15 December, 2017

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My SAITM Story

By Bushra Bashith

Bushra Bashith

Back then at family gatherings people were confused when I told them I was studying at SAITM; they didn’t know such a thing existed. Now the conversations goes like “ohh thaaat private medical campus. Is it true there are underqualified students? Aren’t they the ones going on protests?”

Well, firstly it is not us wasting your money and causing your evening mayhem and secondly I’m sick of having to listen to all this bogus information and having to prove myself time and again! So let me share MY SAITM story:

I had my primary education at Methodist College Colombo but my parents had to migrate to Canada on professional grounds. Since they wanted the cultural ties retained, they decided to return to Sri Lanka after 3 years. I couldn’t go back to Methodist as they didn’t have English medium at the time, so I chose Lyceum International school, one of the leading international schools in Sri Lanka. With a lot of commitment and dedication, I passed the Cambridge Ordinary level examination with 5As* 2As and 1B, with a 100 for BIO and then A-levels with 4As in 2013. YES, it is super weird to be posting my results like this but people need to know that WE EARNED our place at SAITM! Not just me, ALL my friends at SAITM did too!

My parents and I had a well respected and known university in Pakistan in our minds ever since I decided I wanted to do medicine, they even offered me a scholarship; But with time I really didn’t want to go there. My parents may be professionals but we aren’t millionaires and me being their first child, I knew they wouldn’t be able to afford the horrendous fee some of these universities asked for; For those of you who aren’t aware, medical degrees are unbelievably expensive in the developed countries and they hardly give scholarships. On the other hand I’d have to learn a whole other language if I was to study in China or Russia etc. Whilst doing some research, I came across SAITM and how it was UGC approved and Mahinda Rajapaksha, who was the president at that time, had even given scholarships to 10 students who just missed the Z-score. My parents were worried but I too really didn’t want to go abroad and live alone when there was something like this in my own country, where I could work on my Sinhala and study diseases prevalent in my country! When asked around, even GMOA consultants recommended this place. So after applying, I had to face 2 interviews, one of which was with the UGC board. The fee was 7 million for 5 years, but I earned a scholarship after having sat for their scholarship exam, which made it a bit better on my parents. Yet only my parents and I know the trouble they go through, to save up that money each year while also providing the best for my brother.

Yes this is a very long story but that’s just the struggle of getting into SAITM. Then there was the struggle of surviving in med school! There are so many misconceptions about our syllabus that I have been personally questioned on:

1) NO WE ARE NOT TAUGHT BY RUSSIAN DOCTORS! WE ARE TAUGHT BY SRI LANKAN PROFESSORS AND CONSULTANTS WHO ALSO LECTURE/ OR USED TO LECTURE AT STATE UNIVERSITIES– im proud to say we have the best of the best, some well-known throughout SRI LANKA

2) WE WORK ON ACTUAL DEAD BODIES- We had 2 years practice on cadavers and yes now during our clinical training we first practice CPR, cannulation etc on dummies, in the skills lab and later on patients.

3) WE NEED 80% , SOMETIMES 100% ATTENDANCE TO SIT FOR EXAMS – We do not have the luxury of cutting classes as and when we wish and go on protests on the road and we will not because we value the money our parents spend on us

4) THE DEGREE ISNT GIVEN TO US ON A SILVER PLATE – there are credit exams and then the finals with MCQs , SEQs and vivas. (we even have negative marking on MCQs which makes it much harder, which has recently come to my notice, was not heard of in some universities) and at the 2nd MB (ANAT, PHYSIO, BIOCHEM AND HISTO) if we fail, we must sit for the repeat exam (for which there is a fee too) and if we fail again we are demoted and have to pay for that too, unlike our free education counter parts who can spend as long as they want to qualify.

5) WE CANNOT SIT FOR ACT16 AS WE ARE NOT FOREIGN GRADUATES- it is an exam to test your ability to treat Sri Lankan patients with diseases prevailing in Sri Lanka. so why do we have to sit for that when we study in Sri Lanka?

I am in my 4th year now, I thought this problem would be settled eventually but even after the court ruling people are still not letting us have what is rightfully ours.

For the readers who are confused- we are willing to sit for any common state exam but they will not let us! We may not get on the streets to voice ourselves but DO NOT be fooled by the false information given to you. If you have any doubts do feel free to ask us. Please do try to understand our situation.

For those against private MEDICAL universities, WHY ONLY MEDICINE? WHY ONLY SAITM? What about the thousands graduating from international schools?

Whilst you fight for your free education MY PARENTS work hard continuing to pay MY EDUCATION AND YOURS. I only hope that you realize the people you block from going about, are the very people who pay for your education. Free education, is it FREEDOM of education?!

#IstandwithSAITM #mySAITMstory #මගේSAITMකතාව

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Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    Silva,

    Your comments show you are a sub-IQ person. She has clearly written that it was 7million, and that her parents were not rich enough to pay the Pakistan university, although she got a scholarship. She never said it was 100% scholarship.

  • 12
    3

    MOST FAILURE PEOPLE PROTEST AND ARGUING ABOUT OTHERS RIGHTS!!! BEFORE BEING A DOCTORS, THEY SHOULD HAVE A HEART TO ACCEPT OTHERS ACHIEVEMENTS!!
    GOD BLESS OUR LANKAN SYSTEM>>>>WE ARE JUST IMPROVING THE HUMAN JEALOUS IN OUR COUNTRY ( IN ALL ASPECTS)!!!
    DON’T FIND PROBLEMS, FIND SOLUTIONS!!
    PRIVATIZATION IS THE BEST METHOD OF SUCCESS IN ALL ASPECTS>>>LAZY PEOPLE CHOSEN TO PROTEST >>>LOL>>>WE GOT ENOUGH HERE TO SUPPORT THEM A WELL>>>>>LOL

    • 15
      4

      Why is the government so scared of these jealous students who are protesting against those who deserve higher education (free or paid)? Why are they depriving the basic right to education (free or paid)? Nothing but pure Jealousy.

      Why is our children going to Russia, China, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Nepal for higher studies when actually children in those countries should come to us? Why cannot the government make Sri Lanka the hub of education in the region by not only attracting private (Local & foreign) universities but also foreign students by offering quality education at an affordable rate?

      Can the government increase the number of state universities in Sri Lanka (at least one in every district) or can they expand the already existing universities to accommodate more students?

      Can the government establish paid universities in Sri Lanka under the UGC or expand the already existing universities to accommodate students for a fee, whilst continuing the free education system, somewhat similar to those government hospitals with paying wards?
      A system that will not only allow many to obtain higher education paying a fees but also help the universities to offer more seats for free education to the under privileged.

      If the above is not possible, then the government should allow both local and foreign private universities in Sri Lanka. It is high time that the government should totally ignore any kind of protests and seriously think about this matter on a very urgent basis. Sri Lanka deserves an educated society and work force. Higher education is the right of every student. If the government cannot afford, they should allow them to pay for the education or completely abolish free education at University level.

      • 2
        2

        Good to note that the Citizen is evolving. UGC already has a 0.5 % reserved seats for foreign exam students. You can appeal for increasing it. Since they are paid category, government will not have much objection. As for making Sri Lanka an educational hub, there is a long way to go. Other than medicine, all the streams are freely available in private institutions in Sri Lanka. How many foreign students are coming here to get those quality??? education. If some corrupt countries are using medical faculties to earn foreign exchange, you want to follow them?

  • 4
    6

    Eusense,

    You are simply ignorant. Did you notice her calling for a common exam for all the Sri Lankan educated medical students?

  • 8
    3

    Mr. Silva you seems to be not only a retard but a low life, dont you have a mother or a sister, your disgusting comment only reflects on you as a person, To all SAITM students who I consider as my colleagues, I understand your agony and pain, please dont self doubt your selves, This is nothing but politics and JEALOUSY which is in play, The so called GMOA, Medical council and some of the doctors who represent have no ethics or humanity,Being a doctor I have seen and experienced it first hand., So continue your struggle forward and my prayers are with you, I wish you the best.

    • 14
      9

      How many other ‘my SITEM stories’ are we going to hear?
      Firstly, these rich peoples’ club campaigning for low quality medical education in our country, just because they have the money, show how uncivilised and arrogant they are by the way they respond to the opposite view point. They hurl most unimaginable abuse and insult.

      Looking at his young lady’s story, she claims to have scored a perfect 100% for Bio! Really?

      I don’t care where or how she got this score from, I am here to tell her that it is not possible to get a ‘genuine’ 100% in the biological stream due to the very nature of the subject. No human at O.L or A.L or degree level can have the PERFECT knowledge on biological matters.

      She got this score because foreign universities become generous with foreign, full fee paying students so that they can attract more ‘monied fools’ from these countries.

      So stop boasting abut your marks mada, compete with a local Z score of 60 if you can!

      • 6
        1

        Former Doctor,

        See what free education has done for Sri Lanka?

        Med students protest instead of going for classes (these are people who will take care of you in future!), Doctors go on strike ignoring patients, they go abroad to make money ignoring the very tax payers who paid for their education, and creating a dearth of doctors to control a demand situation and make more money.

        Ask how many doctors send their kids to private schools and foreign universities? Isn’t it hypocritical.

        Private med school will solve all these problems.

      • 1
        1

        Doctors should stop this ‘dog in the manger’ attitude.

  • 1
    2

    I keep wondering why you or your parents never for a little moment thought there is something corrupt in this institution. When they put full paper advertisement for the ex-president, numerous SLMC notices contradicting the advertisements by SAITM, Thajudeen case and your ex VC, and the latest scam ex-CEO shooting. You should also include those stuff to ur SAITM story if u think they r wrong or corrupt. Its either u r naive or u at the time of admittance thought that the SLMC approval would be gained by “whatever means” (political bribing and thuggery).

  • 15
    5

    sorry Bushra Bashith,

    as far as medical concern, we don’t want to see our country same like India which is having politicized and corrupted PMCs

  • 7
    1

    A second student claima to have gone through a UGC interview although interviewing students for private universities is not a function of UGC. Was this the Neville Fernando strategy of bribing UGC members with bloated admission panel participation fees to obtain recognition ?
    SAITM staff include many retired or on sabbatical leave form State Universities (Bista, are they in the 99% unqualified without PhDs from world recognized Universities ?). There are also foreign graduates who could not pass ACT 16 like the former CEO shooting stager and several retired consultants obtain Professor status when appointed to SAITM although they never worked in a University. These vociferous supporters of SAITM have much to lose as their Professor title allows them to attract even more patients in the multiple private hospitals where they continue to practice.
    The problem with SAITM is that their fee-charging private hospital cannot attract patients with the range of clinical experience needed. This is not so in India and Pakistan where the public health service is less well developed than in Sri Lanka.
    I believe the SLMC has been always ready to accept SAITM students if they sit and pass EPRM (formerly Act 16) but this is unacceptable to Neville Fernando as he has been charging massive fees on the promise of direct registration and to SAITM students and parents who realize they would then be below the state university merit list and cannot use their considerable influence to manipulate appointments in Colombo/Kandy hospitals

  • 5
    3

    /NO WE ARE NOT TAUGHT BY RUSSIAN DOCTORS! WE ARE TAUGHT BY SRI LANKAN PROFESSORS AND CONSULTANTS WHO ALSO LECTURE/ OR USED TO LECTURE AT STATE UNIVERSITIES– im proud to say we have the best of the best, some well-known throughout SRI LANKA/
    A man who cannot pass the act16 who is ur ceo….
    Is he the best of the best

    • 1
      0

      Like Rajapakshe men sowed all the germs people to fall on their blatant lies – as RW was the traitor number 1, last regime and their media men active today, just spread lies, calling SAITM lectureres are russians.
      These paparassos can turn everything in favour of them.
      They are so abusive.
      I wonder why the stupid folks take everything when it comes from Dherana and Hiru – by large, most abusive media senders of the country.

    • 3
      1

      Medico

      “A man who cannot pass the act16 who is ur ceo…. Is he the best of the best ‘

      You are wrong,

      The CEO is not a teacher and does not involve in teaching, training and examining students. He is only an administrator

  • 1
    3

    We don’t want corrupted PMCs like SAITM. If you like, study abroad in a well-known PMC and become a doctor or do something else with your money.

  • 3
    0

    First of all the whole SAITM saga was a political gimmick from the beginning. It was established to give hope to students who don’t get to govt uni’s.

    The real culprits behind the protest and all are govt docs (who are also practing privately) and certain politicians. The govt uni students are just dummies who believe in follow the aforementioned parties propaganda.

    Govt is simply using this whole drama to divert people’s attention.

    Why docs are scared is they know these students who have spent millions will do a better job, ethically and empathically than these current docs and medical students.

    This is not mere jealousy, but also about power.

  • 5
    0

    Saitm students know that they are spending parents hard earned money.Therefore do not waste evena minute of their time.They are working all the timeBut those from other medical colleges waste most of their time on roads attending meetings protests hunger strikes so on.They know that they will never suffer due to these.The mafia will look after it The teaching staff of Saitm is of very high quality.The behavior of these students and their english standerds are much above ——-.Naturally doctors passing out of Saitm will be much superior in quality.G.M.O.A and other doctors have realised this.Therefore they want to stop Saitm doctors from coming out at the beginning itself.Therefore they will never agree to anything short of complete abolishment of Saitm.This is fear and jelousy.R.

  • 2
    0

    All I would say is once the district quota system was established from 1974 the place for merit got the backseat. The cream of society are being selected to the University is simply a fantasy. This was so before 1974. Since most selected through district basis are from rural areas which is politically advantageous and so was created to increase the vote strength of selfish politicians. There are many students with poor results and low aggregate found places in University due to the unfair district basis displacing many candidates with good AL results just because they are from good schools.

    It is only fair in a country where all citizens are equal, in a exam that is common to all merit should be the sole criteria for admission as it was prior to 1974. The candidate who scored higher marks should stand above a candidate with lower marks.

    In the bygone era when the students were admitted on an all island merit basis standards were very high and Sri Lankan doctors were well respected all over the world. Now the standards have dropped drastically due to such poor quality students being admitted.

    So what is wrong for such capable students to seek a private medical college to fulfill their aspirations which was unfairly snatched from them simply to satisfy greedy and selfish politicians.

    I see many write in these forums that money cannot buy a degree. Sorry that is not correct! In the same spirit I would also say you cannot make doctor out of idiots. It was because of the money many students are punished for going to a good school and have to obtain a punitive high grade and aggregate to enter the state medical faculty or Engineering faculty when students from the rural schools are given favouration over their ‘rich’ counterpart to enter the state medical faculty with low results and aggregate. So when these students are punished for having money and so being educated in a good school what is wrong in using money to help them to also fulfill their dreams! All these heat from the GMOA is purely due to jealousy when many of the members are doctors who entered getting very poor results solely because of the district basis and they do not want these students with higher grade and aggregate they unfairly displaced to come back and haunt them!

    • 0
      0

      I agree with your call for abolishing quota, but it has to be done in gradual phases and by providing equal facilities to the rural schools. But, district quota has nothing to do with birth of SAITM. Even if you make 100% merit, still the rich kids will look for easy ways to stets and white coat. It’s a passion for them, business for their parents.

      • 0
        0

        villageman

        You must be a real village man a frog in the well!

        “district quota has nothing to do with birth of SAITM”

        No it has. Many are due to having got very good results but their otherwise due places were taken by the ‘poor’ with very low results and aggregate.

        They too need a future and it is really frustrating to see someone with far less results to gain admission when they were denied after obtaining much higher results and aggregate.

        So until the district quota is totally abolished let there be a some redress to those being punished for having money.. Remember these moneyed people got much better results than those who gained admission. so it amounts being punished.

        “but it has to be done in gradual phases and by providing equal facilities to the rural schools.”

        No district basis was started without any notice in 1974 after the AL results were released. Due to District basis poor quality students were admitted on the excuse they are from rural areas. They lacked knowledge and skills. They became poor doctors and now we do not have the standards we once had prior to district basis of admission. Now even the Minister of Health runs to Singapore to get treatment. which was not so in the bygone era.

        “still the rich kids will look for easy ways to stets and white coat” You cannot deny the value of money. Then why not abolish Private hospitals and private practice and don’t you think rich benefit when poor cannot. Why cannot you abolish International schools? Private schools. We can go back to communist rule or socialism which China gave up and now had become prosperous.

        • 0
          0

          In 1974, the jaffna bas…the masters of cheating wanted to grab all the engineering seats through bits and horse riding. That was the reason for introduction of standardization and later district quota, that led to all war destruction.

          • 0
            0

            Villageman

            Sorry media wise Standardization was introduced from 1970 admissions (1969 AL). District quota system was introduced from 1974 (1973 AL). You are correct it is this standardization that started the Tamil Youth unrest and which culminated in the war which almost every Tamil silently supported the LTTE. Supporting the LTTE does not mean they were involved directly or indirectly.

    • 0
      0

      But you are ignoring the fact that the merit you are basing you case was on the basis of better education at schools centred in cities and big towns where the didicated quality teaching staff were available.
      Such teachers were reluctant to go on transfer to rural areas where the good grade schools did not exist, apart of the fact that there were other reasons such as the comforts and conveniences of life that were lacking for them.
      .It is true that students in such areas suffered due to absence of good teaching staff and diminished facilities that were allocated by the government. The lethargic politicians who represented such electorates were also responsible for the situation.
      The standardisation tactic devised by the various governments on a communal agenda only resulted in creating more problems for all besides side tracking and distracting the entire country from the 1970’s only resulted in other unwanted problems coming to the fore .
      The current SAITM /GMOA fracas is another result of bad planning and allocation of resources which is only taking it’s toll on innocent medical students students and their worried parents.
      It is up to the people to decide how to deal with the problems that confront them and decide on a a change of administration. When are the they ready to decide is the big question!

  • 1
    1

    All this time studying in SAITM, haven’t you or your parents had a single doubt/ question about corruption/ fraud done by the SAITM (contradictory advertisements by SAITM against the SLMC notices, SAITM putting full page advertisements for the ex-president in 2014, ex-vice chancellor and the Thajudeen case, ex-CEO and his self shooting incident). If you had these questions, shouldn’t you have put them in your SAITM story as well. If you didn’t have these questions, you are either naïve, or SAITM has given very plausible explanation for them which I am interested to hear for the above questions, or you thought that SAITM would get the SLMC approval by bribing the politicians or thuggery (which makes you complicit in the fraud done by SAITM).

  • 3
    1

    Anyway, the way SAITM had been set up it is a way to get through rich kids to the higher positions in the socioety. As these students are not allowed to practice in the west, they will mostly practice in Sri lanka, they will do private practice in order to earn what they spent, rip the poor people. I don’t mean other doctors are not doing it.

    Private medical collegs are need, but the way it is set up, it creates an easy way for rich kids over the children who comes from rural or sururban children who are not wealthy.

    Because, they have english and tuition classes are added advantages.

    • 0
      0

      Jim Softy

      Your are wrong! My response just above yours will answer your questions.

  • 3
    0

    Will future writers of “My SAITM Story” episodes please read the article by Dr Murali Vallipuranathan “Is there a case for a private medical school in the health planning of Sri Lanka?” in Colombo Telegraph of 10 March 2017?

  • 3
    1

    In Canada, there are no private medical schools; there does exist a shortage of doctors in many Canadian provinces but the governments (both Federal and Provincial) don’t even consider taking medical doctors from Britain or France. Do you know why the medical profession has become a well-guarded profession in the developed West and North America? Simply because you deal with situations that money alone cannot cure!
    To those bright and lovely girls and boys who write ‘their SAITM stories’ should check why the entire subject of medicine and the domain of medical profession should not be decided by the money-crazy ‘Private’ sector. If a respected medical professor like Carlo Fonseka does not agree with the way SAITM operates, please do not pose too many questions and write lengthy letters begging sympathy.
    We all know a few hundred young and bright people are now in trouble due to this messy issue but it is not like a question of sympathizing with the begging kids at a street corner. In Sri Lanka, friends and relatives who want to pass through the hospital gate during off visiting hours beg the security guard with all kind of sorry stories. I invite these young SAITM students not to fall to that level because such a demeanor shows you are already disqualified!
    This issue is much more complex and complicated than pro-SAITM activists believe, and only medical professional should decide what to do next!

    • 2
      0

      A Red Indian

      Carlo Fonseka is a communist historically

  • 1
    0

    Ohh poor fellow. I almost cried reading this. I would really like to know the stories of the rest of the 900 odd stories from SAITM.

  • 1
    2

    You should have known that it wasnt SLMC approved before.m you joined. It was published several time and if u were stupid enough not to heed that warning, then i have no idea how you got 100 for bio. The argument should rest there, no matter what passion and how good an alevel result u have. U have knowingly joined a fraudulent company. Now u’ll see what happens. Sorry for u.

  • 1
    0

    Theres literally throwing the argument ‘gmoa consultsnts recommended this’. Cos they arent the ones who give approval for u guys to practice. And if u didnt have the sense to find out the SLMC’s stand o. The issue, which is the actual regulatory body of medical practitioners, the. You guys should not be alllowed to practice at all, since who knows what else you guys will do rather than following proper procedure.

  • 0
    0

    The moment district basis was introduced and students with very poor results and aggregate was allowed to enter with simply 4 passes (at the expense of those who had higher grade and much better aggregate with 2A’s and something) the floodgates were waiting to be opened and now it is done and so any one with 4 passes can do medicine and kill patients, so what is wrong? Why did the GMOA not shout then when people with 4 simple passes from rural areas become bad doctors, there is absolutely nothing wrong in moneyed people with 4 ordinary passes also do medicine paying money and may be kill people!

    But remember many students in SAITM were good students who obtained good results much better than many of those who have gained admission through unfair privilege of the district basis. They had to forego their due place for the so called rural lads.

    Why do we go to good schools? Certainly to be better off. That is what makes us, our intelligence, character, outlook, ability to express and communicate. Just hand picking people and giving a nice suit, tie and a coat and a stethoscope do not make you a man and a doctor. Many of these rural lads lack proper science knowledge and writing skills and putting them into medical college do not make them recover from what they have not acquired. May be they lacked facilities. but giving them a task to save life does no good.

    All these are politicians creations. They stopped English medium thinking they will help the village students. See what happened. There were no good books in Sinhala for the science subjects and people in Colombo who went to good schools knew the blunder politicians made and took advantage of the situation and were also taught in English in addition to the mother tongue and so stopping English medium actually helped the Colombo students who were able to read and acquire all the knowledge from freely available English science books. The lack of proper books affected the rural lads, had the opposite effect due to the narrow minded thinking of selfish politicians. So actually stopping English medium gave a undue advantage to the Colombo and other developed cities like Kandy, Jaffna and so on So you can’t blame the Colombo and other good school students for this blunder and make them now pay the price.

    Now due to district basis of admissions majority entering are from rural districts and the standards of the Universities are deteriorated and doctors do not have the respect we had many years ago. Now even the Minister of Health run to Singapore for treatment.

    Stopping private medical education will not resolve the problem and will only aggravate it. Stopping district basis will go a long way to bring back the lost respect and quality of the Sri Lankan doctor.

  • 3
    0

    Colombo telegraph : being for all fair reporting why don’t you publish some #myunistory as well… Instead of the high class posh kids from Colombo talking about their struggle with poverty, publish a story of a university student from rikillagaskada. Then you will understand what real poverty is. Find the story how these students worked while in school to make some extra money for their families. Find the story how they could not afford tuitions but yet came out to be the top of their schools…. Find the story how they survived a month from rs. 2000 given from mahapola, and yet managed to send some home. Find out the struggle they go through when they enter medical faculty and everything is in English all of a sudden…! Find out how they get through that obstacle of learning a new language within three months! Find the story how tough those exams in uni were, how many times they were shouted at infront of patients by the teachers, and how many sleepless nights they spent in a wars monitoring a dengue patient! So don’t be partial…! Most of the students who have a my SAITM story do not know what a struggle it is to enter a university and get through an exam…. That is real journalism! This is money driven financial journalism! You are promoting your target crowd, the colombo elite! Be a journalist for a change !

  • 0
    0

    All of u who writes with the tag mage sitm kathawa u ppl really pretended to be a doctor in ur stories and do u believe that there r number of students who has touching stories than urs why they couldnt be a doctor apparently there is no justice…
    And i want to know y u ppls dont agrre to sit for the one last exam which is taken in to count to recognise u ppls as doctors in sl….
    For the first time former president gave scholaships for some students but by the time for sure it will be totally rely on money and the only stable sector in sl gonna lose its certainty.
    At the time sl doctors has a good name all over the world when the things gonna move to money from talent all these gonna dammn worse.

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