lecturers/Prof, Building Rent, Staff Rent , Hospital Training Charges, Consultants fees etc etc.).

    4. Since there is no Take Over Act, can the government Take over SAITM without paying mutually agreeable compensation to Dr NF or in the event DR.NF does not agree to handover free of charge, will the government will introduce new legislation to Take over the institute , sending shivers down any new Foreign or local mega investments.

    Thank you

    • 0
      0

      Dr. Harsha, If there is “NO TAKE OVER ACT” from BOI, your foolish murder promises to please head could be like Lasantha and Thajudeen exhumations, exposing real political motives for forthcoming elections. If Dr. Neville betrays 1000 students and their parents, allowing destruction through private change of UGC course, degree and internship verdict given, both doctors exhumation reports will surpass Dr. Ananda Samarasekara’s report. Did you ever consult the views of SAITM parents when you suddenly false promised to state parents re your highhanded authority. Education of 1000 medical students cannot be at the mercy of imbalanced econ. politicians trying to catch citizen’s votes. GMOA tries to get back insane head.

  • 1
    0

    Dr. Harsha must evaluate
    1. H.E. promised “MBBS and CLINICAL training” to SAITM parents and non medics ignorantly accept. But doctors understand that Judicial verdict was “MBBS and INTERNSHIP training” a major difference deceptively hidden by GMOA to knock off future competition from SAITM doctors getting employed. There is enough space and provision here for all citizens.
    2. ERPM/Act 16 is exam. whereby GMOA through SLMC fails 85%, as their pass rate is 15%. SLMC deans planned to knock off the job market, about 85% SAITM. This chronic exam. is spread over 2 years in different parts to delay and should be abolished and replaced for FMG with exam. of duration one month without wasting time. Corruption is everywhere, so why not here. SAITM/SLIIT under UGC local training does not need it. Half of state MBBS will fail ERPM. So why give SAITM.
    3.No chronic name should be given to SAITM MBBS. Name change will affect their postgraduate study enrollments in this Country where local MD/MS is the local currency not to be robbed. Name should continue same as SAITM MBBS already in court case for internship. All 3 are major issues

  • 1
    0

    Dr. Harsha robbed academic future of SAITM students, so they cannot get a continuous 5 years to get MBBS, with the name of MBBS changed, and leaving room for SLMC to crush even more than what they are now doing. The court verdict gives them the highest training called INTERNSHIP so they can practice, but with this destruction, that too is hindered. Shocking tragedy seen worldwide

    Dr. Harsha’s economics kicks away and ignores the millions each of 1000 students invested in SAITM apart from Dr. Neville Fernando’s contribution. With the MBBS gone, are these 1000 getting any of their money back as refunds like Dr. Neville. Insane profitless non productive economics

    Dr. Harsha will ignore if 1000 students and their parents go on a death fast in front of his office. Better arrange for SAITM MBBS to work out their internship already given in verdict, and not deny them their future until the last student from SAITM completes INTERNSHIP at the least.

    As a goodwill gesture, if keep SAITM as it is, can terminate ‘privates’ gradually like the NCMC and immediately start the Malabe campus for peratugami Z unable pay for medical education, instead of building the proposed 3 campuses and ending in frustration like Rajarata and Eastern. There are no medical teachers to go out. The reality is they are money driven and do PG work and practice and struggle to educate their children, killing all in their path, not healing them. Abolish or perish.
    Revolution killed kings, tsars and French aristocracy and occupied, but SAITM are ordinary kids.

  • 1
    0

    If Dr. Harsha, in the middle of a PhD, was suddenly put in a special purpose vehicle SPV and affiliated to another institute, who would have given him a degree?. I wonder how that loss would affect his blasted decimated future not to be forgotten in a lifetime.
    SAITM students in a legally accepted govt. institute, paid their parents hard earned money, and did no wrong to deserve this. Don’t these parents also feel traumatized far worse than those state students’ parents. Also they have a legal verdict to internship training to serve in their own land.

    Why this injustice from govt. to its citizens fearful of threats and intimidations, listening to magnified jealous false accusations without even verifying with SAITM in discussion. SAITM degree course must be tailed off so a meaningful MBBS degree will be the outcome. A sudden death means foul play and an autopsy must be done. Justice is the answer, not simply believing lies.

  • 0
    0

    Congratulations are in order for resolving a thorny issue by the committee chaired by Dr Harsha de Silva.

    • 1
      0

      Lal, what rubbishy hero worship for a “SAITM DESTROYING HURRICANE” that leaves only devastation. in its wake. Watch for the rise of the python sleeping after one meal. Have vision to know what GMOA really will sacrifice blood of patients for.

  • 0
    0

    Politics and economics cannot handle requirements for MBBS which GMOA/SLMC is trying to destroy for SAITM because of professional jealousy and competition. 1st its a double barrel MBBS. Next Act 16 will be forced on them to purposely eliminate 85% which absolutely destroys. Then they bide time to nationalize and fill all SAITM with Z scores who maliciously believe that only they can study and with mindset that if one can somehow even pay and study, they are not entitled to their IQ. Emotional conclusion based on false accusation of standards. Govt. on bikes. Dr. Harsha did all this on a legal institute with a verdict for Internship training. Gross Injustice.

  • 0
    0

    This “sunset entity” of Harsha sounds like dementia. For legal SAITM who had court verdict of internship training, this is a sudden robbery making zero of 1000 student citizens, and so needs an investigation. How on earth can such destruction be tolerated. On the NCMC transition, it was allowed to complete the course and MBBS and register as doctors. Even KDU after MBBS was allowed internship. Why this step motherly treatment of SAITM with good hospital training, to break up its MBBS institutes which act nullifies its degree.

  • 0
    0

    SAITM has already had minimum entry criteria to enter. Why another documented entry again? Is it for the “sunset entity” which has no legal right to grant MBBS. SAITM should only comply with Uni regulations and not according to various hidden agendas or else what they are entitled to now will also be robbed. Only those with advanced doctorates understand that one cannot register with 2 institutes to get half from one and the other half from another for the same degree. Really this is basic knowledge, and SAITM should be allowed to tail off rather than be suddenly decapitated. Prez. clearly said MBBS and training for all currently enrolled students. Expect Dr. Harsha and SLMC to honour that too. How can SLIIT give MBBS to students next year when the exams. are held. What a giddy, twisted, insane and valueless MBBS is offered ti SAITM

  • 0
    0

    SLMC has a list of registered names to which it can legally grant internship. If there is a name change in SAITM course mid stream, SLMC decision will be that it is unable to include it in its list UNTIL AFTER 5 years of its existence. SAITM students sitting final MBBS in 2018 cannot be suddenly registered under a new name whatever politicians may say and the ignorant believe, and even the law about “MBBS BEING AN ASSET” will not hold unless included in the SLMC Act that they are the same. Why?

    SLMC radicals by virtue of legal verdict and GMOA power over it, wants to take foul revenge from SAITM and has every right to refuse to register new entity names until after 5 years and ALSO put new restricted entry criteria. Let the NOW LEGAL SAITM name recorded in SLMC and LAW COURTS remain unchanged and also on the ongoing MBBS CERTIFICATES till current students complete course the next few years unchanged, so they don’t need to start another unnecessary long drawn legal war with SLMC for registration of new name.. Then can swallow it. Finish this war. The change of financial no profit names and institutions is different from academic.

    Now NCMC is no more, though that which replaced it as same Karl Marx Kelaniya med. school is still going on. The 2 are and never were the same. Let SAITM fade into old age rather than rob and murder it while still a youth. Start anew with Z scores and fee paying, under new entry stds. new name, new SLMC identity, new MBBS all in unity rather than a legal battle and with Trade Union killers. These same doctors when coming into the one GMOA, have to work in unity.

  • 0
    0

    Legalised SAITM in court verdict, inspected by SLMC to fulfil criteria of Medical Ordinance which SLMC violated according to court of appeal recognizing their malice in the process, has also awarded MBBS certificates approved by UGC and Higher education. Whatever the change of “For profit” to non profit may involve is irrelevant when it comes to changing names for academic registration and internship which have clearly defined guidelines in the SLMC Act with a list of named SLMC approved institutions as seen on website. This legal Institute if there is a name change will have another legal battle for acceptance only after 5 years even to recognize the basic degree. SLIIT not on SLMC approved list
    Dr. Harsha should not hurriedly destroy SAITM and its students because of forthcoming elections, but should maintain the already recognized names till all the current students have been absorbed. A name change now spells death, which is what the GMOA too is waiting for. SAITM too must recognize danger that its on the brink of being wiped out by SLMC. SAITM will automatically close anyway as no more students will be admitted henceforth. President promised all SAITM should complete studies and that should include internship as a priority, not just the degree of MBBS alone. Internship must be given even if prolonged. No malice.

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