13 December, 2017

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Privatization Of Education: Fight Should Not Only Be About SAITM

By Anushka Kahandagama

Anushka Kahandagama

SAITM has been an issue for a considerable time and was seen as the icon for privatizing education in Sri Lanka. The debates around this issue are varying. One of the arguments drawn was that, this is the end of free education and this might badly affect the quality of the country’s health care. Private hospitals and privately owned dispensaries are on the rise. It doesn’t matter whether public hospitals provide quality health care or not, most of the people prefer private health care. Most of these doctors who do private practice are attached to a Government hospital.

They use the off-time to serve for the people who come to get their service for money. Then, these doctors are no doubt burdened with overwork, which definitely affects the quality of the service they provide. Although not commissioned by this particular factor, past events suggest that, there were many medical negligence which led to loss of limbs of people and sometimes loss of life.

Another argument is that, while all the other disciplines have been privatized over these past years, it is ironic only to resist the privatization of medical education. Although this logic seems fair in abstraction, there should be a higher ideal for medicine as medical education directly deals with the lives of the people.

The argument against SAITM as an attempt to privatize Sri Lankan education is lacking in strength as the privatization did not start yesterday. Private tuition classes are the un-talked of yet mostly prevalent and obvious privatization of education in the country. The common understanding is that, the students who enter into the Government University System are a sole product of Government Schools, which is not true. Some of them are from international schools and some of them spend much time in private tuition classes rather than the schools. Furthermore, most of the teachers who are Government teachers do teach in private tuition classes. The problem of privatization intersects with many other socio-economic and political factors, which cannot be taken out of the context and analyses. However, when it comes to the point of private tuition classes, some of the students take many classes for one subject and get through their A/L and O/L. How can one ignore this fact completely and fight for the protection of the free education in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka provides free health care and education. Against this background, Sri Lanka managed to achieve a better position in the Human Development Index. Establishing SAITM is not only an attack on free education, but also an indirect influence on free health care system in the country as it might further encourage the privatization of health care.

Keeping health care and education free in a system where all the other sectors have succumbed to neo-liberal economic policies are pointless. All the other factors which are market driven and based on neo-liberal economic policies would certainly drive health care and education towards privatization. But, the only difference would be these forms of privatizations are subtle, hidden and sometimes beyond the boundaries of the nation state.

It is purposeless even to have a struggle to change an isolated sector since the socio-political-economic spheres are interconnected and have started to blur their boundaries. While market driven policies and globalization transcends the boundaries of nation State, how anyone can see any point in keeping ‘SAITM’ illegal? The need of social-economic and political change is wider than ‘SAITM’.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    Why does SLMC against private medical colleges rather than complementing progress and ease to the existing demand / supply in health care? It’s quite obvious the motive behind the opposition. Corruption Rules.

  • 4
    2

    Absolutely.

    Doctors who entered medical schools after studying in private schools and with all day private tuition, or in top city schools which is no less relevant, and doctors who have no qualms about making a mockery of private health care by doing private practice often using Governmental hospital facilities to favour their paying clients, date to oppose private medical education. Incredible.

    This is the height of greedy hypocrisy but the GMOA has been living in this cabalistic heights as long one remembers. Not long ago, a president of the same GMOA even dared to suggest that doctors should be allowed to attend during work hours the poor private patients who were orphaned by their own success in driving away foreign doctors.

    The sad thing is that university students who ought to have better youthful vision and ideals are falling pray to these greedy slogans.

    Not much hope for our country, is there?

  • 2
    0

    It has been proved beyond doubt that SAITM’s entry criteria is same as state and the curriculum and exams. are same standard. There was teething trouble at the start but they have overcome them step by step. The professors and teaching staff are locals and some retired. External examiners are the same or you accuse uni staff of duplicity. SLMC under GMOA pressure thought they were not accountable to higher authority and ministers of govt. and went beyond boundaries with trade union support. SLMC needs to be above board and honest about evaluation and not be biased as their children study abroad. It is laughable that 30 SAITM doctors added to more than 1000 interns will topple the country into the abyss. MR put A/L cut offs into SAITM and forced free education like other scholarship holders. Now different.
    If doctors are not like cannibals, they should work as usual.

  • 3
    2

    The writer does not get her point across sufficiently.

    Anyways I don’t see how privatization could lead to a drop in quality, if there is enough competition within the sector. Or how it could threaten the existence of free education or free healthcare, if properly regulated by appropriate legislation.

    Our resistance to change should not be based on an irrational fear of losing what we already have.

  • 0
    0

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  • 1
    1

    This article doesn’t get the point across properly. Poorly written.

  • 1
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    Sri Lanka needs private Universities.

    It is upto the Managememtn, Watch dogs and the govt to make do a good job. Particularly, specific Management of the University is responsible to deliver quality education. If managmement has done a bad job, they should not be allowed to that job agin. Simply ban them engaging in that kind of acts again.

  • 1
    1

    The question every one should ask is, Private education. whats wrong?
    If somebody is willing to pay and learn. whats wrong?
    The exam and standard are the same between public and private. so whats wrong?
    Why are the products of free education putting barriers?
    are they afraid they might loose out in the job market? or are they afraid there quality of education compared to the private education level will show?
    (Public university doctors are not the same as the previous generation. we all can agree quality has gone down. no ethics, no civility, only money minded. have there own business on the side. eg: stens)

    There is a lot of un-answered questions. demonstrations and placards only show political backing for one part of the story. JVP coming back with these demonstrations is a sure bet. as there is no method to the jvp madness. another blood letting on the cards.

  • 1
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    As a person holding doctoral degree in Education, maintaining the quality of education is must and it is very difficult to ensure the quality of the private institutions, let alone the medical institution. So, I wholeheartedly support the stand of SLMC. The children of affluent parents and political masters are sending their children to SAITM. We are not unaware of whose children are studying.

    We cause not to play with the life of people. Sri Lankan registration system in SLMC is welcome by other countries.

    Dr.A.M.Jazeel PhD (Eduation)
    Sri Lanka

    • 1
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      Jazeel, what did you teach? To make morons of children.

    • 0
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      Dr.Jazeel I dont know where you are practiising, but you seem to be in a dream world. Education in SL has become tuition ridden. Do yo read the Sunday papers which are plastered with adverts from foreign Universities offering courses in about every subject under sun. Is it the poor who apply. Yes Dr free education is sustained by the blood sweat and tears of the million poor workers who go to the middle east. If we all pay are dues for whatever service we receive there will be a gross reduction.

      Why dont you get the student list from SAITM and see their background, and then comment.

  • 0
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    This is very effective. First destroy all hopes. Then the beast will be tamed.
    Long live neoliberalism.
    Let money govern. For corporations, by corporations of corporations
    Keep destroying all hopes if you are paid to do so.

  • 0
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    One of the arguments against SAITM is the desire to maintain free health. The entire Private Health system will collapse if the GOMA doctors are banned from working in private hospitals whilst still keeping their Govt jobs.In China a doctor can be registered to work only in one Facility. Sheer hypocrisy.

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