By Vinu Grero –
A few days back I went for a leaflet campaign and one question asked by the people was if the students at SAITM are qualified to do a medical degree. A lot of SAITM students are speaking up and this is what I have to say #mysaitmstory
I am a 5th year medical student at SAITM and a past pupil from Lyceum International School Nugegoda.
Like most, I too had a dream of becoming a doctor.
I completed my A/Ls following the Cambridge syllabus and achieved A* and A grades of Chemistry, Biology and Physics.
The Sri Lankan government University has no place for students who pass out from school completing their studies under the London syllabus. So these students need to obtain their tertiary education from a private university. Luckily in Sri Lanka there are several private universities providing degrees in engineering, business management, IT and so on. But SAITM is the only university giving the opportunity for students to do medicine after following the London syllabus (and as well as students who were not fortunate enough to get into the state universities).
With the results I obtained for A/Ls I looked for several universities abroad and I did have the opportunity to get in to some of the best to do medicine but unfortunately my parents were reluctant to send me for several reasons and I was just 16 years old at this time.
So I decided to continue my studies here in mother Lanka. I applied to SAITM which has UGC approval therefore was legally entitled for SLMC registration. To enter I had to undergo two interviews, one which was held by SAITM and the other by the UGC. The total fee for my education was 6.2 million (not 12 million).
Here at SAITM, we are taught by some of the best doctors, consultants and professors in the country. Some who have taught in state universities for many years. Coming this far was not easy for us. We had to work hard through many exams just as in any medical college. Our exams are conducted by SAITM but we have external examiners from state universities at our examination and if any student was not up to the standard they would be failed just like in any university. So just cause we pay for our education, it doesn’t come easy. We need to earn it!
In the past, our students have been denied to do their clinical training at government hospitals which had been offered to SAITM. Therefore SAITM has made a path for us to obtain our clinicals from our very own hospital and from certain private hospitals in the country. As we are guided by the same lecturers as the state medical faculties I don’t see that there is a difference in the knowledge we get. The Students at SAITM have learnt to gather the maximum out of what we have been offered.
Sri Lanka has more than 100 private school and over 5000 students pass out each year and majority of these students want to do medicine and be doctors. It’s just sad to see that Sri Lankan government is yet not able to provide a proper path for these students. Studying abroad is not easy. It cost a lot and this money could be kept within the country if the government had established a way to do so.
At present, there are over 800 students at SAITM, students who are smart and very well qualified. I hope you would take some time and read their stories. Closing down SAITM is not the answer. Nobody would want their dreams destroyed! Education is a right for all no matter what background we come from. So I am asking you to help us! #standwithSAITM