25 October, 2020

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SAITM As Model For Expanding Medical Education?

By Sumathy Sivamohan, Harini Amarasuriya, A. Karunatileke, Athula Samarakoon, Upul Wickramasinghe, Waradas Thiyagarajah, Chinthaka Rajapakse, Shamila Ratnasuriya, S.Thanujan, M.Mauran, Amali Wedegedera, Niyanthini Kadirgamar and Sylvester Jayakody –

A Response to the Subcommittee on Higher Education of the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee

On the 1st of August, concerned Academics and Activists gathered at the Honourable Speaker, Karu Jayasuriya’s office in the parliament and handed over a response to the report on SAITM made by a sub-committee of the Oversight Committee on Education and Human Resources.  Copies of the report to be given all the members of the Oversight Committee, Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Government Whip, Opposition Whip and the Minister of Higher Education and Highways were also handed over to the Hon. Speaker. 

SAITM: An ill-conceived response to the question of health and education in Sri Lanka

The government appears ill prepared to address the unravelling situation around SAITM. Its current actions are mired in violence, bombastic rhetoric and unrealistic projections of great economic advances to be made in the business of education and health. The policy paper of the Subcommittee on Higher Education of the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee,  Expansion of Medical Education in Sri Lanka With the Participation of the Private Sector:  Adopting the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) as a Model published on 23 November, 2016 is a justification and conceptualisation of  SAITM as an educational institution, offering it as a panacea for the supposed ills dogging the heels of the two sectors. It is an illustration of the nature of the government’s approach to some very serious issues, undertaken in an ad hoc, unprofessional and unethical manner. The ill-conceived nature of the report unequivocally demonstrates the fact that SAITM is itself a poorly planned programme that barely addresses the problems that exist in the areas of health and education and creates new ones that will be insurmountable in years to come.

Both health and education have been the cornerstone of the democratic structure of the Sri Lankan state.  A policy shift on either of these sectors demands careful thought, public engagement, and the highest degree of integrity on the part of all the policy makers. Yet on both counts, the policy paper demonstrates abjectly poor thinking and a clear lack of vision for the country.

SAITM: Is it numbers?

Regarding Health, the paper says that SAITM will address the lacunae in the system presented by the inadequate number of doctors in the country. In other words, SAITM will be able to add to the number of doctors in the country. Such a claim, if stated with any sincerity, demonstrates that the policy makers have absolutely no understanding of the existing system of health care delivery. The problems besetting the health sector are not a mere matter of numbers. They are an integral part of the structure of health care provision, namely distribution and specialization. As medical professionals, researchers and those who actually care about the state of affairs in Sri Lanka will tell you:

a) The inadequate number of medical professionals lies in the areas of distribution of doctors across the country. In 2015, Colombo District had 182.3 doctors per 100,000 population (employed by the Ministry of Health) compared with 37 doctors per 100,000 population in Nuwara Eliya District (Vallipuranathan 2017). That same year, Colombo District recorded the highest number of medical officers (5344), while the lowest number was recorded in Mullaitivu District (Health Information Unit, Ministry of Health 2015).

b) Doctors on completing their internship are posted to peripheral areas, but can leave those stations before they are eligible for transfer if they pass a screening exam for a course of specialization. There is no mechanism in place to retain non-specialist doctors in such areas, resulting in a large number of cadre positions remaining vacant.

c) To make matters worse, the Ministry of Health promotes specialization over strengthening primary care. But this drive for specialization has not been combined with greater provision of facilities in the regions. Specialists, owing to frustration with the meagre and inadequate facilities and other factors like lack of ‘good’ schools for their children, tend to turn toward urban centres, in many of which there is a glut of health care professionals, including doctors.

d) As health care professionals go, a severe dearth of caregivers exists in the nursing and midwifery sector, compounded by issues of distribution. Nursing and midwifery are an integral part of the provision of health care and this thriving sector needs to be nurtured. In 2015, there were 7436 nurses in the Colombo District compared with 44 in Mullaitivu. That same year there were 853 midwives in the Kurunegala District versus 51 in Mullaitivu. There is also a dearth of ancillary healthcare providers, including radiographers, lab technicians, pharmacists, physiotherapists, etc., particularly in the peripheries (Health Information Unit, Ministry of Health 2015). The over emphasis on having a large number of doctors belies the situation on the ground.

e) Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) are often bandied about by the pro-SAITM lobby to argue for more doctors. WHO does not recommend a gold standard for its member states in terms of physicians per population, the 2006 World Health Report estimated that a health system needed at least 2.5 doctors, nurses and midwives per 1000 population (or 250 per 100, 000) to function. According to the 2014 Annual Health Bulletin published by the Ministry of Health, in 2014, 85 medical officers and 185 nurses (totalling 270) per 100,000 population were employed by the Ministry of Health (Health Information Unit, Ministry of Health 2015).

f) The same WHO Report highlights migration of doctors and resulting global and within country inequalities as a major issue. Sri Lanka too must address redistribution and implement measures to retain doctors in the public health sector.

The focus on doctor-numbers is terribly misplaced. Even so, on what ground does the government assume that graduates of SAITM who have been educated with private funds and belong to a class of relative affluence will be willing to serve in peripheral areas in the country, where one finds the largest need for more doctors? It needs to be understood, far and wide, that SAITM will NOT solve the problems of health care provision.

Higher Education: the new site of struggle

It is concerning  higher education that the government’s policy paper reveals the ugly side of its ambition. The shift to privatisation rears its head once again in the section that looks to formulate policy for the future. In its opening paragraphs, the report quite rightly laments the fact that 82% of students who qualify to enter the state university system are unable to secure places owing to the system’s inability to accommodate them all (p. 7). This is of course a very grave concern and should be tackled with the seriousness and integrity it demands; instead the government and its allies like the Parliamentary Committee have come up with a very poorly conceived solution that is SAITM.

SAITM is very clearly a ruse, an ill-conceived ruse maybe, to bring in privatization in education not ONLY in the form of a private university, but through the seemingly innocuous, but deadly mode of PPP: Private Public Partnership.  From pages 8 to 13 the document outlines the nature of private education embodied by SAITM, its basis, mode of sustenance and implementation. The section deals with admission criteria, delivery of a ‘standardized education’ and the establishment of a monitoring body as well as the management of teaching hospitals, which will be in the hands of the government. Item 2 which deals with the SAITM – STATE interface is captioned, “Proposal to enhance the clinical exposure of SAITM medical students through Public-Private partnership” (8). In the details that follow, Private Public Partnership (PPP) is given as a facility that is designed to ease SAITM’s path to procuring and delivering a ‘standardized education’ to its students and gaining a reputation on par with state universities. Under this scheme, public universities and public hospitals will be endowed with the task of bestowing academic respectability on SAITM. 

Of course such an ideological and material position compels us to ask many questions: Why is the government so concerned about an institution that will produce a 100-odd students each year, while so many of our state funded medical faculties are in need of expansion and upgrading? Those who are in support of SAITM themselves have drawn attention to the possibility that some of the medical faculties in the state system lack staff and facilities. Isn’t it then so much more the reason for the government to be putting forward proposals to upgrade state funded university medical education? Why bend over backwards to accommodate SAITM? In whose interest is such a move anticipated? In a contradictory move, Minister of Health, Rajitha Senaratne recently proclaimed the inauguration of two new state medical faculties (Sunday Observer, 5 February, 2017). Is this a knee jerk reaction to the opposition to SAITM proposal  on the part of the government or is it another of its attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of the people to smoothen the transition to private medical education? What is necessary at this point is the greater strengthening of facilities and education in some of the peripheral universities.

The paper is replete with inaccuracies and faulty reasoning. To name just one: on page 5 the report states that international school students cannot enter state funded universities and therefore some accommodation has to be made for them. A cursory look at the way the school system works will tell you that this is a fundamentally flawed understanding of the way the A/Levels are run. Any student in Sri Lanka can take Sri Lankan A/Levels, and the fact that students of international schools in fact have entered the state university system proves the statement as blatantly false. However, the larger concern is not the mistake, but the attitude of those involved toward the very important subject of education. Also, the argument about the need to attract more international students can be countered by the fact that there already are quite a number of international students in the state medical faculties.

PPP: the spectre of privatization

Underneath its disingenuity is a more sinister agenda. The report is a thinly disguised proposal for the gradual privatisation of universities. Where such an agenda reveals itself is in the way the much touted and much celebrated term PPP is conceptualized in the report. The section on private medical establishment and PPP is fairly detailed in the document. PPP is understood as a partnership between public universities and private ones, particularly in the field of medicine. The universities of Peradeniya and Colombo are supposed to take the lead here. We are of the view that such thinking has real life and momentum for, in a recent announcement, the government gave voice to ideas of making the Universities of Peradeniya and Colombo transit to self-funding entities (The Island, 22nd July, 2017).

What exactly is PPP? One would assume that PPP is designed to serve the public by harnessing privately held material sources to support and nurture public institutions, so that the public benefits from such a partnership; extend a helping hand to the citizenry, emerging as a powerful bloc through the public institute, students for instance. Research is another area in which PPP has been envisioned as potentially beneficial to the public. While both the above features are controversial and have been questioned on many different grounds, including ethical ones, one might at least argue a case for it. Critiques of PPP are a plenty, and we cite one here by Faranak Miraftab, “Public Private Partnerships: The Trojan Horse of Neoliberal Development” in Journal of Planning Education and Research, 24: 89-101.

But shockingly, even the façade of benefits accruing to the public is not a cardinal concern in the policy paper. The text is transparent. Under section 5 captioned “Establishment of Private Medical Education,” the report lays out the fundamental principle on which private medical education is formulated: Private medical education with “government involvement” (p.14). One is compelled to ask, “why government involvement,” and “what does that involvement entail?” As it turns out, the involvement of the government here means the establishment of units of private medical education within and affiliated to state universities, beginning with Colombo and Peradeniya, with other state universities to follow suit.

“The benefits for the respective university will be the (sic) getting funds from this venture for the upgrading of the facilities of the state faculties of Medicine,” says the report in section 5.1 ( 14). To an undiscerning reader this might seem like a sound plan. State universities will have financial input from private entities. But this beguiles the fact that state universities come in with massive investment in knowledge production at multiple levels, the training of its staff from kindergarten to the PhD or its equivalent and further, heavy investments in infrastructure, development of sites of research – laboratories, libraries and archives, development of territory and a supporting community, and finally the political programme of social upliftment. 

Private medical establishments in collaboration with public universities will actually be parasitic upon the resources of public universities, for they will bring little into the collaboration financially, and their existence will erode into the investment and foundation of education built over decades. There will be a greater ‘brain drain’ of doctors and professionals from the state sector to the private sector than what exists today with out-of-country migration, taking with it all that was deemed valuable and worth investing in. PPP here would mean the state financing and sponsoring private medical education. In turn and ironically, state investment in public institutions will be considered unviable, undesirable and untenable and the call for “Let private enterprises do the job of investing in education,” will prevail.

One of the obvious instances of this parasitic existence lies in the realm of staff and the sharing of trained personnel across the two streams. Pay attention to the laughable and yet sinister attempt to lease out the staff of public medical faculties to private enterprises. One of the purported benefits of private universities is supposedly to:

Reduce the burden for the government for the salary increase of professors and lecturers in state universities who are at the moment disgusted about their salary, this is the very reason why it is difficult to recruit medical teachers to the universities as the government medical officers salary with other allowances – such as overtime etc – is double that of a senior lecturer in a state medical faculty. They would be able to be visiting lecturers to these private medical schools. (p.15)

While one is slightly nonplussed as to where the extra hours for teaching in the private medical universities are going to come from, the policy makers’ abject indifference to the education at public universities and education as a social good is apparent. Another word for this is “poaching,” with the government aiding and abetting in this illegitimate act. The teachers in the public university system will be teaching in private medical educational enterprises, severely undermining both the quality of education in the public sector and creating an unfair non level playing field, in which public education will be the loser. The students of public medical universities seem to be a dispensable commodity and accommodated within the system only on sufferance.

Conclusion

The government’s argument for SAITM can be summarised as follows:

a. There are not enough government doctors and we need to produce more doctors graduating each year.

b. The government is not in a position to expand the state medical system by improving on its numbers. Though the Minister of Health has made statements that seem to counter this position, in general such a position is still in currency within government policy.

c. Therefore, the government will expend an enormous amount of energy and material resources, including finances, toward the establishment of a private medical university. The government does not have money for itself, but it has money to give the private sector. How much more illogical can it get?

The convoluted argument outlined above gives the lie to any notion of disinterested altruism and service to the people of the country on the part of the government. It is in fact an insidious programme of private medical education that is SAITM. What one can infer from the report is that SAITM like many other recent moves in education and health, are a part of the neo liberal agenda pursued by successive governments. In this, it follows rather discredited practices in the global arena. Yet, globally, there have been waves of resistances to aggressive privatization of public entities, particularly in the area of education. It is foolhardy for our government to push on without much forethought on these emerging trends and resistances. We need a visionary policy on education and higher education, not ad hoc measures that will lead to the destruction of much that has been fundamental to the welfare of the people. The take-over of the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital might indeed be a great leap from the frying pan into the fire as the government makes headway with its plans to establish PPPs in education! In responding to the policy report on Higher Education and SAITM by the Subcommittee on Higher Education of the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee, and in exposing the scam it is, we hope to begin an informed dialogue on SAITM, private universities in general, and the future of Free Education.

By:

Prof Sumathy Sivamohan, University of Peradeinya – University Teachers for Free Education

Dr Harini Amarasuriya, Open University of Sri Lanka –University Teachers for Free Education

A. Karunatileke, University of Kelaniya – University Academics for Social Equity

Dr Athula Samarakoon, Open University of Sri Lanka – University Academics for Social Equity

Upul Wickramasinghe – Education Renaissance Programme

Waradas Thiyagarajah, University of Colombo – Education Renaissance Programme

Chinthaka Rajapakse, Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform

Shamila Ratnasuriya, MONLAR

Amali Wedegedera, Alliance for Economic Democracy Alliance for Economic Democrac

Niyanthini Kadirgamar, Alliance for Economic Democracy Alliance for Economic Democracy

S. Thanujan, Mass Movement for Social Justice

M.Mauran, Mass Movement for Social Justice 

Sylvester Jayakody, General Secretary – Ceylon Industrial, Mercantile and General Workers Union

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    The entire argument is focusing in one direction, convincing the New Royals that looting has to be done through only one channel that is managed by GMOA and drain the government money to through Health system. In the Old Royal’s time, under the New King, Health Ministry was the most corrupted ministry in the country, if not on the earth. GMOA is not willing to give up that title.

    What the Joint Comedies demand from Yahapalanaya is to pay off the loans, abolish the SAITM, then, when they come back, they can restart those all again with their 40%.

    For entire developed work, Federal System is working. It doesn’t matter what the form of government, whether, Communism or Democracy or even in the Royals Monarchs. But these Sinhala intellectuals are fooling the Mondays as it will not work for them. Because the devolution will transfer power near to Modayas, so the Modays’ will spoil it. These Sinhala intellectuals are fooling the Modayas by bragging that they demanded the universal franchise from Donomoore.

  • 1
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    The private education system is working for whole world, but not for Lankawe. The reason follows:
    “A cursory look at the way the school system works will tell you that this is a fundamentally flawed understanding of the way the A/Levels are run.” Some bought out Tamils or past, corrupted Mutahlies’ sons and Daughters who paid to Bathiudeen and his agents to get into universities have produced this shameful line, a line even Kathirgamar, Radhika or Mahendran would not do. Pay to corrupted politicians by elites is called in Lankawe as “University Teachers for Free Education”

    Severe shortage of doctors has made these learned professionals into hardened monsters. As no competition for them, GMOA’s services to patients are lowest in the history. They are corrupted. They take bribe and treat only the one paid for them behind the curtain. They did their best to block trained professional coming through ETCA. India is major supplier of professionals to West. But GMOA is attempting to tell about their unparalleled quality will be lowered by Indian doctors. What a talk?

    • 6
      3

      I shudder to think of the plight of war affected youth in the north east if there is privatization. If this is the thinking of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, the Tamil people in Sri Lanka are better off with eelam in New York or Toronto. Please leave us alone.

      I doubt that you even read our report or the report of the OVERSIGHT committee! You , who cannot draft a single sentence that demonstrates clarity of thought, should not comment on something as weighty as privatization, and SAITM.

      • 2
        1

        “If this is the thinking of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, the Tamil people in Sri Lanka are better off with eelam in New York or Toronto” At your specialization level of CT PhD, Jaffna Branch, writing something like that is indicating that even an “Old dog can be taught new tricks”. Though you claimed you did not understand ( that is an old game in CT I saw many times) what I wrote, but you got the point that the Tamils want New York-Toronto type of Tamil Eelam, not the Sinhala Buddhist Kandy style. It is a secular non Sinhala Buddhism based- education- trade- health. Instead of Sinhala Free education, TGTE had declared in its Charter of Freedom, all three languages will be official languages – like in Singapore. But if I properly interpret the “Please leave us alone”. the “us” means only the coolies of the Appe Aanduwa. Almost all TNA MPs, who represent the war torn North-East has praised TGTE as a genuine organization on the correct path for Tamils freedom.

        FYI, in New York, it is the law that every kid should get education. But they allow home, private, international, city and state systems. In the State system, free means free. One don’t pay for from grama sevaka to everybody in schools and ministry. Education minister cannot fire an Aids kid out of school or spread its mother’s profiles to the media. So there are no coolies identified there as “University Teachers for Free Education” who work hand in hand with the rowdy organization, GMOA. If the Sri Lankan Parliamentarians are in New York, they might have been forced go back to school because kids should finish high school there. It is a Genocidal crime for Appe Aanduwa not building Tamil schools, appointing Tamil teachers in Mullaitivu, but paying ostensible sums to GMOA.

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          “Almost all TNA MPs, who represent the war torn North-East has praised TGTE as a genuine organization on the correct path for Tamils freedom.” – hilarious! Nobody in the TNA supports TGTE, an organization which supports the creation of a separate Tamil Eelam. TNA is very clear that they want a solution within a united Sri Lanka. Even the TNPF, which is the most radical of the Tamil nationalist political parties in Sri Lanka today, has said in its manifesto that they want a solution under a single that recognizes the existence of two nations. Even most diaspora organizations have said they are for a solution within Sri Lanka.

          Your sentences are quite bad, Mallai. You need to get your sentences edited by someone before posting them here. This is what Sivamohan said – you can have an Eelam in New York or Toronto. Not a Toronto-New York type of Eelam, as you put it. They are two different things. You have misunderstood her sentence.

          • 0
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            Mallai,

            This post is by a senior journalist who used to live in the East. See how critical he is of TGTE and Rudra. This journalist is quite well-known in the East. He has brought our several reports on the various massacres that happened there.

            • 0
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              CT did not allow me to post the link. This is my second attempt to give you the address

              thinakkathir dot com
              title – yatharthai puriyathu seyarpadum pulampeyar thamil amaippukal

              • 0
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                CT did not allow me to post the link. This is my second attempt to give you the address

                Rudra,

                Thanks for your effort to introduce me TGTE through the eyeglasses of your friend. Just don’t bother about it. But, I word for you: if your friend is interested he can join you and me in the CT. That time we two, if we have to say anything, we can tell him.

                Not just you, we all have lost a lot for CT’s editing. Though CT had always played its role, my experience is CT bring out those comments other editors would not dream even in their wildest dream. Thinakkathir will publish only if your friend wrote against TGTE, but not if if your friend or you or me write against Appe Aanduwa. So, we have not just to live with CT, but we owe a faith for what it is doing.

                If you interested in checked out your friends’ finding, i can give you a piece of advice. Look for a communication address of TGTE in the Web and send it for their clarification. Tell them, if don’t want to comment on your friend and materialise that work, they still can send you personal note.

          • 0
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            Rudra,

            “Nobody in the TNA supports TGTE, an organization which supports the creation of a separate Tamil Eelam. “

            Save this for your future debates against me. If Sampanthar ever come out of parliament with his beggar bowl of secret solution filled up, and the North-East believe on him and vote for it, I will be your unconditional supporter” (Further, here I talked only about Sampanthar- not TNA)
            The matters I said about TNA are already proved. So they don’t need proofs. You didn’t read Tamil and English news recently. That’s it. So, I leave it there for your victory by refusing to bring that news here and antagonize CT.
            But for the rest of matters about Sampanthar I said earlier, I honestly don’t want to spoil anything before it goes itself as a mirage for Sampanthar.

            But your dupe is clearly established with the pseudonym you selected. Isn’t it?

      • 0
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        Sumathy
        While I strongly endorse your stand both on SAITM as well as on Tamil diaspora groups that seek to decide what is good for the Tamils here, I will not object very much to ill informed comment, even if it is annoying, as long as it is honest.
        Some of us will do well to remember that CV Wigneswaran admirably expressed this view about the diaspora shortly after assuming post as CM, but has gone silent since.

  • 2
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    Thank you all the signatories for this well thought out of critique of the facade that SAITM is. The government should take all appropriate measures towards a fair geographic re-distribution of medical professionals attached to the public health system in the country. As the signatories note in this statement, all avenues to absorb more students into the non fee levying public university system in the country should be explored. Privatization of education will never help the poor to find seats at institutes of higher education; instead it will cause frustration and burden them with debt. So much money is wasted on things like national security that in no way make the social and economic lives of those who occupy the lower rungs of the social ladder better and stronger. Such unnecessary government spending, which only aided the growth of nationalist chauvinism in all sections of the polity, could be diverted towards crucial areas such as education and health care indispensable for the physical, mental and cultural well-being of the nation.

    • 2
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      Thiruvarangan’s usual debate way is writing five about LTTE and five about Old Royals and claiming that he had been fair in criticizing both. Thank god, he did not study Economics, law, medicine or any other technical or professional area. He studied English only. If had studied medicine, he would give diarrhea patient’s medicine and to the stomach pain patient and would say “to be fair, I have to give you both the same medicine”. If had he got into law, then the Archangel Raquel might have tied her mouth & ears in addition to the eyes, when listening to his logic. In his world “Annaikku poonai always saman”.

      Free education is not refusing to build Tamil schools in Tamil area of Mullaithivu, but spending up to special scholarships for elites and send them to Australia, New York, and London.

      That is not providing free education; that is providing free high class employment. With the cost of providing a scholarship for and elite child, 1000 poor kids can be given technical education back in the home. This will provide jobs for needy 1000 families. That is Economics, a word Thiruvarangan did not hear in his English education.

      SAITM was created with 40% commission by Old Royal is not important here. Without competition, GMOA has become the Grease Yakka of the Medical profession. SAITM is a form competition to reduce burden of government in filling up the necessary medical professional whom the country needs. Thiruvarangan and GMOA have been against Indian doctors coming to Lankawe. Thiruvarangan and GMOA are against SAITM proving alternate medical professionals. The only object of GMOA is attracting the support of English only candidates like Thiruvarangan and keeps the competition out.

      Thiruvarangan is demanding for free scholarships instead of Mullaithivu kids getting a basic Tamil school. “Enne Karunai Ullam for poors”

      • 1
        1

        Mallaiyuran,

        I have never heard Sri Lankan govt is giving scholarships to those who want to study in London, New York and Australia! Let me know the details – I can share them with those who are seeking admission in these places. Free education has benefited so many people in Sri Lanka regardless of ethnicity. It needs to be protected.

        From where did you learn that the govt is refusing to build Tamil schools in Mullaitivu? How do you know there is a shortage of Tamil schools in Mullaitivu? Please share these details with all of us. And how can building private schools help those who are living in Mullaitivu?

        About the LTTE – yes, I am very critical of them. I am concerned about the liberation of not just my community but other communities that also live in the territories where my community will one day enjoy freedom. Just because the LTTE was trying to liberate my community (Were they liberating the Tamils or decimating them? – I have had interactions with Tamils who experienced the LTTE’s terror), I cannot support an organization that is responsible for ethnic cleansing and killed people who had a different point of view on issues.

        FYI: These days we learn a lot of Economics in English Departments in the US- including in places like Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia. Left-wing economics which you may not like. Many English Professors, even the ones who teach at private universities in the US, demand more govt spending in education.

        “GMOA is attracting the support of only English candidates” – What about the Tamil and Tamil nationalist medical and non-medical students at Jaffna and Eastern and other universities and Tamil and Tamil nationalist doctors who are protesting against SAITM? Are all of them traitors like me?

        • 0
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          From where did you learn that the govt is refusing to build Tamil schools in Mullaitivu? How do you know there is a shortage of Tamil schools in Mullaitivu? Please share these details with all of us. And how can building private schools help those who are living in Mullaitivu?
          You have been kept in dark by the environed you grow up or you attempt to Appe Aanduwa like violent denial of Zero casualty. It was an understatement that I said that Appe Aanduwa is refusing to build new school in Tamil area. Let me share with you some of the systematic destruction of Sinhala government carried on the Tamil community to bring their government employment from 75% to practically nil now. There was time when Lankawe had only 22 A grade schools, 20 of them were in Peninsula and two were Colombo. Other few Missionary schools, rest of all were built by Hindu Philanthropists with their own money. 1956 the Sinhala Only was introduced not just to force Tamil unemployed, but even for the future Shopasha media to become practically possible and isolate Tamils by their Language. It is not by Tamils, even many Sinhalese still opposing the action of keeping Lankaweyans in dark by this curse

        • 0
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          Once they moved into Shophasa media, they came out with explanation of Tamil students having advantage and introduced standardization. We lost our education. Other kids lost standardization started the armed struggle. That is a legitimate struggle by any oppressed people. Government went to the next step. First it occupied all the popular schools to keep 150, 000 army. These are the building put up Hindu Philanthropist for their generation to study. Then it bombed and destroyed the rest of the Tamils properties. Chencholai massacre is alone standing as a monumental war crime. Now North and East are least educated provinces in the country. Army is still occupying school playgrounds and compounds. In Vanniyasingam time, the Jaffna Doctors asked him organize so that they can establish the Tamil private medical college and stay out of going to Peradeniya. This was repeated by them after 1977 too. Then it opened the Jaffna University stealing the Parameswara College Building built by Ramanathan. University was never build from on its own ground. Sinhala government refused license it. Out of 1030 listed Northern schools, Appe Aanduwa has put about a hundred out of operation though they remain in list. That is about 10%. Government is not ready to allow Tamils have their own education. Don’t think your what, when where how is going to cover the that kind of downfall of Tamil Education.

          • 0
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            I have never heard Sri Lankan govt is giving scholarships to those who want to study in London, New York and Australia! Let me know the details – I can share them with those who are seeking admission in these places. Free education has benefited so many people in Sri Lanka regardless of ethnicity. It needs to be protected.
            Again let me answer the last part first. What you are saying is not true. Sinhala Free education has produced more of Kathirgamar, Thuraiappah, No Ramanathan SJV, Vanniasingham, and Pirapaharan… Tamil education has been detruded from the time government took it over. Only beneficiaries are the Appe Aanduwa’s coolies. That system has to be taken over by Tamils and brought it equivalent to New York- Toronto like systems. This Sinhalisation free education cannot be allowed to further. The government is forcing the NPS restaurants to change its name to Sinhala name. It is that kind of Sinhalisation by the government.

        • 0
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          At your level asking question like that is substantially degrading your thought process.
          1. Don’t think we believe that you are really asking for the information give it out and you make name that we didn’t know so far. Stop that trick of trying to establish by that of question that Appe Aanduwa and its cohort are not putting PhD scholarships to them on the name of free education. I know the cases and I cannot bring the names here.
          2. You should be baby to ask information that Appe Aanduwa and its cohorts using to commits frauds and benefit out it, to publish on media. You are not that kind of child to think the crooks to allow it to leak enough to come to my hands, beforehand. Again you are trying to play the same trick to deny that they do not put themselves the PhD scholarships. Remember that, that is why we don’t want government approved free education.
          3. Can I ask you the same question? Do you know in which law college I can sit in the air-condition room and play computer, but my professors will write the test for me. Please don’t fall into your denial technique and tell me that you never heard it. Please, I want it as I badly need a law degree.
          4. Which business man is giving a free penthouse or which program is sponsoring to 25m Vesak celebration?

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        “Thiruvarangan and GMOA have been against Indian doctors coming to Lankawe.” – How is SAITM going to bring Indian doctors to Lankawe?

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          “Thiruvarangan and GMOA have been against Indian doctors coming to Lankawe.” – How is SAITM going to bring Indian doctors to Lankawe?

          Let me finish this small one first. Your English education led you to interpret it as SAITIM bringing Indian doctors. If you read again the sentence you have quoted, it is nowhere saying that. ETCA is an arrangement started by Old Royal. Both were started by Old Royals. Then, it was opposed by old Royal and Joint Comedy Club as soon as UNP took over them.

          Please know one important fact. SAITM and ETCA are based on Market economy policies. But the main difference is ETCA is only a trade agreement. SAITM is private enterprise. Both elevate doctor shortages in their way. Hopefully you may not have to confuse between them in future.

          ETCA’s important is stressed by this small example: India donated a hospital to upcountry Tamils. But Lankawe which bombs the Tamils area hospitals with Kefir and Mig, took this as challenge on it. So, as per media reports, Aanduwa looted the hospital right after PM Modi opened it ceremonially.

          World famous Apollo Chain opened a hospital in Colombo. Old Royals grabbed it. So there is no way a foreign country, or private institution can help Tamils to better their health. ETCA, by trade agreement, opens up the health service to Indian Medical practices. This will enable Indians to seek justice far away from the Lankawe Sinhala Jury verdict – i.e. in India for trade disputes.
          Now army wants to open only Hotels, restaurant and drug parlors. The Indian (Telugu) Doctor I go keeps saying that when ETCA comes, he will open his clinic in Jaffna. (Already visited there too) Beyond the market economy reason, this is a method we Tamils can expect service for fee under ETCA.

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    Private medical education is he to stay and happy to note that govtbis looking at not just one SAITM but atleast five such institutions! Well done atlast Sirisena / Ranil govt for having the courage to do the right thing without giving into thugs and monopoly tade unions and other associations.

    What is required is minimum standards for medical education and strictly enforce them. Suspend any medical faculty or private medical school which falls below them. Why is monopolistic trade unions and others against it? GMOA and SLMC are monopoly organizations to safeguard their turf. Even medical academics are opposing because they don’t want to face competition.

    I am no fan of Rajita, Kiriella or SB but hats off to these guys for responding in a language that is understood by all opponents opposing competition.

    Look at what the small Carribbean islands have done. They have 70+ private medical schools catering to the over flow of USA medical students and earning billions of dollars. Even our own students study in Grenada paying anything between USD 170,000 to USD 250,000.

    Waiting fir the SAARC fee levying medical school to start here.

    Also very happy to note that cabinet approved the setting up of MIT and Berkeley style universities in SL. Well done!!!

    Atlast game changing reforms happening after two years.

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      The signatories represent the respective organizations. There are more involved in the conception of this response!

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        Where is that respect is coming from when you are behaving like a coolie who promote Appe Aanduwa’s Free Sinhala education.

        Free education comes from UN’s rights definition of individuals to have education. Kanangra, to implement 1956 Sinhala only, imposed this over Tamil school by nationalizing them. This anti-Tamil action is just similar to nationalizing of Tea Estates by Sirimavo by her anti-West feeling. This does not connect to UN’s declaration of right to educate.

        You are talking about GMOA employment by point that there can be hospital build in Mullaitivu. This is no way advocating the against the Sinhala government who nationalized the Tamils schools to dismantle them and refusing to build new school for Tamils and not allowing Tamils to build themselves. You are, an advocate of GMOA and Appe Aanduwa, pretending like talking for the health of Mullaitivu Tamils, but not really worried about health or education of the war torn area.

        If you are a person for free education, the quality is also embedded in that talk. If you or GOMA has any sense of medicine, you yet have to oppose the stories in the textbooks that Vijeya’s grandma slept with lion and had children. Tamils never wanted to lean these from the Sinhala Buddhists free education. Tamils are taught a history from the Jaffnahisotry.com, a website edited by Southern bald heads. Northern CM had asked to revise the Northern Text books with UNESCO experts’ consultation. You are not ready for that because your masters will fire you out of the university.

        It is proven all over the world that opening up to completion is the way to reduce cost. If you open up the free Sinhala education for competition, the next day, like in the past, Sinhala ministers will send their kids to study in North-East.

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        Where is that respect is coming from when you are behaving like a coolie who promote Appe Aanduwa’s Free Sinhala education.

        Free education comes from UN’s rights definition of individuals to have education. Kanangra, to implement 1956 Sinhala only, imposed this over Tamil school by nationalizing them. This anti-Tamil action is just similar to nationalizing of Tea Estates by Sirimavo by her anti-West feeling. This does not connect to UN’s declaration of right to educate.

        You are talking about GMOA employment by point that there can be hospital build in Mullaitivu. This is no way advocating the against the Sinhala government who nationalized the Tamils schools to dismantle them and refusing to build new school for Tamils and not allowing Tamils to build themselves. You are, an advocate of GMOA and Appe Aanduwa, pretending like talking for the health of Mullaitivu Tamils, but not really worried about health or education of the war torn area.

        If you are a person for free education, the quality is also embedded in that talk. If you or GOMA has any sense of medicine, you yet have to oppose the stories in the textbooks that Vijeya’s grandma slept with lion and had children. Tamils never wanted to learn these from the Sinhala Buddhists free education. Tamils are taught a history from the Jaffnahisotry.com, a website edited by Southern bald heads. Northern CM had asked to revise the Northern Text books with UNESCO experts’ consultation. You are not ready for that because your masters will fire you out of the university.

        It is proven all over the world that opening up to completion is the way to reduce cost. If you open up the free Sinhala education for competition, the next day, like in the past, Sinhala ministers will send their kids to study in North-East.

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    Read our report and read the Report of the OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE! SAITM is designed to disenfranchise the poor, the marginal in this country. Urban elites support SAITM. You are talking of Caribbean islands as a model. Do you know of the level of disenfranchisement of the black people there! No, you don’t, because one can be very blind to poverty and marginality when one is positioned centrally. You also demonstrate little knowledge of what happens outside the country. Berkeley is a state university and runs on a large number of scholarships. In the 70s they opened it out to accommodate large numbers of minority students and first generation students. That you know very little of higher education becomes apparent in your citing the example of Berkeley!

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      You sound like you have found your own Caribbean that does not exist. When the Caribbean countries were black countries, for you start arguing of disenfranchising of blacks in Caribbean? When did they obtain their own franchise in Caribbean countries? Who gave them that? American Indian?

      When the North American Whites enslaved the blacks, to escape that, Blacks ran to Caribbean countries. Can you give a reason that if the Whites who though they own North America and Caribbean, why should not disenfranchise the blacks in Caribbean, where blacks ran away from their slavery of North America? Did they take the permission from Whites to live in Caribbean? The truth is you avoided your Sinhala Masters’ usual argument of that all over the West there is Racism by Whites against Blacks so the West led UNHRC has no business of investigating your masters’ genocide. That is how your masters substantiated the Genocide. You wanted to appear that you are better than your masters and tried to pick up disenfranchising in Caribbean, leaving aside your masters’ lines.

      You better know something. In the West education, health and Business are interwoven and one cannot separate them. But, for analysis purpose (, unlike in Lankawe where upcountry and Mullaithivu kids have no right to study) every child’s right to get educated is outstands in the west. But in Caribbean Medical schools are business to earn money by sending medical graduates to West. This has nothing to do with educating their poor kids. But fortunately, the GMOAs in the West do not oppose this.

      If upcountry Tamils have to go back India by Kanangra’s Free Sinhala education of 1964, Blacks has to leave to Africa now.

      You paid and got through Lankawe A/L system, so logic doesn’t get into your head. Please know Caribbean are not blacks’ countries.
      .

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    Thank you Sumathy Sivamohan, et al for “SAITM As Model For Expanding Medical Education?”
    As one without any knowledge on tertiary education, looked up and was simply staggered. Please read it before it gets “modified” – by Lankan MPs.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Asian_Institute_of_Technology_and_Medicine Using SAITM as a model?
    Private Public Partnership (PPP)? Of the Avant Garde type? No no no.
    The KDU Medical School is for all practical purposes a PPP – the Private here is the Lankan Armed Services. Has KDU produced anything of value research-wise, in the seven years of creation?

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    I have read both sides of argument. But privitazion is medical education is dangerous in SL. Already there is some hidden horse riding in A/L examination results . Some what is if private colleges are open .
    Thugs in politics will use their influence to get their children and friend children with less than three s in A/L believe me that will happen…
    Moreover, lives will be at risk with half made doctors ..so I’m.mot support Saitam.

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      Dr. NAS. Yes. It is going to be a mighty great slippery slope. SAITM as a model for private education will destroy education in the country; not just free education.

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    K. Pillai. The report is staggeringly inept and below standard. Thanks to you for reading through our response and the OVERSIGHT committee’s report.

    It is not the bad writing and the illogical arguments (in the oversight committee report) that are the problem, but the thinking that has driven the writing of the report.

    The government and its allies are so set in their plans to establish SAITM, they did not do any study, nor planning/ thinking through the social implications of it. They just want to continue with it, and have come up with a policy paper that will justify it; this is going to create enormous social, political and even medical problems. Those of us in Higher Education know what it means to work with the private sector. We have a weak private sector; not one that can fund its way. So, it is going to be parasitic upon the state.

    Now that Mallaiyuran has clearly established his credentials for talking shop, I suppose I don’t have to respond to him.

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    I say, Padeniya, So you don’t want private medical schools. But you can do private practice. Also you can go to the UK and other place to do FRCS or whatever in hospitals med school that are non Govt. independent i.e. private. Also EVERY student attend private classes. But no private med school. If you are worried about quality of education that’s fine, lets improve. If you want poor to get entry to SAITM, fine let give them bank loans like the students in all top med schools in the US or UK do. Remember you go to them for post-grad studies.

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      Abey, have you not heard of student protests and riots in England? Also, it is not the UK as such. In Scotland, higher ed. is free. You did not know that?

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        First, if you are for free education, honestly fight for ways to bring basic education for Mullaitivu kids really free. Don’t complicate matters and confuse readers by bringing hospitals into schools with wealth of elicited position you are at by abusing your job and education. Don’t use the plight of those kids education to bargain for additional employment for GMOA, stronger union might for GMOA and paralyzing the country by using the pain of the sick people to achieve every wants of the elite-rowdy GMOA. Don’t die to get PhD scholarship for ministers’ and Mudallis’ kids with name of free Sinhala Kanangra education for Mullaitivu Tamil Kids. There is lot of sinister mentality and insincere ideas are behind asking for employment for GMOA and PhD scholarship for elites.

        Asking for free in anything is not wrong. Why shouldn’t man get everything free?

        Basically entire world is giving the basic education free. But, even in the world’s richest country America, in the second richest state, New York, is struggling hard to provide only free tuition, only to poor kids and only for college education. There are kids crying for water to quench their thirst. You are crying with GMOA for additional sugar for your already sweetened milk. You are attempting to show extra-ordinaries as the most suitable example for a country, which is now in unrecoverable loan burden and well below in the world poverty level.

        When Tamil kids are walking 5-7 miles in that war torn poor area for schools and voluntary organizations are begging in diaspora world for money to buy bicycles for those kids, you arrogantly declaring “go and establish your Eelam in New York or Toronto and leave us alone to continue plundering the country by making the Modayas, double Modayas” and then you are trying establishing PhD scholarships as free education.

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        I believe you certainly know what you are doing is exactly what is said in the Tamil proverb “Eriyiya Veedilai Nerupu Edukirathu”(Fetching fire in a burning house for leisure smoke, instead of putting the fire down) .

        You are advertising that you are an activist for free education. You are arguing more hospitals for Mullaitivu so GMOA can get more employments. Do you know a government goes through annual a process called budgeting? Do you know hospital and school are competing ends on that budgetary table? Then why are you arguing for opponents’ ends when you are for free education? Is that because you are very dishonest to show one face and act with another face? There is no doubt why you guys want to stand with Appe Aanduwa against the boys and girls who took arms against standardization. If you support the private Clinics opening up in Mullaitivu, when the GMOA goes on strike on stretch, parent will even pawn their Thalikodies to save their kids.

        You can stand with Appe Aanduwa, but when your time comes, you cannot avoid the fate of Kathirgamar, who worked for Chandrika’s SLFP and latter eliminated by the same organization. Chandrika is yet to say one word about his murder. Vijayakala worked for UNP. UNP headquarters sent Sinhala lawyers to appear to Vidya’s party to cover-up that case. They forced out the most prominent lawyer Thevarajah out of that case. The Sinhala investigation system is pretending that they yet to have to connect even one suspect with DNA prove to murder site. But as per Colombo Media News, Vijayakala has surrendered to Sahala to save her involvement in covering up of that murder. There is a very good chance that the rest of Vijaya Kala’s life will be lower than Hakeem.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    My opinion:

    1. How many doctors do we need to serve the SL population as per the WHO guidelines? The same number of doctors need to be trained in the state medical schools free of charge.
    2. Doctors who are trained in the state medical school must serve the state for at least 5 yrs
    3. Sri Lanka is a free country and there are private engineering, nursing, physiotherapy schools, then why not a private medical school
    4. What the GMOA is complaining is that the required quality is not provided by the SAITM [on the other hand, patients are dying unnecessarily in the private hospitals, but the GMOA doesn’t want to talk about this!!!]
    5. There should be a presidential commission that should look into private medical education and make recommendations as to how it should be governed
    6. Sri Lanka has a huge potential to establish private medical schools that can train local students and a huge number of overseas students providing huge employment opportunities and earning and contributing multi million dollars to the national economy.
    7. Primary, secondary and all undergraduate education must be free of charge. If the state has no money to educate the required number of undergraduates then it should charge all students -primary, secondary and undergraduate. Those children below the poverty line ought to be sponsored by the state.

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      Some strange facts here. Patients die in both state and private hospitals. Unnecessary or not, we will all die and cant pin empty rhetoric on private education to be. Medical schools have been here a long time and commissions not necessary to provide “Non Profit Basis” or else healing will clash with corruption like the present Central Bank, air and port deals, Lasantha and Thajudeen, Malwana, Svaas, siriliya vans, appearance of money bags etc Validity for GMOA strikes clings to topics like “STANDARDS” but the deeper truth for their violent terror is the ability of some to “PAY FEES” and such doctors cant be mind controlled. Need to come to terms with the fact that all on this earth are not equal, not even the politicians.

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    (I’m struggling to contain my outrage at another article elsewhere on Colombo Telegraph on FUTA’s condemnation of how law enforcement attacked protesting students and, instead, formulate a coherent response to the extremely substantive concerns raised in THIS article.)
    The only class of people who continue to remain blithely unconcerned at the neoliberal plundering of the state education system are those who can afford to take advantage of private universities here or pay to send their children abroad. For the vast majority of the students in my classrooms on campus — and they are the lucky ones of those who’ve managed to make it through a depleted primary-secondary school system — a university degree represents tremendous hope of a better future. Free education and health (with all their shortcomings even in the initial stages) are a matter of social justice.
    So, kindly check your damn privilege before you open your mouth to complain about how students protestors are snarling up traffic instead of attending lectures. The students, and at least some of their teachers, know what’s at stake here.

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    Nicola Perera,

    I wish we could dismiss SAITM the way we could so many of the incoherent comments here as well as elsewhere. One can see that barring a very few, and those few too, standing by our stance, have not even bothered to read either our report or the OVERSIGHT committee’s report.
    What is so frustrating is that the government has not laid all its cards on the table for the people to see. They are duping the people.

    The policy is so badly drawn; the government does NOT care. Why do the commentators, holding a flag for private education, not care. At least they should take a look at a policy they are supposed to be supporting! NO! just loud voices.
    We should take the struggle to those people who will feel the pinch acutely!

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      SAITM does not make law. It only pays commission. Those opposing it know that it is not coming to their pocket, but going somewhere else. Appe Aanduwa makes law. SAITM paid a large sum to come into existence. Though yet have to come out the records, to stay alive until this Sinhala Free Education System holding the throat of the country’s education, SAITM will be paying. It was involved in murders by the request of government. These murders are not coming to courts. If the education had been freed by law, many Western Universities would have opened their branches. Tamils can reopen 100 or so Tamil schools in the war affected area by the Sinhala government.

      Sinhala Extremist government is demanding the NPC’s restaurants to be turned into Sinhala Restaurants. These FREE education comedies will vanish in the thin air when the Sinhala Extremist government force that the Tamil school should be turned into Sinhala School. These are the people paid to Bathiudeen and sought admission after Standardization was forced on Tamil through the Free Sinhala Extremist education. It was only LTTE fought for freedom after the free education standardization.

      This is system produced Kathirgamar, Thuraiappah, Thiyagarajar, Kumarasuriyar, Radhika… The bought out coolies.

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    We can have even 100 private medical schools if we want. But you need to fulfill only 2 criteria below;

    1. Each private medical school should be accredited by the SLMC for issuance of licences.

    2. Admission to these schools should be from the same A/L merit list that is used for state medical schools.

    Anybody who do not agree with these two criteria please explain why.

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      Bloody Nuisance

      “1. Each private medical school should be accredited by the SLMC for issuance of licences.”

      Why just Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, what about UNP, SLFP, NFF, JVP, CP, LSSP, ……?

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        Stupid vedda,
        Do you ever try to use your brain before you write garbage? Shows your extreme stupidity!
        So, imbeciles like you are the saviors of Tamil race????

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        I think Nuisance may be confusing between Bathiudeen and Hakeem. I do not think Nuisance is correct on that. Hakeem’s one surgical Operation went very bad have put him in big trouble. When there is private law college question arise, them Nuisance can call in SLMC. Hakeem will send the Sinhala Students, instead of inside, to the highest position of the law college, the roof.

        Is, anyway, Nuisance brothers- sisters are in the SLMC? After the previous nine years, Surely many will be in GOMA.

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          Sad!

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      1. SLMC already found to have malicious intent as per court verdict saying violated medical ordinance. SLMC is expected to keep inspecting and recommending improvements until school is approved like in GMC. Our SLMC outdated report under GMOA threat, changes proposals making coping impossible for SAITM. That’s why justice was released for the already approved MBBS like for low state MBBS.

      2. Nowhere in the world is used one merit list without giving parallel equivalents. If only that manipulated ‘Z’ is used for medical entry, we will end up with street marching lawless “frogs in wells” without morals and honesty as seen today. Where are all other citizens with recognised London, Cambridge and other A/L to study in this country because the jealous and bigoted want to obstruct and destroy them.

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    Oh good god, the level of discourse and intelligence displayed here, as usual, just boggles the mind. The SLMC is the Sri Lanka Medical Council. If it seems that the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is irrelevant to this particular subject, does it not occur to you to check whether it might be an acronym for something relevant BEFORE you type up a response?

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    Medical schools start because of a need for many wanting to heal and be healed, though later they go weird. So institutions spring up around these regions. The first medical school in SL in Jaffna was an extension of the school for christian priests part of whose function was to heal. Same in Buddhism too. It is through a process they come to fullness, having weathered trials and storms. Once in progress, they define stds. At each level they are approved and then they improve. SAITM went through these teething troubles and suddenly Prof. Carlo and his radicals said “NO” and did not recommend the improvements for approval. There was malice and verdict gave justice. This undermined the SLMC which is trying to reverse the legality and the standard. Carlo’s major problem unvoiced is the fear of corruption that the “FOR PROFIT” approval will bring in. But in truth it is the grip of this same money angle that the protesting unions grab for monopoly. Now medicine is fast becoming a cut throat trade. Those with money go abroad. Nature aids the rest

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