14 December, 2017

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My (Typical) Pera Story

By Sarath Bandara

My name is Sarath Bandara and I was born, the eldest of three children, in Radagama, about 10 km from Anuradhapura. My parents were teachers in the local school, my father an Arts graduate from Peradeniya and my mother teaches in the primary classes. I began schooling in my parent’s school as my father’s friends in the Education department could not help me enter Anuradhapura Central because 10 km was too far away. However I found later that there were many students in the school who lived even further away, but got admission through political influence or by paying money. The advantage of being admitted straight away to a big school in a city was that one not only had good teachers but could continue there even if one did badly in the Grade 5 scholarship examination.

I could only hope that I would do well in the Scholarship examination and get into Anuradhapura Central, something I was able to do because I think of the attention and commitment of my teacher parents. Most of the students in my school did not fare too well and so had to continue in the village school. Prospects for University education for them were low, as they had to do well at the O/L to move out, very difficult as there were no good teachers in Science, Mathematics or English in the school. 

Studying at Anuradhapura Central was not very easy as I had to leave home before 6 in the morning and could not stay behind for sports as the last bus left at 4.  However, thanks to being in that school, I obtained 6 As but only Cs in Mathematics and English at my O/L examination. There were only one or two Bs and no As in these subjects as even big schools in our area cannot get good teachers in Science and Mathematics to stay on. My O/L results were released when I was 17 and I could begin my A/L only at 18 and sit for it only when nearly 21. So I was really surprised to hear that our SAITM nangis could enter Medical school at 16.

In my first attempt, my Z-score was too low for Medicine, something which my mother was very keen I should do. In my second attempt, I put in lot of effort spending most weekends in tuition classes at Anuradhapura. Since my parents could not afford this, I did O/L tuition in science for students in my village to pay for it. I did very well in my second attempt obtaining three As, qualifying for medicine with a rank allowing me to choose my University. My father was overjoyed that I could enter his old University, Peradeniya rather than the nearby Rajarata University. With the delays in release of results and University admission procedures, I was 25 by the time I entered Peradeniya. When I got there I realized the District Quota was sometimes unfair with many students from big schools just outside Kandy like Poromodulla Central entering with low Z-scores because they were from Hanguranketha, Nuwara Eliya district although they were close enough to attend tuition classes in Kandy. However there were also students from deprived areas like Moneragala who were able to enter though District Quota.

I was lucky in that being from Anuradhapura, I could get hostel facilities but unlucky in that I could not apply for Mahapola as my parents combined teacher salaries were too high. This meant that I had to find some other source of income as my parents with two more children to support were finding it rather difficult. I was rather wary about staying in the hostel having heard and read about the rag. However the rag appeared to be less for medical students as our seniors too busy with work, although I must admit that if I did not agree to be in the rag, my hostel stay would have been unpleasant. I had no alternative as I could not pay five times as much for a room. Only those who travel from homes around the University could avoid being ragged but even they would lose out as they would be prevented from participating in sports and batch activities. However the medical faculty rag was fairly mild with a few seniors catching me alone and scolding me in bad language, forcing us having to share meals with four or five others in the canteen and walk two by two like schoolchildren when leaving the Faculty. Ragging in the hostel was also faculty based, so that ragging of medical students were less.

I was lucky to be awarded a Bursary by the University and this made life easier and I could occasionally even send a little money home. However, I found that many children from well-off business families got the Mahapola with a letter from the Grama Niladari confirming their income to be low – something which children of government employees could not do. The money helped them to enjoy a good life at the campus, with expensive phones and sometimes even running motorcycles.

I was totally lost at lecture time at Peradeniya as they were in English and it took me more than six months to even begin to understand what was being said. However my taking taken part in the rag helped me out. I was able to study in exam-oriented “kuppi” classes after work conducted in Sinhala by some of our seniors. Life at Peradeniya Medical faculty was hard work with some excellent lecturers, some not so good and in the clinical years, many more interested in their private practice than in teaching us. However there were text books identified for each course. While some students could buy personal copies, original or photocopied (pirated), I had to rely mostly on library copies as I had no money to spend on books.

The clinical years were hard, tough work times, nights spent at the hospital and probably for our own good, lambasted by some consultants over minor mistakes. It was almost like another rag. Some of those warded had been referred by consultants through channelled consultations, but they were not given preferential treatment. Most consultants were however considerate to students although some were naïve and even bought a story from a batchmate that his father was going through a bypass operation, different consultants excusing him from clinicals for more than a year.

The viva examinations were very tough as they, especially external examiners, often stumped students by asking questions from obscure areas. Our final examinations are important but Peradeniya gives only occasional first classes unlike some other Universities. However the examination for state universities to determine the merit list and seniority which was introduced a few years ago helps us to achieve some sort of balance.

I am now on my last year and should graduate later this year except that our exams have been delayed by the SAITM issue. This has given me some free time and I am able to earn some money through (illegal) locums by helping out private doctors around Kandy, which allows me to send some money home. When I do graduate I will probably be able to do my internship in Anuradhapura but the wait period for that is more than one and a half years after graduation and I would be past 32 giving me only about 28 years in government service. It is amazing that students entering SAITM from international schools could graduate at 21 and theoretically serve government for 39 years.

Many of our seniors have left for Australia, one of the few places where our qualifications can take us, but I hope to stay in Sri Lanka as I do not wish to leave my family behind.

I hope my Pera story will show you that becoming a doctor through the state education route is a long drawn out difficult process, even after doing well at the O/L and A/L.

#MySAITMStory #මගේSAITMකතාව

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Latest comments

  • 25
    24

    what a sob story. dont envy others, do your best without depriving others. the strikes are costing the country money. free education should be revised as it has not beni fitted the masses. what we have got is a group of people who think they should be spoon fed because they passed a exam. in other western countries u pay for education. Tax payers are paying and these bafoons can only crow, that they are deprived of what????

    also must have compulsory government sector without private practice for free educated doctors. this nonsense has gone enough. study or depart.(disc cade)

    • 4
      10

      Hey, there was another sob story by a saitm student; there the strategy is money talks, here the strategy is protesting talks; which is the right one?
      it is not about envying others which is not productive for either; or not on working hard which anyway helps anyone who works hard.

    • 0
      1

      Blud, don’t you see? this is a fabricated sarcastic story. Part of the media campaign by the SAITM.

  • 14
    5

    Sarath Bandara is a long range victim of “Sinhala Only” introduced by S.W.R.D.Bandaranayake for his own political advancement/success.
    There are tens of thousands like him.

    His parents too, both being teachers, apparently failed to teach him spoken/written English from the age of five (along with his mother tongue taught at school) which many English literate parents have done from the nineteen fifties.

    This is/was quite easy, for a half hour daily using one of the many English alphabet/grammar/ writing/reading text books available – within one year, any child could speak/read/write basic grammatical English.

    • 5
      0

      Justice
      I agree with you on the neglect of English. But there are also other factors to consider.

      “Sinhala only” by itself did not lead to the neglect of English teaching.
      And globally English is not the only medium of higher learning.
      The entire East Asia is educated to the highest level in the mother tongue.

      South Asia’s transition to modern education in the mother tongue was half-hearted. Linguistically powerful languages exist, but centuries of direct colonial rule has destroyed the pride of the people except to quarrel in the name of the language and religion.

      I knew Thais, Chinese, Japanese and Mexicans where I worked, whose English language skills were much poorer than that of Sri Lankans. They picked up the English that they needed— not to speak with an impressive accent but to communicate effectively.

      Our problem with learning another language has more to do with not knowing our language well enough.To learn another language is painful without knowing well the rules of grammar in some language.
      There was the Swabasha generation of the 1960’s and 70’s who did well in English post-school. Later generations failed.

      Late Prof. Kulasuriya, Professor of Sinhala at Peradeniya ,a little over a decade ago remarked to a friend of mine: “I say G**** the language problem in this country is not whether it should be Sinhala, Tamil or English, but that we do not have a language at all”.
      Food for thought I would say.

      • 1
        0

        Hello SJ, Are you not over-simplifying the language skill issue.

        I have not done any research on this issue. However, your ‘The entire East Asia is educated to the highest level in the mother tongue’, is not a valid argument for a variety of reasons.

        The population size matters. The facilities matter. The ability of those who were educated prior and in which medium they got educated etc., hold sway.

        We were educated by the British. Naturally, our inclination to pick English over other international languages.

        I could only guess what Late Prof. Kulasuriya meant by what he told your friend. But, I could go terribly wrong. Pray you tell me that in plain language. You seem to embrace it.

        Your, ‘Our problem with learning another language has more to do with not knowing our language well enough’, intrigues me. Could you site sources for your stand, please. Linguists do not seem to reach your finding.

        • 3
          0

          Unreal
          All of us tend to generalize a bit off and on.
          But it is not a population size issue I fear in this case.
          Take India: What progress has higher education in mother tongue made in most states, some with bigger populations than Thailand, N & S Koreas etc.
          In Tamilnadu, the state which is most sentimental about language, one need not learn Tamil to go through the system.
          English dominates all professions and professional education. Not much has been achieved with Hindi either. (I have much to say about of Science & Technology in Sinhala & Tamil in this country, but this is not the time or place.)

          The mind of the South Asian elite has not freed itself of the ‘colony mind-set’ which still finds expression in many ways; this is not the place for me to debate it. (Try to look at Prof T Kandiah’s essay on ‘Kaduwa’ written 40 years ago.)

          I really enjoyed Prof K’s sense of humor; but there is much truth in what he said:
          What he meant was that language education has deteriorated severely in this country over the past three or four decades. (The reasons are manifold.)

          It is my construct, based on discussion with language specialists, that a good grip of the rules of grammar in one language is decisive in acquiring other languages.

          • 4
            0

            SJ, I am glad that you are amenable to corrections.

            However, you repeat your ‘a good grip of the rules of grammar in one language is decisive in acquiring other languages’. I tend to disagree. Please provide sources or evidence to turn me around.

            I would readily grant that a good grip of the rules of grammar of a language is decisive in acquiring a sound knowledge of that language, but no more.

            Sinhala_Man of this forum should be able to break the tie!

            Indian students coming out of good preparatory schools demonstrate much better language skills in English. Just that we don’t get to meet them.

            Tamils neglected English, along with Sinhala, at our peril.

            I recall my class teacher warning me about my poor English language ability. I could not get even a ‘C’ pass, at O/L, even though I had a good grip of English grammar. My vocabulary was horrible. All due to the environment in which I was brought up.

            Our island should give priority to learning English from Grade 1. That’s my thought.

            • 6
              0

              Dear “Unreal”,

              Thanks for the compliment, but I really am NOT very good at learning languages myself. I know English, yes; but may not be grammar, so much – and that has to do with English, which cannot really be analysed in terms of consistent rules. I’ve taught English all my life – an obsession with grammar hinders learning here – because of the “Kaduwa” factor: “either speak the language properly, or shut up is what our elite say.”

              On the other hand my Belgian neighbour claims that it is only hard work that has enabled him to learn so many languages. He may say so; I don’t agree! Certainly the the fact that HE is actually keen on getting corrected helps, but I think that he really has an aptitude for languages. Also, he disagrees with most Educational Psychologists who say that it gets more difficult to learn languages as one gets older.

              By now, however, he realises just what is essential for communication, and that what one language does in one way, another adopts different techniques for. Yes, his regular Latin class every day in school had helped him get grammar worked out. Once we think of transferring insights in to a different language the very meaning of the word “grammar” changes. Refer Noam Chomsky.

              THIS is basically true: we don’t need any formal grammar to learn our first language. I think that I have two first languages – little else. And my mother tongue has not been used enough for serious and abstract purposes.

              I agree with Prof. SJ’s conclusion. I wonder whether Prof. Thiru Kanidah is going to be reading this in Perth, and then making his pronouncements. He reads much of this, but doesn’t comment often in this forum.

              Sorry, “Unreal”, I haven’t really helped, but it is true that the languages must be kept separate and an effort made to consciously keep within the best traditions of each language – what Prof. Ananda Kulasuriya told SJ.

            • 1
              0

              I regret to say that ‘amenability to correction’ unfortunately does not mean nodding to everything that everyone you say.

              I am not in a debating contest here; and if you want to win any debate that you imagine is going on, I will gladly concede, if that makes you any happier.
              I made a point which you wanted clarified, and I thought that I have clarified it.

              Sorry t o deny SM the opportunity to be match referee.

              As both of us appear have said what needs to be said by each, and I will leave it at that.

              • 3
                0

                You are being oversensitive. As a regular to the Forum I brought up a few of my observations. Nobody is debating anybody here. I am not in a contest with you, to call for a referee.

                I said, ‘Sinhala_Man of this forum should be able to break the tie’ in a lighthearted manner. Your preoccupation with debates prevented you from looking at it in the right spirit.

                If any of my comments was hurtful, you were at liberty to point it out. You didn’t have to be cynical.

                I regret engaging with you. Good night!

                • 0
                  1

                  Unreal
                  Do not be so judgmental on me because I respond even to trivial remarks.
                  I do as long as it is innocent fun.
                  I also say things in the same light vein as the other.
                  I enjoy it as long as one goes not descend to the level that some creatures have on these pages; and I even thank you for it.

                  My motto is “non je ne regrette rien”.
                  (The line is the title of Edit Piaf’s famous song translating as “No, I do not regret anything”.)

                  So Good Night and Sweet Dreams.

      • 4
        1

        I’ve got a polyglot neighbour whose mother tongue is French. The Language that is most regular and organised and thus easy to learn, he says is Spanish.

        Other languages that he is fluent in: English (which is the language that we ought to continue with because it really is No.1 in the world – even if somebody tells you that Mandarin Chinese is the First Language of more humans); Dutch (aka Flemish); Latin (he’s really good at it); Russian (he’s read Tolsoy’s War and Peace in it); German (he’s read Immanuel Kant, Goethe etc). Spanish (read Don Quixote) enables him to understand European Portuguese, but the Brazilian version is difficult.

        As others: Arabic (he’d spent a semester in Tunis University – the site of ancient Carthage); Czech (he’s made formal speeches in the language as the Freemason Grandmaster for the Republic, where meetings are held in the Czech language, whereas in Sri Lanka memorisation in Elizabethan English is absolutely insisted upon); Hindi (studied, with lots of books while in Delhi for about five years); Kicongo and Lingala (yes, there are such mainly spoken languages in what was the Belgian Congo), Hebrew, Yiddish, Italian

        Professional qualifications:Finance (been a World Bank Consultant – he says beware that Bank and the IMF).

        His ear is attuned to Sinhala, Dhivehi, Swedish, Norwegian etc.

        Knows little of East European languages.

        I know only Sinhalese and English: our progeny had better learn English, Sinhala and Tamil, and also to live at peace with one another.

        Speaking in a foreign language to kids? Rather like using a condom for you know what! But you’re right – it is the way forward, if it can be arranged.

        SJ’s comment says just enough on our dilemma.

        • 2
          0

          Right now, my neighbour is in Goma, Congo, two kms from the Rwandan border. He’s promised to be in Uva by the 10th of April for Avrudu.

          He had a smattering of Swahili even earlier, he’s more fluent in it now – in its purest form, uninfluenced by Arabic. Lots of lovely vowels, he says.

          I’m sorry if this is beginning to sound like Chess players saying what should happen if we desisted from following the Sicilian Defence, Smith–Morra Gambit at white move 68?

          I don’t understand chess!

        • 2
          0

          Sorry! Oh dear, what have I said? He knows little of East ASIAN languages. Russian is, of course, East European.

          Of course knowing such a variety of languages – some Semitic: Arabic, Hebrew, Yiddish, and those three African languages (all the others are Indo-European of various branches) he has lots of insights in to features of linguistics. So, as he says, the same essential Chinese sound can have different meanings depending on the pitch of the voice. Greek to me – he regrets not having learnt THAT language in which the Classical literature (although a much smaller body than Latin Writings) is more worth knowing.

          His English vocabulary (or more specifically his ability to guess the meaning of a new word) is wider than mine, but he admits that my English is more correct than his. Slang and colloquialisms occasionally stump him. I spoke of a “shoddy job” – he didn’t understand.

          Yes, lots of insights in to Linguistics, embarrassing for me to acknowledge that I know much less, despite my first name:

          Quote from here:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_grammar

          “Chomsky, in an award acceptance speech delivered in India in 2001, claimed “The first generative grammar in the modern sense was Panini’s grammar”. I’m told that the 2,400 year old Sanskrit grammar influenced the growth of computer language.

          Learned words are no problem at all for him, but In French an island on which people live is a “habited island”; if nobody lives on it it is “inhabited” apparently in French

          http://dictionary.reverso.net/french-english/habit%C3%A9.

          Occasional confusion with pronunciation: a genuine puzzle to him one day why “crow” and “eyebrow” don’t rhyme!

          It really is true that English is one of the messiest languages to learn!

          • 2
            0

            SM
            It is OK.
            Russia stretches across East Asia.

      • 3
        0

        Dear SJ and Unreal,

        There was a time in history when there was only one subject as it were – common sense. Now almost every branch of study has got so specialised that there is a need for us to reach out to people in other disciplines since each specialist may not be seeing the whole picture.

        What I’ve been outlining is mainly my personal experience. Prof. Thiru Kandiah was my teacher of Linguistics. He left for the National University of Singapore before I completed my degree. He left somewhere in 1985 – mostly because of the ethnic situation. Culturally, most of us on this website have something of the a Brit in him/her, I guess. Apart from that, Thiru was really only “half Tamil”, and he knew his Sinhalese. I lectured for a year – 1986, and I was asked to teach Phonology – mainly English Speech.

        Thiru and I had both been at S. Thomas’ Mt Lavinia – he almost throughout, I for two years, obviously much later. I see myself as a villager. Thiru was the High Priest of Lankan English, and I used to say that his definition of that entity was tyrannical because he seemed to define it as the English spoken in our College in the 1950s. How was the genuine villager (like the composite guy called Sarath Bandara) ever going to master it? I had veered much closer to Standard British English – the sort of thing that you hear on the BBC. Many say that I sound WEIRD. But I can be understood.

        I’ve heard Prof Sivasegaram on YouTube: he speaks very well.

        I think that it is very necessary that we have a notion of grammar, and take the trouble to conform to certain norms. Thiru has a wonderful ear for accents and nuances, and he has formulated “Rules” of a sort for Lankan English. Part of the problem is that nobody controls the English language, and words and speech patterns have flowed in to it from multifarious sources. “Old English” is what was used from 700 to 1100 A.D. It’s a different language – which Doric d’ Souza knew – few Sri Lankans after him, except in an academic way. Spelling tends to be conservative (even the American variety), but there are plenty of audio recordings available of reconstructions of Chaucer’s English. He lived from 1340 to 1400. Shakespeare was 1564 to 1616. His pronunciation has been worked out but few of us have studied it. There’s a sort of standard “Gielgud” way that has now evolved.

        There’s much more system and correspondence between pronunciation and spelling in Spanish. Greater purity is insisted upon in French than in English.

        Sinhala: schoolmasters try to insist on regulating the language, the young (especially those who DON’T know much English) insist on showing that they are the NOW generation by unnecessarily studding their utterances with English words. Thus the Kulasuriya complaint.

        • 1
          0

          SM
          Thanks

    • 2
      1

      justice
      At last you agree that those gov. regulations victimized not only Tamils but also the Sinhalese. That is why I always say what happens in Sri Lanka is not racial between Tamils and Sinhalese but the wealthy and the poor. Irrespective of the race poor are neglected, discriminated and victimized. Look at the wealthy Tamils in Colombo, Kandy and other parts of the south and how they are living happily. Look at how many rich Muslim students are in SAITM. Do you see any discrimination?? Lazy Tamils like you are trying a free ride complaining of fake discrimination.

    • 2
      0

      justice,

      “This is/was quite easy, for a half hour daily using one of the many English alphabet/grammar/ writing/reading text books available – within one year, any child could speak/read/write basic grammatical English.”

      Easy?

      Why then do not the children in Jaffna learn English despite studying it at school, tuition and some even enjoying the so called English medium from Grade 6?

  • 5
    2

    Sarath Bandara:

    Your story is true. Money talks. I heard some where, About 250,000 students face exams a year. Yet only 25,000 are selected for the university. Sri lanka should have medical research facilities where doctos of your type can excel over the SAITM students who won’t be that out standing.

    govt should have solved it properly. I say, the previous govt’s higher educagion minister should have been prosecuted for improper handling of SAITM registration. But, I think the system is arranged in order to injustice to thrive.

    On the other hand, few doctors staying in Sri lanka when they strike or when they take patients as hostages, that is unfair. It is like they showing their back to the same poor parents or the society that they came from.

  • 14
    7

    You got it all free and you want to stop SAITM getting it even after paying. What an insanely jealous idiot you are, not fit to treat patients, and delaying your own exam by your own strike. At least some truth came out of you. Speak forth for justice for all, as honesty is needed to treat patients and vision to uplift a nation

    • 1
      1

      Look he was not critical of SAITM. There is freedom of expression He just related his story. In fact hi subtley suggest that if he had money he could have too could have gone to SIATM
      Also it shows that because of the nonsense of other students how a person like him had to suffer. It is not sob-story it is a true reflection of ones life. Please learn to listen to others views. Don’t by so haughty and arrogant in passing judgement about someone else’s life

  • 5
    5

    Instead of writing only about the Singhalese students who are wealthy & powerful, it would be nice to write about Tamil students at the Uni as well.

    How disadvantaged are the lot comparing with Sarath. Our nature is always looking up & compare, not looking down for worse off.

    Any way Tamils have no hope in Sri Lanka.

    • 6
      5

      Tribal Tamils use their tribalism even for this.

      Tamils cannot show that they are affected and they know they are always favoured every way.

    • 2
      2

      Good, So piss-off!

    • 1
      3

      “Any way Tamils have no hope in Sri Lanka.”

      Stop ! stop ! Please stop !

      You’re bringing tears to my eyes !!!

  • 14
    0

    Dear Sarath Bandara

    RE: My (Typical) Pera Story

    1. “I would be past 32 giving me only about 28 years in government service. It is amazing that students entering SAITM from international schools could graduate at 21 and theoretically serve government for 39 years.”

    2. “Many of our seniors have left for Australia, one of the few places where our qualifications can take us, but I hope to stay in Sri Lanka as I do not wish to leave my family behind.”

    3. “I hope my Pera story will show you that becoming a doctor through the state education route is a long drawn out difficult process, even after doing well at the O/L and A/L.”

    Thanks for your story.

    Both you and the SAITIM students are victims of the flawed Educational System we have.

    You and and the many Sinhala and Tamil Medium students are victims of the Sinhala only act and the resulting civil war.

    Your problem , and deficiencies have nothing to do with SAITIM.

    Even though you studied in the Sinhala medium, and did not do well, in your first try,based your second try by attending tuition classes, it looks like that you had the native intelligence to get o medical school, even though your English proficiency was insufficient, initially.

    The current medical school entrance qualification system for the State Universities is flawed for the reasons given below.

    1. The first try, second try and 3rd try are all measured under the Same Score for the Same district.

    If the First try Z score was 1.7, then the second try Z score should be 1.8 and 3rd try Z score should be 1.9. for all in the same district.

    2. The cut off Z score for outstation can be 1.6 but will increase to 1.7 and 1.8, on the second and 3rd try.

    Those who take 3 and 4 years to do an exam shoukd not be put on the same level as those who take only 2 years to do the same exam.

    3. There should an intelligence test, besides the subject tests. This will further level the admissions.

    The SAITIM, is an attempt to fix the deficiencies of the current medical education.

    So, the Sri Lankan tax payers are paying for free education, and then the doctors leave for Australia. What do the people get? Ar least some of the SAITIM doctors will stay and server the people.

    You have made your case for a multiple SAITIM Medical Schools.

    You have also made the case that the State Medical Schools are not up to par, and only Australia accepts the Medical Graduates.

    You also have the case indirectly, that the SAITIM issue is about the Cast-ism and Hegemony of GMOA and SLMC.

    Thank you for your story.

  • 16
    2

    Dear Bandara,
    “I hope my Pera story will show you that becoming a doctor through the state education route is a long drawn out difficult process, even after doing well at the O/L and A/L.”
    Yes, it is a difficult process as you say. But you must remember that we, the public paid for it even more than your parents. So what is wrong if some parents decide to use their own money to educate their children?
    Those children too passed their exams. By your logic, people who have vehicles should not be allowed to use them because others have to travel in buses.
    Come off it. You are not exclusively entitled to be a doctor or whatever. All you are trying to do is keep the spoils to yourself. A dog in the manger in short.

    • 8
      2

      Dear “old codger”,

      I hope you know by now that I wouldn’t want to qualify what you say unless I feel that there is a real need to.

      I think that you are too harsh on Sarath Bandara when you describe him as “a dog in the manger”. Recently, some of those defending SAITM have tried to make out that there is nothing useful going on in State Universities. I think that it would be useful to see this as an attempt to show how difficult it is for less advantaged Sri Lankans. Yes, State Universities are directly funded by public funds.

      We tend to equate “public funds”with what is paid as direct income tax. I lack the knowledge of Economics and Finance to prove it to be otherwise, but, taking a broad view, I’m sure that this is simplistic.

      So is the argument that private education is funded solely by individuals, and that those individuals DON’T depend on “the system” to such an extent that they owe it to others in the society to contribute. Many of the “super rich” are clever and unprincipled exploiters. It may be that what I say doesn’t seem to make sense! May I put it this way:

      What matters is how many from each system will stay on in Sri Lanka and (since we’re focussing on doctors) serve the average people of the country.

      My parents were by no means rich,but they spent huge amounts on private education on me and my siblings. There was only a limited amount of such elite education and a section of our society monoplised it. Half of my siblings are no longer citizens of this country, and their own children (my nephews and nieces) know nothing of Sinhalese or of Sinhalese culture. However, they have been successful and are decent human beings. But how much of this brain drain can our own society afford? I don’t have an answer to it, myself.

      State education is a shambles: it has to be depoliticised and made more efficient. Education must allow a fair amount of social mobility – else we may have violent upheavals from the frustrated.

      I think that you are attributing to Sarath Bandara things which he neither stated nor implied. He seems only to be saying that he is not as pampered of irresponsible as some have been making him out to be – for reasons of their own. YOU are different! You may not have seen life from the stand-point of the hardworking and honest poor. Such a category does exist!

      Sarath B. doesn’t really want SAITM scrapped: he’s reminding us of growing disparities and contrasts.

      • 9
        0

        Dear Sinhala Man,
        What I am aganist is this sense of entitlement that State medical students seem to have. ” I studied hard. I passed exams.That means I am smarter than others. Therefore the govt must give me a job” is the gist of their thinking, it seems.
        To put it in perspective, do engineers protest against SAITM’s and SLIIT’s engineering degrees? Do lawyers protest against places that offer law degrees? Why only doctors? Obviously it is to protect their earnings. Why do so many students want to become doctors but not ,for example , TIG welders (a field which pays even better than medicine). A software engineer can get up to Rs.200,000 p.m. within 5 years if he is any good.
        Passing exams does not make one good at anything but passing exams.
        There are lots of physicians in this country who are excellent healers but have not passed high-falutin’ exams. They are called Vedamahattayas.
        The Vedamahattayas will stay in this country. The products of state universities and private ones, nothwithstanding their professed high ideals, will always have one eye on Australia, as Bandara himself says.
        ” Education must allow a fair amount of social mobility – else we may have violent upheavals from the frustrated.”
        In this country, everything depends on social recognition. There are lakhs of jobs in garment factories, but women prefer slavery in the Gulf. There are said to be 6000 vacancies in Port City.There is heavy demand for plumbers, electricians, auto technicians. But everybody wants to be a doctor.
        These attitudes to labour MUST change. A clean suit is not everything.

        • 8
          0

          Dear Old Codger,

          Thanks. What is great about you is that whatever you say carries the discussion forward:

          “These attitudes to labour MUST change. A clean suit is not everything.”

          What you have said above is what is going to increasingly haunt us in the years to come. I’m not a very practical man myself, but I recognise that the most important contribution to society is by those who are proud to perform feats of manual labour. We’ve got to respect them.

          I’ve just scrolled down. You’ve not been able to locate “Radagama”, but that brilliant engineer, Prof. Sivasegaram, has done some excellent investigation for us, and made a lot of good observations (am I being patronising, SJ? I can tell you that I’m being sincere!).

          I have seen an article by Prof. R.P. Gunewardena, a good man who was in charge of whatever “research” is done on Education in schools in the country when he was the Head of the National Institute of Education. There only for a very short time – not very effective, but a good man. I predict that his article will not be easy to read. This Sarath Bandara writes more smoothly.

          You will not realise what a mess education has become, and it’ll get worse: mutual incomprehensibility by users of English is not far off. Even at “S. Thomas’ Collages”. You see computer literates depend so much on computer spell checks that they overlook mistakes that don’t get underlined. I think that you can spend a million of our devalued rupees and get yourself “Grammarly”.

          https://www.grammarly.com/?q=brand&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=brand_f2&utm_content=76996511166&utm_term=grammarly&matchtype=e&placement=&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAjw5M3GBRCTvpK4osqj4X4SJAABRJNCT7dVoBD_fQCf34B4VWJex_BJI1NdW8q-GDr1l_FZgRoCJozw_wcB

          That is so sophisticated that it will tell you that “collage” is an English word all right, but with a different meaning, Our minds that are going to stop functioning fairly soon, also know it well enough!

        • 2
          0

          Dear old codger and Sinhala_Man

          1. “What I am against is this sense of entitlement that State medical students seem to have.”

          2. ” I studied hard. I passed exams.That means I am smarter than others. Therefore the govt must give me a job” is the gist of their thinking, it seems.”

          We all can agree that the students studied hard and memorized hard. Are they really smarter and or more intelligent? What is the data in support or against it?

          Please read Amarasiri’s Post dated March 22, 2017 at 7:32 am, for a preamble.

          In addition many years ago, the intelligence level of Peradeniya students from the different faculties and departments were tested. The ranking based on intelligence were as given below. Do not know what the mean of the test results for each faculty and the standard deviation of the mean. How can one he hold of test data? The data will most likely show the details of the testing using A/L subject scores only, without taking intelligence test results into account.

          Furthermore, many were admitted to the different faculties and departments after the second and 3rd try. Clearly they are less intelligent than those who entered in theur first try by studying at the A/L for only 2 years.

          Peradeniya Faculty and Dept Rankings based on Intelligence Tests.

          1. Faculty of Science- Physical Sciences,; Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry

          2. Faculty of Engineering

          3. Faculty of Medicine,
          Faculty of Dentistry
          Faculty of Agriculture
          Faculty of Science; Biological Sciences: Botany, Zoology, Chemistry

          4. Faculty of Arts; Different Departments

          A medical student may not be smarter than a science or an engineering student. However, if the medical student has a deep desire to do medicine, for various reasons, and if they are qualified to do medicine, and the intelligence and skills are sufficient complete the course in 4 or 5 years, they shoukd be given the opportunities by the stare medical schools or the private medical schools like SAITIM’s. Of course there are economic limitations for the number of available slots.

          Can somebody test the IQ’s of the students entering the university, every year This data is solely needed, as part of the educational reform process, because the national average IQ is 79.

          • 3
            0

            Dear Amarasiri,
            “Furthermore, many were admitted to the different faculties and departments after the second and 3rd try. Clearly they are less intelligent than those who entered in theur first try by studying at the A/L for only 2 years.”
            I don’t believe that a student passing in the 3 rd shy is less intelligent. It may be that he is aware of his own capability and takes it easy. The dumber one HAS to cram and passes.
            As an aside, I have a neighbour, a school principal, who asked me once whether hydro-electric power was used in the time of the Sinhala Kings. Sadly, the man is a graduate.

            “Can somebody test the IQ’s of the students entering the university, every year “
            It may be simpler to check their IQ’s at about grade 5 and then provide the right education to each IQ category. Scrap all unnecessary exams.

            • 5
              0

              old codger,

              “I have a neighbour, a school principal, who asked me once whether hydro-electric power was used in the time of the Sinhala Kings.”

              Was it?

              • 4
                0

                Lone Wolf,
                Of course it was. How could Ravana have used his atom bombs and Dandumonaras without electricity?. Not to mention his automatic kasaya-maker.
                Check with Dr. Mirando Obeysekera, the great manufacturer of history.

  • 9
    0

    It is unfortunate our educational systems have not improved making it a long period to enter university.
    If you follow international stream there is no.gap allowed sitting for OLs and continuing ALs immediately and also join the university within weeks after AL results.

    Therefore joking a degree programme at the age of 16 is nothing unusual.

  • 10
    0

    There is nothing wrong for students getting better grades at AL to be given free tax payer funded education and others being asked to pay for their university education.

    District system is nonsense since some of the schools in Colombo don’t even have the facilities what Anuradhapura Central would have.

    Your university education is getting delayed due to your own accord by staying away from lectures and it is your problem. If you had to pay for your education you would never stay away from lectures nor would you be involved in ragging and that is the truth. Hope you guys are asked to pay for your university education after passing out over say 10 years. Imagine Peradeniya students destroying the Athulathmudali plaque inside the campus. This is the type of behavior that has inculcated due to free tax payer funded education.!!!

    There is nothing called a free lunch since someone has to pay for it. Hope university students understand this.

    Private sector funded education in all spheres including medicine is a must and should co-exist with free tax payer funded education and hope university students and politicians understand this.

    Also university students better understand that after getting tax payer funded education, they cannot demand a tax payer funded govt job as well. This is crazy and has to stop.

    Our mentality of not willing to payi for anything is the biggest curse.

  • 2
    0

    Mr. Sarath Bandara,

    Thanks for your sharing your story. You seem to be honest especially admitting the problem of ragging. I do agree that ragging is faculty based. My friends/colleagues at Moratuwa uni and science faculty at Colombo actually have quite positive stories. Even though they are vastly out-numbered the seniors at the science faculty even protect the freshers from ragging attempts by the Arts faculty dirt-bags. Medical students in most uni in SL say that life is too difficult to focus on ragging others. Not that it doesn’t happen but those students have more important things to do.

    Regarding free education, people have to know there are very few countries that have universal free tertiary education. That means almost zero University AND importantly Tuition fees. The countries that come to mind are Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. But other than that, vast majority of countries levy Tuition fees even if university fees are zero. Many countries like the US, India, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea have private universities. Even some EU nations have private universities.

    The other thing is options in entering universities. There are several Schools is the UK providing Foundation/pre-clinical year education for students who don’t have a science background. – http://www.medschools.ac.uk/Students/Courses/Pages/FoundationPre-clinicalyear.aspx

    In Germany entrance to medical schools are not purely based on ‘Abitur’ results/ranking. It also depends on how long a student has been in the waiting list and universities can directly admit students too.

  • 7
    4

    Study or depart without eating public funds and ruin ones prime of life.

    • 1
      0

      When you say study or depart do you mean “Disce Au Discede”

      • 5
        0

        Dear Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam, my old antagonist,

        Good to see you enjoying yourself. Actually I did spend six weeks at Royal College in 1970, doing Teaching Practice. I observed some of the teachers, sitting in the class. Latin teacher, EFC Pereira was also an inspiring English teacher. Viji Weerasinghe – find command of English, and very sure of himself. Kandaswami (Kandos) was a joke even to the students (he imagined that Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice was as vehemently in love with Eliza as he claimed to be). And I was roped in to help with some scenes from “The Merchant of Venice”, produced by Kandos. Shanmuganathan? – much more effective, despite a heavy accent.

        The school was well run by Bogoda Premaratne.

        However, Dr. Gnana S., I hope you see how “free education” is being lampooned today.

        We’ve each got to make the best of what we have. Unfortunately, my Old schools are not doing that, and I’m wondering if I ought to give the present position. I’m wondering if it will be published, once submitted:

        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/

        After all it is not as offensive as this, about which the editors have added a note which says they disapprove the article!

        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-need-to-legalize-underage-marriages/

  • 4
    0

    To be fair, while the strikes are haphazard and lacking proper direction over what they’re striking about, this whole issue has been given a voice from both sides and the realities are pretty disgraceful. I myself went to an international school although my parents weren’t and aren’t rich, and we soon realized that money was the only way to get anywhere. Prefects and sports captains are appointed based on the size of your parents bank account and “donations” , which negated the hard work of those who got appointed on their own merits and those who were looked over bc they weren’t popular enough. there’s flaws in the system on both sides – privatization of education is the most ridiculous thing and clearly prioritizes money Iverson hard work bc it’s firstly a for-profit business, education is secondary, that’s a fact.. the free education system is also clearly a joke to those in charge when teachers get paid squat and classrooms around the country lack facilities, sometimes basic.. taxpayers and students should be more outraged at the mishandling of our education system in both sides…

  • 6
    0

    r u doing illegal locum? what the hell slmc is doing here?

  • 1
    0

    Stories of this nature are many at all universities. It is poverty based. It has mostly subsided with the advent of Mahapola scholarships. Some parents sell or mortgage properties to finance the education of their children. Then the student comes with the burden to do well and pay back. That alone makes him nervous stressful and anxious with the problem what if I fail. My batch mate/ room mate at peradeniya did not return to the campus after the first exam which he failed. He committed suicide being difficult to face his parents who mortgaged property to educate him. Most American universities ask a few questions about how the overseas entrants will finance their studies.They even go the extent of asking how they will find money to transport the body in case of death. Forget all this even if a student passes O and A Levels with all A passes a person from village schools will find it difficult to get a jog without fluency in English.Successive govts. have failed to address this issue.

  • 8
    1

    Well I ll be damned, you sure can speak/write pretty well in english for someone who coculdnt speak a word a few years ago, shows what a fake you are.

    • 5
      1

      “Well I ll be damned, you sure can speak/write pretty well in english “

      I was about to say it myself. Maybe Sarath had some help from those nice aiyas at the GMOA?

      • 4
        0

        I do know of some persevering students who enter campus with very poor english but through sheer will and determination improve vastly during their campus years. Maybe Sarath Bandara is one of them? If so, he ought to be congratulated for his achievement.

      • 8
        0

        Dear Suresh,

        I have already submitted a “Pro-Sarath Bandara”comment, and also I have later seen VR ‘s exposure of factual discrepancies.

        This English cannot be “pure Sarath Bandara”; however hard one works at English, it is difficult to acquire quite natural sounding English, starting as an adult. English is a difficult language to master. There’s nothing wrong with his having got it written.

        We’ve got to attend to the content. Responses have been too dismissive. It is assumed that he’s one of the street protesters, who doesn’t study. He says: “our exams have been delayed by the SAITM issue. This has given me some free time and I am able to earn some money through (illegal) locums by helping out private doctors around Kandy, which allows me to send some money home.”

        It may be that he’s trying to have it both ways, and puts himself first. It’s something many of us do!

    • 7
      0

      This account sounds authentic enough to me. I’ve been “a village teacher” (in the sense that my most of my teaching was in State Schools in the remote Uva Province, albeit they were in a largish town).

      Yes, the children of teachers in these schools finally make it to the University by dint of perseverance. However, the author concedes that children with less educated parents fell by the wayside, and he has sympathy for them.

      Is the author really saying that SAITM shouldn’t exist? Not really. That string of “My SAITM” stories became too long; some of them, and even more comments on them, spoke of Colombo kids cheating by sitting from outstation schools. Overall they were smug and reflected a sense of self-satisfaction. Sarath Bandara has starkly exposed the inequality within the remoter Districts – and the lack of competent English teachers is a very real problem. Also what he says about his own inadequate English and “Kuppi Panthi”. It is good fro us to realise that these problems exist in rural areas. There is nothing racist in his not writing about Tamil Medium students: he talks about what he knows best.

      The English that the article is couched in? No, it needn’t be his own. There are many reasons for English not getting learnt properly in this country: one of them is not summoning the courage to ask for help in polishing what has been written. I know that the GMOA is politically motivated etc. They may have helped, or it may be somebody else. Nothing wrong in that.

      This may be the beginning of a counter campaign; both sides must be heard. Let’s hope this lot don’t get repetitive, stereotyped and predictable.

      Lastly, on the subject of English; what I say about my background and status is always true. This is my own spontaneous English, but my background is different, and I read English in Pera.

  • 4
    3

    Sarath, I am sure you got a few doctors to help you draft, edit and proofread your long journey to medical school…..I can even see you sweltering in the Pettah sun waving placards and shouting slogans like a ill mannered parrot. Perhaps you expected sympathy from this forum but all you got were rotten tomatoes.

    Your article is steeped in jealousy…..the same jealousy that has kept the sinhala back since independence, the same venomous envy that created the JVP, the same backward attitude that drove away all educated people from this country over the past 50 years.

    So you will become a doctor next year? I would regardlessc trust a young intelligent articulate graduate from SAITM over you….Why you ask….simple…attitude!!

    • 7
      0

      Dear Dias,

      I wonder if you understand the gravity of your own words.

      I don’t call myself “a patriot”, despite the name I’ve given myself.

      What a disgusting lot of people we’ve had on this island. Human beings should be able to relate to those who live in close proximity to themselves. If this is what those brought up in this country have been doing, it explains why we deserve a fate even worse than what seems to have befallen us:

      ” The same backward attitude that drove away all educated people from this country over the past 50 years.”

      There’s something clearly wrong with our ethos, and with our education if we haven’t got the decency to stay put HERE and put things right. I don’t think very highly of people who run away to white societies as economic migrants – mind that’s what half my family have also done.

      Forget ancient history. Our country is really only 69 years old – after we regained independence. We are not showing any mettle. We have to gird our loins, and build our country!

      At another level, since childhood I’m one who believed that there should be “World Government” and that we should move away from this concept of “Nation States”. However, if we express the sort of contempt you do for those who live in the closest proximity to you, you are not displaying an attitude that is in any way admirable.

      It is OUR responsibility to analyse what WE have done to our own country, and put it right.

  • 3
    3

    Dear Writer,
    I am an academic working in a developed overseas country. However, I have studied in a State University in Sri Lanka and worked in a State University in Sri Lanka. My academic field is not science or medicine but in other professional area. I have also studied in USA and worked in USA as an academic before my current academic job.
    I have read your story and see that you have gone through a proper channel in medical education. I have also read stories published by other students who are studying in SAITAM.
    My personal opinion is that I strongly oppose the SAITAM and any other medical degrees offered by private institutions in Sri Lanka.
    In the long run those private medical schools in Sri Lanka will destroy the international accreditation of the medical degrees produced by the Sri Lankan State universities. I have many reasons for my opinion but I do not have adequate space to write those reasons.
    I have seen that developed countries like Australia and USA getting into a medical school is extremely difficult and demanding. The medical schools in Australia and USA admit only students who get admission test marks and year 12 exam marks (in the relevant subject stream) in the 99% or higher.
    Most people who support private medical education in Sri Lanka providing an argument that countries like USA and Australia or other developed countries have private universities then why we cannot have private universities and medical degrees in Sri Lanka.
    The real picture of the recognized private university in those countries (USA and Australia) is different and their academic standing is much higher than a state university. Examples are Harvard, Stanford in USA and Bond University in Australia. There is only one private university (non-profit making entity) in Australia. These private universities are non-profit making entities. Their main objective is not making money or profit but enhancement of knowledge, research and community service. These private universities are not managed by medical “mudalils” like in Sri Lanka.

  • 6
    2

    There is a factual error in the Sarath Bandara’s story

    Anuradhapura Central does not admit students to Grade 1. The school admits students only at the Grade 6 using Grade 5 scholarship exam resulrs as the entry criteria. Few children of old boys/girls are admitted and that is also by using grade 5 scholarship exam as the criteria. I am an old boy of that school

    • 1
      1

      VR:

      Why don’t you phone and ask instead of making dumb comments

  • 7
    2

    I do not know of a Radagama around 10 km from Anuradhapura (check google map). I have a feeling that this is a fake story.

    • 8
      0

      Dear Sarath Bandara,

      I hope you realise that you have to respond to these two comments by VR.

      Even if the facts of your life are proved to have been concocted, some of the points that you have made will remain valid. However, there will be growing cynicism about the way we regard all young people.

      VR has obviously checked on “Radagama”in Google maps – I’m not wasting time on that. You have to know the place very well, even if that particular place is not prominently named. Find it on Google Earth and give us the co-ordinates, please.

      • 2
        1

        Sinhala man,
        I couldn’t find a Radagama near Anuradhapura. There is one in Madampe.
        Maybe the GMOA is taking a page from the SAITM CEO shooting saga?

      • 4
        0

        Radagama is in North Central Province and is nearby to Janajayagama, Tammuttegama and Ranorawa.
        I could not measure the distance on the map; but it is not far from Anuradhapura.

        About Anuradhapura Central’s age of admission we need to go back some 20 years to check if it had a primary section then.

      • 5
        0

        On being at Anuradhapura Central there is no claim to having been there for primary education, he appears to believe stories about admission to the school.
        People believe all manner of things that they hear and that is part of “RTI” as well as “RTD”.

        Such errors do not justify the condemnation:
        “However, there will be growing cynicism about the way we regard all young people.”

        Looking around here, I see much justification for young people to be cynical in the way they regard older people.

        • 1
          0

          SJ,

          “People believe all manner of things that they hear and that is part of “RTI” as well as “RTD”.”

          RTI is not at all about hearing as you must know. What do you actually try to say?

          The idea is to obtain existing documents to verify if what we hear, read, suspect or believe is true. Of course there is the problem of documents that might not give the correct information like some less than perfect minutes of meetings. Have you read about the changes in the minutes of the Central Bank Board meetings? The meetings are now recorded. Very good idea! Thank you for the new governor.

          I found minutes of the Council meetings of Cambridge University on line. Some thing for UoJ or will it create too much “noise”?

          In the case of “Sarath Bandara” RTI can be used to request the school he mentions and Pera University to provide an A levels certificate and some kind of registration from the university. The documents should verify where he went to school and that he is a medical student.

          I don’t care whether Sarath exists. Just giving examples.

          • 2
            0

            LW
            Have a sense of humor– Do not take me literally on RTI & RTD.
            But sadly, RTI here is a much misunderstood creature and what I have often seen practiced in its name has been an exercise of RTD.

            My point is that people tend to believe what they like to hear.
            And gossip and fantasy are more interesting than hard facts and that is what keeps media alive.
            Will not you agree with me that each medium practices its own brand of RTD.

            Central Bank Board minutes are confidential to the extent that they are not in the public domain.
            But the state and the Court hive right of access. Even an ex-Governor’s solicitor has the right of access through the right channels.

            • 2
              0

              SJ,

              “My point is that people tend to believe what they like to hear.”

              Human nature.

              “And gossip and fantasy are more interesting than hard facts and that is what keeps media alive.”

              Yes. In addition very few will understand hard facts even if they are provided. Just think about the MPs deciding on important questions. Only 25 graduates and even their quality is a big unknown. Note that I am not claiming that higher education makes somebody a good MP but it helps.

              “Will not you agree with me that each medium practices its own brand of RTD.”

              Yes.

              “Central Bank Board minutes are confidential to the extent that they are not in the public domain.”

              Pretty much nothing at the moment in SL is in what I consider public domain. We have to make a request to receive information. There are plans to increase the information that is automatically posted on line.

              I don’t actually know if CB Board minutes are confidential. Only after somebody makes a request we know what is exempted from the RTI. Of course exemption means that a request and an appeal are rejected and then even the RTI Commission decides that the information is not to be shared. This is all so new that as far as I know only one appeal has been rejected.

              I hope that our oppressed learn to use RTI to defend themselves like in India.

              “But the state and the Court hive right of access.”

              What court? There is no court case against Mahendran.

              The main point I tried to make is that the minutes of the CB Board meetings were tampered with after the meetings and since the new governor took over they are recorded.

              There was a RTI request for the financial statements of the political parties. They sent the financial statements but whether the information is correct is another question.

            • 2
              0

              SJ,

              Please find below a comment I posted some days ago. Maybe you have not read it.

              SJ,

              “When members abide by rules (written or unwritten), organizations prosper and when members violate them for purpose of self interest or other undesirable motives, institutions suffer.”

              I am not interested in the members and their self interest. I care about the people.

              We have now the RTI Act that provides the rules. As usual in SL implementation and especially going to court will be the problems.

              “I think that there is an oversimplification of RTI. It cannot be access to everything everywhere by everybody.”

              There are pretty clear rules in the Act about what kind of requests will be rejected.

              “That, even if desirable to some, is unattainable in practice and placing all information in the public domain will lead to chaos.”

              I have studied the RTI situation in some countries like the USA, UK, Australia and India. One of the last decisions of Obama was declaring all “federal” information that has not been especially declared confidential public. Except for India these countries have a relatively long tradition of RTI. Where is the chaos you expect? In India many poor and oppressed are using the RTI to access information on what happens or doesn’t happen in their communities.

              “(You know the definition of NOISE as an excess of information.)”

              Yes I do.

              “I fully agree that any party affected or likely to be affected by a decision or even an observation has the right of formal access, but through proper channels– not leaks, which do lead to abuse.”

              I finance UoJ paying tax, I know members of the staff and students. I am worried about the alleged abuses that I have read about. Do you agree that I have the right to request copies of the minutes of the Council meetings and that a RTI request is the proper channel? Would making a request for the minutes of Council meetings be abuse or would publishing selected parts of the minutes be abuse?

              I know that you are not a lawyer, the information officer of UoJ nor the spokesman for the Council. I am asking your personal opinion and giving my unsolicited opinion.

              Would a university in the UK reject a FOI request to have copies of Council minutes and travel allowances?

              “There is need for accepted procedure– not stealthy acts.”

              Yes but in case the masses do not understand their rights or do not use their rights an insider may decide to leak important information thinking about the common good.

              In many cases even leaking classified information is justified to protect human rights, life, environment etc.

              Hmmmm…. Where did I save that RTI request form?

              Lone Wolf
              March 19, 2017 at 9:47 pm
              Reply

            • 2
              0

              LW
              I will simply restate my position.
              RTI cannot be a free-for-all to place all and sundry in the public domain.
              I fully endorse the right of persons to specific items of information where it affects personal or even public interest.
              But there should be a procedure to follow.

              Confidentiality (in reality, restricting, not prohibiting access) is necessary for institutions.
              Responsible members show restraint in such matters even while protesting at what they think is wrong.
              A breach is morally justified under extreme conditions, and when all feasible legitimate means are exhausted
              It is civilized conduct to seek permission before going public on part or whole any proceedings of meetings, especially because people need some institutional assurance to discuss subjects freely.

              What I resent is selective leakage, distortion and misquotation of non-finalized documents, especially by vested interests.
              That has been the issue for me on these pages, where I found the accused with their hands tied by a code of conduct, while unscrupulous attackers took advantage of it. (Please do not expect me to go through all of that once more.)

              I play by the rules; and believe that it is good to do so even when a rule is not to my liking. I fight to change what I think are unfair rules, but do not violate them while they exist.

              I think that I have said enough to make my position clear.

              • 0
                0

                SJ,

                We are mostly repeating what we already posted. You continue about the UoJ Council while I have tried to reach the more general level.

                “Confidentiality (in reality, restricting, not prohibiting access) is necessary for institutions.”

                I disagree and so does our RTI Act and similar acts abroad. The exemptions are listed in the Act. Have you read the RTI Act?

                You can easily find institutions abroad publishing a lot of their information automatically and almost all documents can be accessed by making a request. I read today that Moratuwa MC also will start to publish some information.

                Since you are interested in university councils can you explain why UoJ Council minutes are according to you confidential while many foreign universities publish them on line?

                “Responsible members show restraint in such matters even while protesting at what they think is wrong. A breach is morally justified under extreme conditions, and when all feasible legitimate means are exhausted It is civilized conduct to seek permission before going public on part or whole any proceedings of meetings, especially because people need some institutional assurance to discuss subjects freely.”

                Is this still about the UoJ Council? Why should the members have secret/confidential/restricted access discussions at UoJ Council but not at other universities? Is it to hide that there are possibly no healthy or even no discussions at all at UoJ?

                “What I resent is selective leakage, distortion and misquotation of non-finalized documents, especially by vested interests. That has been the issue for me on these pages, where I found the accused with their hands tied by a code of conduct, while unscrupulous attackers took advantage of it.”

                Is not the obvious solution to publish all the relevant information so that nobody can make selective leaks and there is no need for the leaks? I am sure that all the members have their own interests and it looks like they never heard of Conflict of Interest. You must have heard about it.

                In my opinion you suffer from an illusion of confidentiality with your unwritten code of conduct.

                Please be prepared for changes and even RTI requests. You might want to have a healthy discussion with the other members.

  • 2
    2

    Another SAITM propaganda. Now attacking the problem from the other end. This highlights what SAITM wants to highlight. The obvious deficiencies of the government system and the need for private education.

    The SAITM PR mechanism attacks their own set target, falsely (and deliberately) stating that the professionals who are against SAITM are also against private medical education. No! It’s only against this defrauded institution.

    CT has again shown its loyalty. Now its clear to whom this news sites works for

  • 1
    1

    like all these GMOA pandham doctors, this guy sarath is a quack.

  • 0
    2

    The way the Criticisms have been written, it is very sure some thing else is going behind Because most who comment do not have have any sympathy or understanding. they are very critical of theis side. they appreciate only the SAITM side.

    I think, there is something big behind SAITM.

    there is a genuine grievance from the doctors side who studied hard, di dnot have enough money to go to International school or even to buy books or skeletons.

  • 4
    2

    Pay 1 miniute of silence for those who are thinking this is a true story

    • 1
      0

      There is some overstatement I agree. But there are quite a few who get away with it here, without even a whisper in protest.

      So I will not write it off fully.

  • 3
    1

    You forgot to mention that you cannot get IELTS (English) score of 8 and pass the Australian Medical Council exams and further you cannot stop people moving on in their jobs go overseas therefore we need to get more doctors

  • 0
    0

    the truth is Sri lanka needs private universities and private education.

    but, Wealthy People who have money going through international schools and particularly through tuition classes getting ahead is unfair.

    Now, I understand there is some scheme behind SAITM.

    If any students are admiited to private univerfsities, they should be a very good strategy.

    Not this way, this fraudulent. using the laws for some ones’ advantage.

  • 0
    1

    I sympathasize with students. but, SAITM is a fradulent set up.

    It is revealed that only four from UGC have approved the gazette notification that allowed SAITM illegal medical degree awarding institute to issue medical degrees.
    According to Parliament sources then Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayaka on 30th August, 2011 appointed a committee of 8 to find out about the gazette notification -17/21/19 – that included authority to SAITM to issue medical degrees. The committee comprised eight officials, four UGC members, Vice Chancellors of the Universities of Colombo, Moratuwa and Sri Jayewardenepura and a representative of the Sri Lanka Medical Council.
    Despite two names had been entered in the gazette they had not expressed their approval and two other members had not been informed about the gazette notification.
    It is also revealed that there were no signatures in the final report of the degree awarding document relevant to the gazette notification. It is reported that only the four members of the UGC had approved the report and the gazette notification that was presented to Court of Appeal had been the gazette approved only by the four UGC members.

    • 1
      0

      Why are you speaking for these dumbos who had 7 years in which to say all this if it were true. How can they sit in committees without mouths to speak and hands to sign. If it was gazetted, that’s it for UGC approval. Had these others gone to the moon. They have deceived themselves. Please tell a better story than ‘parliament sources’ who took 7 years to say they had not expressed their approval. Delayed action. SLMC is also 7 years too late for minimum standards, and compliance certificates to be birthed. Too late.

  • 0
    0

    Whether fake or not, the picture you paint is real to many. You repeated and took long, but got it free. Your parents happy too. Very good. Think of others whose only option was SAITM. They and their parents too had visions for future. They spent all their money and got facilities to study. Obstructed all the way Got Supreme Court justice for Avissawela hospital and insane GMOA disobeyed justice. Will be judged. SLMC Deans want to close SAITM. Their children will do ERPM pass rate 13% and want to put SAITM there to fail as substandard. Also want to put SAITM to govt. clinicals to repeat Avissawela which SAITM later overcame. SLMC Registrar had case against SAITM and is biased. Prez. took over NCMC and wants a repeat victory, but court verdict was violation of Medical Ordinance. Other infiltrators of SLMC want to swallow SAITM as money is foremost. “FOR PROFIT” is an irritant. They cant argue that SAITM MBBS is fake as they are the same examiners as state. So they falsely accuse training, which they themselves obstructed. SLMC has no documents for Standards/Compliance only automatic registration for local MBBS.

  • 7
    1

    This story was written by three NCP students in the Medical Faculty who wished to highlight the problems faced by students from rural areas as a response to the stream of SAITM stories published recently. I taught English at the Faculty and translated and edited (reduced content, inserted illegally and asked for a reference to Australia) it at their request. I find I have wrongly translated Anuradhapura schools as Anuradhapura Central in the first paragraph. The lead author tells me that he lives in Radagama, south of Anuradhapura passing Tammannewa and his parents teach in a school nearby. The others contributed to it and that is why I put (typical) in the title. The name Sarath Bandara is made up of parts of two of their names. Unfortunately, medical students have a misapprehension that examiners in viva voce examinations can be vindictive and given the large number of staff and consultants with children in SAITM, our boys were reluctant to identify themselves. I can assure readers that these boys are well behaved and do not participate in the demonstrations in Colombo, possibly for the same reason. Most of them are first year students and students from other Faculties going to Colombo in buses organized by the student union.

    • 8
      0

      Thanks, so we guessed right.

      Yes, CS, the story of these guys also has to be known.

      Who are those who suffer most? A pretty meaningless question, don’t you think?

      How to break the backs of the “Unions” so that authentic voices come through is as important as the parents of SAITM who teach in State Universities being fair by their Pera students.

  • 4
    0

    The important question to ask is “how many doctors (and in what specialties) are needed in Sri Lanka to assure a given standard of health care?”.

    If the current supply from the State universities fulfill this need, then one could say we do not need SAITM.

    As the writer has confirmed, many doctors qualifying from the State universities migrate overseas – taking with them the investment that the poor country has put in them!

    So, if the SAITM students are willing to serve the Sri Lankan population (at least for a minimum number of years), and we have a dearth of doctors, why not allow SAITM to continue to fill the needs in Sri Lanka?

    A doctor’s merit is ultimately determined by their performance in the field. Thus if we ensure a fair system of ranking practicing doctors, and make that information public, then no one will have doubts about the quality of the education provided by the State universities versus SAITM.

    Thoughts to ponder by all …..

  • 2
    3

    I am a final year student from pera. There is no person like this in our batch among the total 230 SL Students and there are only 3 mates of us from Peradeniya. First we didnot face rag not because our seniors were busy at that time but because ragging wad successfully banned in Medical faculty several yrs ago our seniors did not face ragging so we were…
    There is no point of going further as this story is a causeless false. soon our Apura friends will address this with solid evidence

    • 6
      0

      See the comment by CS which has come in two hours ahead of yours.

      The issues raised are important.

    • 3
      0

      While the article is generally supportive of Pera medical students, I can understand why students are upset about it. It draws attention to problems in school admission, Z-score and Mahapola and to their cutting clinicals and doing locums all of which continue to be sustained by Sri Lanka’s anti-whistleblower (no kelam) culture.
      As a person who has consistently fought ragging in the science faculty, I must congratulate Pera medical students for having got rid of the rag. Ragging in the medical faculty has always been mild and the same is true now of Dental. The rag in Engineering is much less than that in Arts, Agriculture and Science. But has the rag really ended ? The crucial test is whether the batch still consists of two groups – the majority with “card” names like Balaya, Katussa, Kotta, etc given to them by their seniors and a smaller so called anti-rag group which refused to allow seniors to impose card names on them. I doubt the student union allow it to be ended.

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