By Sajeeda Darwes –
I studied at Girls High School Kandy and currently I’m a 4th year medical student at SAITM. I passed my G.C.E Ordinary level exam with 10 A’s. I faced my Advanced Level examination in 2011 from Kandy district and I got an A pass for Chemistry and 2 B passes for Biology and Physics. I missed entry to state medical faculty by 3 ranks (by 0.03 z score) Although my Z score was good enough to enter to a state medical faculty in many other districts, unfortunately, it was not from Kandy district. We underwent several issues regarding complications in the Z-Score that year, as both old and new syllabus students faced the examination. It took more than a year for this issue to be settled and we were given another separate z score. By the time the z score issue was sorted, there wasn’t enough time for me to get prepared for another attempt, as our results came in December 2011 but the z score problem was settled in only by January 2013. That year the intake from Kandy district was less in comparison to previous years even though a court order was given to increase the intake.
My mother saw the passion that I had towards pursuing a career in medicine, because when my father passed away, it was my ultimate purpose to make my father’s dream a reality; which was to see me as a Doctor. After seeing that I had worked so hard, and yet was deprived entry into a state university due to the district quota system she wanted to somehow make that dream a reality.
Its not easy for me being a girl, to go abroad and study also with high expenses. Around this time I heard about SAITM which is approved by University Grants Commission and the ministry of higher education. Neville Fernando teaching hospital was being built by that time. I also consulted a few Doctors and Lecturers regarding SAITM. I talked with some of my friends who were studying abroad and at SAITM. I decided to go ahead with SAITM. I considered it a privilege to be given the opportunity to study in my own country.
I applied for SAITM and I underwent two interviews there, one was by the university and the other one was by University Grant commisson and I also faced the examination held by SAITM in order to grant scholarships to deserving students. I passed that exam which comprised of 4 separate papers comprising of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and I.Q. Which was set in English medium. Even though I had done my studies in Sinhala medium I managed to score well. Over the years I had acquired various certificates for Provincial level and district level competitions including Art, Essay and Oratory,etc.. Considering both my academic and extra curricular activities and my current situation I was offered a half scholarship and I started my medical education at SAITM.
Here at SAITM, we are taught by professors and consultants who are also lectures/or used to lecture at state universities. We are really proud to have the opportunity to be guided under such lecturers. We also undergo Final examinations for each subjects which includes M.C.Q,S.E.Q,OSCE and Viva components.
We undergo clinical training not only at Neville Fernando teaching hospital ,but also at some private hospitals in Colombo district in order ensure a very good clinical exposure and experience. Our senior batches attend the forensic appointment and psychiatry attachment at the Awissawella base hospital and also the Kaduwela M.O.H area in order to complete our community medicine appointment. At the end of each major appointment we undergo an end appoinment viva which is conducted by consultants. We also work really hard as we fully understand the responsibility we have to undertake in the future. Because we too know the importance of human life.
And we too aspire to be quality doctors who are serving this nation.
Contrary to popular belief we are not offered the degree purely for money. We also work very hard to get through our exams and it is not something we take lightly.
It is not a secret that in certain foreign universities students are not allowed to interact with patients and thus their clinical exposure is minimal. Yet they are recognized by the SLMC. But here we are given the opportunity to interact with patients. In fact I have interacted with patients in all 3 languages.
Being a Doctor is not an easy task.
Even the foreign graduates are allowed to do their clinical training at government hospitals. So why not allow us to do our clinical appoinments at government hospitals too. We are following the same syllabus as state medical faculty students. Our Final MBBS exams are held under the scrutiny of an excellent panel of examiners including our own faculty professors and external examiners from state universities. If you all are still not happy with our request, then let us sit for a Standardized unbiased exam so that we can prove to you that we are just as capable as any other medical student. In my case I had to pursue my higher studies in the private sector because of the issue created by the z score. I haven’t done any injustice to anyone by joining SAITM. I wanted to follow my passion in Medicine. Please give a chance to students who miss out on their dream of becoming a doctor by a few marks and to study and serve the country